Tuesday, July 29

The real California

... well it's that time of the year again. Time for the annual, somewhat dreaded, somewhat celebrated, somewhat (...dare I say it) cliche', sometimes fun Birthday. I really wish I had started some kind of a tradition, maybe like an Uraguay-ian Anthony Boudain-like dinner in the backyard with a whole buffalo burning in the middle of three different fires, just so I didn't have to think-up a somewhat creative way of celebrating yet another birthday. Because let's just say it, even though I live in L.A. and there's so much to do out here, everyone just seems to wanna either go clubbing or have little shindig. Which, in all honestly, is getting a little old. Yes, a little shindig and or a small intimate dinner with close friends is never really a boring idea. I just dislike the "treat-me" idea imposed on friends upon the invitation (... even though I insisted on paying last year! But thanks guys!). Plus you never wanna over-do it right? And since Dinner with close friends is the way I celebrated my last few birthdays, I thought I might do something else this year...

I've always wanted to attend the Annual Historic Automobile Race in Laguna Seca (Monterey/Salinas, CA). "It's a race that pays tribute to the history of motor racing, automobiles and the people who made and raced them. The premier vintage event in North America boasts approximately 400 of the finest racing and sports cars entered in 14 race groups spanning every era of motorsports history. Fans can spend the day watching races, roaming the open paddock, taking free pit tours and enjoying special displays, including the Rolex Moments in Time". This year the famed event falls precisely on my 33rd Birthday weekend. And even though I discovered this not just recently by the way (but actually a couple of years ago), I would like to think that it was all written in the scriptures long ago...

Perhaps also prophesied in the KoolGreen scriptures was reading Drew Carey's rather entertaining autobiography about a road trip he embarked on in his new Porsche 911. Basically he drove a good portion if not the length of the Great American Plains. "I remember going over 160 mph" he recalls proudly. It was something that really enthralled me. No not the fact that he was behind an iconic car going well beyond the posted speed limits, but just idea of the Road trip itself. I wasn't even a fan of his back then, I suppose I am now but not because of his work in television but the man that he is. At least from what I gathered from the book. He's sort of crazy guy but in a gentle kind of a way (if that makes sense). Since reading the inspiring autobiography, I've always wanted to embark on my own version of his odyssean Road Trip. Maybe not in a seminal car such as the 911 and perhaps not necessarily autobiography-worthy like driving through the entire length of the Great American Plains, but maybe something similarly noteworthy...

California by the way is laced with fabled roadways like Highway 1, the Golden State, El Camino Real, Route 66 and many many others. I need a destination however and as much as I would enjoy just setting aside all my worries and getting in the car and maybe driving the length of Highway 1 through Big Sur and all the other beautiful places along the way, without a place to stay and some kind of a fun-filled event at the destination, I wouldn't feel like doing it! Call me unadventurous or whatever but I would hate the last-minute motel search (... without a Nav). Alas no whimsical Road Trip. I have driven to Laguna Seca before (... for a different event) albeit taking the less than exciting google-map route. I did take the more scenic route back to L.A. on Highway 1. And although Highway 1 is somewhat of a majestic route, I have no desire to take it again on this upcoming road trip. It has to be elsewhere. A route that would somewhat be odyssean or at least meaningful like Drew Carey's. I don't deny that Highway 1 is beautiful and fabled as they say but I have taken it many times before and taking that route again to Salinas California would be like saying "I have seen the famed Hollywood" sign. Who hasn't? Famed and fabled yes, but not thought provoking or terribly exciting...

The answer to this bittersweet longing would come on Monday July 7 in the form of an inspiring L.A. Times article by Peter H. King (Times staff Writer). Well it was not only inspiring to me but downright divine really (... like benediction or something!). Peter H. King writes "State Highway 33 will not be confused with any of California's fabled Highways. Nobody's likely to write a song about Highway 33, although in one stretch it does cut through the Buck Owens country. Nor will a literary anthology be built around it, as was done not long ago with the Central Valley's Highway 99. Still, to travel this two-lane from top to bottom - a 300-mile drive that begins just below the San Francisco Bay delta, passes through the San Joaquin Valley's west side, crosses steep coastal mountains and ends at Ventura, where Highway 33 disappears into the 101- is to tour what might be called the Real California". He goes on about this forgotten Highway, its history and all of the quaint little farm & oil-well towns that lie in between and some of the interesting locals whose family's have lived there for many generations. The article gave me undeniable resolve and or perhaps "Illumination", and right then I knew what I wanted to do. I suppose it is a cool coincidence too that I am turning 33 this year and that I have have worn # 33 all of my basketball life...

Highway 33 offers me not only an alternate route to a destination but what I think is a similarly meaningful (and let's hope possibly odyssean) Road Trip as Mr. Carey's. No I would not be crossing a few U.S. States along the way and I probably wouldn't be surpassing 165 mph on the speedometer (... plus my car taps out at 138 I've read. But I just might challenge that lol!), but the more important thing is that I found a route that may not be as scenic as Highway 1 or as historic as Route 66, but one that is cool enough to have piqued my interest and one that is undeniably interesting enough to an established and certainly highly respected and sought after Staff Writer of one one of the most renowned news Publications in all of the United States, Peter H. King of the L.A. Times. If it's interesting enough to him it's good enough for me! At such a peculiar time no less...

So I thank you Mr. King not only for your insights on that particular article but for all of the California-historical accounts that always seem to grace your work. You have inspired me to discover or at least to have a look, if for a small moment, at the Real California.

1 Comments:

At 6:42 AM, Blogger Mel said...

And how equally fitting that you are also crazy, but in a gentle kind of way...
Drive safe!
and
Happy (early) Birthday :-)

 

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