First day to hit the road on the Grand Southwest Adventure! I’ve chosen to head to Barstow, about 325 miles away – the hotel prices are low and there are some museums and Route 66 things to do for Wednesday and Thursday morning, then I’ll leave to head to Las Vegas…then, on to the southwest for the Grand Southwest Adventure! I’ll keep you posted…
Heading out from San Francisco through the farmlands – near Gilroy and Watsonville. The hills are alive – with poofy plastic poly tunnels covering strawberries and raspberries. Like a puff quilt of plastic, they follow the hillside’s terrain on either side of the highway. There are large farms ringed with cars and trucks, transportation for the many hunched over workers picking the berries in the open fields. Gilroy is known for garlic - hence, the annual Gilroy Garlic festival. One of the many delights of traveling solo is that I get to stop wherever I wish, without comment or discussion. The many fruit stands and produce markets along the roadside beckon and I hold out until I see…
The Casa de Fruta! It has a grand complex, filled with tourists and school groups and KIDS – a tipi, farm tractors, a merry go round, hay bales, animals and of course, a large open market with fruit (naturally), nuts, grand bulbs and wreaths of Gilroy garlic, classic junk food treats and bins of salty & sweet goodies. Unbelievably, I resist the sweets and settle for some lovely fruit, some Gilroy garlic and a bag or two of seasoned almonds. I’d be tempted to get a big pumpkin to take to Las Vegas to carve - but I imagine with their temperatures, it’d look like a shriveled raisin in days.
Not too far down the road is a more rustic mom & pop fruit stand and while getting gas, I pop in there, too. There’s a vast selection of seasoned almonds, pistachios, dried fruits, pomegranates and other seasonal fruits. Deciding between tequila pistachios and garlic almonds – well, I went for the garlic and some rosemary pistachios. I’m stocked for the season! Spending the night on Route 66, in Barstow, California. More on that tomorrow!
There’s another movie I’d wanted to see about the life of Roger Ebert, the Chicago Sun Times movie critic and part of the Sneak Previews duo with Gene Siskel from the Chicago Tribune. Their syndicated movie review show ran for years and I always enjoyed their insights and recommendations. Their combative style and adversarial natures were fun to watch, both cocky and sure that their opinion was the absolute right one; each jockeying to get in the LAST WORD! As a movie buff, I have them to thank for many of the movies I’ve seen and have been alerted to – always knowing that a “two thumbs up” meant GO and SEE it!
It was sad seeing Roger’s debilitated state at the end, losing nearly his whole throat and jaw to cancer, his lower face almost tragically comical in expression. Gene died a decade before of cancer, in his early 50s. Through it all, Roger’s mind was certainly unimpaired and with a keyboard to communicate, he lasted through a lot – more than I think I would have. He found love late in live (at 50) and had nearly 20 years with his darling (Chaz), who he had met at A.A. – and he reminded us all to enjoy every moment. “See you at the movies!” was one of his final missives. Indeed. The final words from Chaz about the moment of his passing were quite heartfelt and touching – the pain and helplessness and final release of someone beloved to you. To the haunting sounds of Dave Brubeck, surrounded by hands joined in love, they let him go. Death is still jarring and shocking and surprising! But, it was nice to see it portrayed with such grace, dignity and LOVE.
How far the cinema has progressed since his first foray at review writing in the 60s – amazing! I’m reminded of how powerful and long lasting and touching creatives can be – whether it’s through the movies, through art, through writing. I’ll probably never be in a movie – but writing or creating art? I can do that. This has inspired me to start writing/blogging again. Things that last long after you’re gone and make someone’s life a bit happier, it’s all good. Make it so.
Today a dear friend and kind lady, Agnes of Clausevignes in Valady, France – who hosted both myself and countless others via HelpX.net has passed on. She affected so many lives with her love for art, music, culture and her graceful elegance was an inspiration to all aspiring artistas! Happy trails to you, my friend.
“It is not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of life you have lived.” – Anonymous
Holi commemorates the victory of good over evil, brought about by the burning and destruction of the demoness named Holika. This was enabled through unwavering devotion to the Hindu god of preservation, Lord Vishnu. Holi got its name as the “Festival of Colors” from Lord Krishna, a re-incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who liked to play pranks on the village girls by drenching them in water and colors. The festival marks the end of winter and the abundance of the upcoming spring harvest season.