The drive back from Vegas has been very cool, in a non-weather sort of way. We fought traffic through LA to take close-up pictures of the big old Hollywood sign up on the hills, and shortly after, cruised the Sunset Strip. The Strip brings back slightly unsettling memories for me, as it was there in 1967 when I was busted for breaking the 11 o’clock curfew for those under 18 that was instilled at the time because of previous riots, (I was only 16 and all alone) and I was thrown in the slammer for seven days and deported back to Canada.
This time, though, things are much different, as I’m all grown up and married and have some money for food and shelter, and we hopped back in our car and drove through Beverly Hills, down to Santa Monica, spent the night in Malibu and walked along the beach the next morning, gawking at all the beach homes belonging to the filthy-rich who may or may not have made their money legally. After that it was up to San Francisco where we gazed at Alcatraz from the marina, and then over the Golden Gate bridge heading north. The only time I heard from Gaston in the back seat during this whole trip was when we passed the turnoff to San Quentin penitentiary and he got all excited because he felt homesick and started to think about those Christmases and such that he’d spent there with all his old pals. Who says you can’t go home again?
There were other highlights. Salinas, from the pages of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, that Kris Kristofferson and Janis Joplin sang about in Me and Bobby McGee. “And somewhere near Salinas, Lord, I let her slip away.” There was the Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood that I went in again to see after 40 years, the place I was at just before I got busted in 1967. There was the greaser bar in the Napa Valley that is now my favourite juke joint. Just wash your hands afterwards. Actually, it’s not my favourite juke joint. It was really a piece of shit.
And there were all the beautiful palm trees throughout the trip which I have major affection for.
Now we’re nearing home, rain, reality, and the cat. I’d like to turn around and go again.