Saturday, October 24, 2009

Well, I made it.

That, in the business, is termed "the short version". Or, it could be called a log line. The drive from Salt Lake to Monterey went pretty easily, in the main. I left at 7:00 AM (mountain time), and ended up getting into the hotel room at around 11:00 (mountain time). It would have been somewhat less time, but I got lost in Monterey...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I ate breakfast in Wendover. No, I didn't go to a casino. Didn't want to take the time, or eat a really big breakfast with that big drive ahead of me. I just had a muffin sandwich at a chain fast-food you may be familiar with.

Blasting through the early, dark morning, past the Great Salt Lake, the barren west deserts, and finally the Bonneville Salt Flats is a lonesome journey. I was listening to the audiobook of World War Z, by Max Brooks (thanks, Paul). It's surprising that it took me this long to get to this, the source material for much of the recent enthusiasm with zombies, and sort of holy writ for the markets I've actually had some success in. The reasons for that are manifold, and I don't feel like going into them at this moment.

In any case, this was a fully dramatized version of the book, with great voice actors like Alan Alda voicing the various interviewees. I found it fascinating. There's no need for me to go over what it's all about here, but if you can overlook the fact that it's about fighting zombies, it's really a superb study of human nature when faced with an intractable problem. In some ways, it almost recalls "The Stand" by Stephen King. That said, it's much shorter and covers a much broader area of the world. Recommended.

Next stop was in Winnemucca, Nevada. There, I had a sandwich for lunch. I found, when there, that my recent oil change didn't include the courtesy of filling up my tires. I had one down to about 12 pounds of pressure, which really hurt my gas mileage, and was somewhat dangerous. I spent the three quarters to rectify the situation and was on my way once more.

I went straight across to Reno and beyond without stopping, finally taking a break somewhere on the California side to get a new audiobook. This one, Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke, is shaping up to be really great, too. I love his description of the bayou, his detail, his immersive prose. Haven't read much of his stuff, but I'll have to read more from here on out.

Going through the Sierra Nevadas was quite something. I hadn't been through there before, and they're quite rugged, beautiful peaks. The road, which was being worked on most of the way, wasn't so hot. Lots of concrete barriers. Lots of orange traffic barrels. It was clasutrophobic in some areas, for sure. I put on old James Lee and booked it out of the mountains, all the way down to San Jose.

I stopped in San Jose to call home and tell them I was still on the road and in one piece. I walked around for a few minutes and ate a sub sandwich, which was really good, actually. Nothing super special, but good. The people at the sandwich joint were also cool to me.

The 101 going south was sort of a parking lot for the first few miles, but cleared up the further I got from SJ. Finding Monterey was pretty easy. As I got closer, it got more humid, until I could smell the sea and see the mist lingering all around everywhere. Yes, getting to Monterey was easy. Getting to my hotel...well, not so much.

First, there was the odyssey of wandering around Seaside, finding all of their dark alleys and Best Westerns. That was something else. I should have known that there was an issue when the attendants at one of the Seaside Best Westerns had to squint and think about it when I asked them to help me find one of their sister hotels.

Not to belabor it, but I found every Best Western in about a twenty mile radius, my own the very last. I found Fisherman's Wharf. I got completly lost at least twice. I lost the paper that had the phone number of the hotel. Wow. I finally did get to the destination, thank goodness. And I slept. Hard.

There'll be more in my running commentaries to come, as well as reports on my experiences at Internet Librarians 2009 over at Superfluous Commentary (one of my lesser known blogs).

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