My first road trip was back in 1984 when a friend of mine got me a job at the Olympic Arts Festival in LA, At the time I was living in the East Village in New York and coincidentally my roommate also scored a position from a friend of his. His friend had a car in the city that she wanted to have driven back to LA and the deal was that we would drive it out, paying for gas instead of a plane ticket. That turned out to be a not so great deal, since the car was a big blue Toyota Land Cruiser that got a bout 7 gallons per mile on the highway and since it had all the aerodynamic efficiency of Rockefeller Center couldn’t get past 60. Also, my roommate was a crummy driver.
The next one was when a friend of mine was living in Arizona and wanted to came back to Milwaukee, where I was living at the time. This time the deal was that I would spend a week in Scottsdale at her expense then help her pack up her car and drive back. Since it was December in Wisconsin, I jumped at the chance.
Later, she decided that she wanted to return to ASU after a year at UWM so we reversed the trip, stopping off the see a friend of hers in Boulder who would follow us. Two things that stand out in that one. Stoping for gas in Golden and having the owner of the station take one look at the short Jewish girl and the tall homo in the pricey convertible and just knowing that he would have just loved to shoot us both. The other was driving through New Mexico at night and driving and stopping for a half an hour in the middle of nowhere to put the top down and watch a meteor shower.
When I moved to LA I would drive out to Scottsdale for a weekend and would marvel at the difference between the two states- California is the Golden State for a reason- it’s literally gold colored in the inland parts. Arizona is more russet colored, and the colorado river is the dividing line for that.
I’ve driven with my friend Sue several times to San Francisco, and there’s not much to report about that since the 5 is one of the more colorless freeways in California. But it does point up that a good driving companion is key; Sue and I have the kind of friendship where we can be in companionable silence for long periods of time. On long trips it can be tiring for me to be with someone who needs constant chatter.
I used to take trips up the coast to Santa Barbara, the last time a few years ago in a Chevy Volt I was reviewing for another website. If you are even in SoCal you’ll want to do that- it’s gorgeous and Taqueria Super-Rico is a must eat (Julia Child was a fan). San Diego is also great drive; The hotel del Coronado is a must see.
The last road trip I took was with our own Portia, with his Jin and friend Kath. They wanted to go to the Citadel and I talked them into the Premium outlets in Camarillo. We went down Sunset all the way to PCH, up PCH to Los Poses Road to the mall. I was thinking “I hope these guys aren’t bored or annoyed by the length of the trip, but they say they loved it and shopped like guerillas.
Road trips are interesting ways to see the country. One of these days I’d like to do it again. Preferably in a convertible and with good hotels. I wouldn’t mind doing the same in Europe.
Oh for PowerBall winnings..