Kathy and Linda like to spend the holidays in Palm Springs. They drive down on Christmas Day because there’s no traffic.
Kathy recently had surgery, however, and it’s temporarily immobilized her left hand. She can’t drive for three more weeks. And you really do need two hands for the 5: one on the wheel and one to give the scumbag who just cut you off the finger.
Linda abhors long distance driving but was ready to soldier through to get the job done. That’s where I stepped in, who better to guide them through the Central Valley? The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh and all of that. Plus, I had a few things left to finish up in Palm Springs anyway.
The girls picked me up at 10:00 a.m. and Linda said she would get us out of the City and down the peninsula. Gilroy, where the drive transforms from urban to rural, is always a good first stop. Mainly for coffee.
But for some reason both Starbucks have recently closed in the Garlic City. We did the driver switch without caffeine. And held out hope the one would be open when we got to Buttonwillow.
I regaled them with my tales of the Barstow-Bakersfield Backdoor which everyone finds fascinating. I did have to interrupt the narrative periodically to let the girls know they were drooling, not just snoring.
Soon the manger-like lowing cattle and their very un-Wisemen-like perfume of methylphenol had us all wide awake. We whizzed by Harris Ranch. They have terrible coffee.
Compared to other travels we’ve taken, there was not much sightseeing today. In the past we have seen some of the major wonders of the world together: St. Stephens’s hand in Budapest; the Crochet Museum in Joshua Tree; driving through flash flood waters the level of the car door in Indianapolis; and the largest bull cojones on Hispaniola.
No touristy moments from this drive. Only the memories of a bittersweet year that saw my experiment in desert living neither succeed nor fail. But whose end result was a new San Francisco home.
That should qualify as a blessed event even though it will not have the mileage of a virgin birth.