Cassavetes Crossroads

Stuck in Bakersfield. Highway through Tehachapi closed due to snow. Grapevine to LA closed. Packed into a Shell Station with a sea of masked humanity attempting to move east to Barstow, Las Vegas and destinations unknown, how does it feel…

Fixed supper, listened to McConnell fold on organizing rules for senate. House sent Articles of Impeachment to senate this afternoon. Revolution, insurrection and treason don’t draw as big or as enthusiastic a crowd as the revolutionaries. Republican senators are hoping to squirm their way out of this vote. I say flush the senators out, make them vote, find out whose for this project in self governance and whose not. 

Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader’s people encircle my present location. Just passed a citrus processing plant. Maybe we need less orange juice for breakfast. I am a passionate opponent of water grabbing. Water grabbers occupy the lowest rung in the ladder. We need more water protectors!

Then I read the new Prez has mandated the national government buy electric cars, not just any electric cars, but American made electrics. Why topless dancing, speedo bathing suits and high school night sober celebrations are making a comeback. Still love a good looking bikini, I find it restores my faith in the healing energies of  seeing unblemished skin in its mortal manifestation.

Road closures, snowfall delays and high wind warnings beats hungry bears romping through the campsite looking for a taste of sponge cake, pork rinds and cinnamon buns.

Favorite vice is going north on the coast to Tomales Bay. In Marshall stopping to buy fresh oysters is an essential culinary act, it is to join in solidarity with the sea. Buddy of mine, we’d drink and dance at the tavern, always dancing with phantoms, the lipstick drenched finest, then sleep over on Dillion’s Beach. First thing in the morning we’d drive to Bodega Bay for coffee, then devolve into post adolescent fog slick highway sport driving.

Have been driving between San Francisco and Denver since March. Even Bakersfield is bigger now. Citrus groves on the southeast side represent political power. The minority leader is the citrus growers man. Bakersfield is a conflicted soul, an end to a valley that craves no ending. Buck Owens Crystal Palace is here, shuttered due to the virus, but the joint will reopen, and then you’ll have to decide if you need Buck’s music makers back in your alligator skinned boots. Two-stepping remains one of country music’s greatest gifts. The best dancers have imagination,  private investigations and divorces.

I don’t know that any of us can predict how we each are dealt a set of crossroads that we seem fated to return to again and again. Beginning in 1974 and until now I’ve been through here in route for shows, home, or adventure. Took a road trip with my mom to Palm Springs to hang with family. Up top near Tehachapi in a snowstorm, just getting through before they closed the road. Yesterday my mom now long gone, but here she was with me at this crossroads.

In those days you drove Highway 58 through Mojave instead of taking the bypass. Mojave no longer a crossroads has all but killed the place. Motels shutdown, restaurants hung on then failed, gas stations seemed about the only business that survives.

A bit further east Highway 58 intersects with Highway 395. Eight hours from San Francisco, another 8 hours to Phoenix the intersection had a few gas stations, truck stop, convenience store. Have slept here countless nights while in transit one way or another. My first encounter with this crossroads I was riding shotgun in an El Dorado, a real boat of a machine, baby blue with white leather interior, my pop was at the wheel, he kept a flask of Southern Comfort in the glovebox, while we motored south to San Diego we’d take a nip, just enough naughty my playing Faulk to my pops Gazarra, pretending to be players in a Cassavetes film. You don’t drive a baby blue Eldo, you swagger in a piece of Americana such as this, the car announces your overindulgence.

I can’t run these highways without visits from long gone souls. Keep them close at hand. Long distance driving allows us to share time. My two dogs come visit, they were both nothing but ball chasers. They were good dogs, loyal to their owner, dedicated and kind. I loved those dogs more than I can say.

Crossroads, there are a lot of jokes, music lyrics and plot lines for novels have all been sorted out while running the two-lanes to far off intersections scattered all across the west. Nomadic types, those with the itch, the ones that understand why we need to keep moving, what we see, what we find out here, the distinctive landmarks called intersections. This is what a road trip is made for. To take yourself to places you’ve never been, then return to feel the ghosts whisper to your soul.

2 thoughts on “Cassavetes Crossroads”

  1. Yessir. One of your finest posts and closing lines. This just about sums it all up: “This is what a road trip is made for. To take yourself to places you’ve never been, then return to feel the ghosts whisper to your soul.” Thank you for getting to that essence.

    1. I’m trying Carlo, seems like a lot beating around the bush. Focusing on putting the short stuff out, more and more often. Thanks for the juice, I’ll make it to the next gig now Dana

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