27 July 2013

The North: An Epistolary

[Copied from Robert Miranda's Journal, Sunday]

The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System requires that one mile in every five must be straight, to be usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.

I was thinking about this over and over again while looking out at the pristine Californian coast on the way to Santa Barbara this morning, wondering if there would be any truth to it. I'd known about this little gem for a while already, but, like most everything else that's found on the Internet, there's no way of proving if it was truth. Didn't seem to be true, though. We have a tendency to have very weird freeways. But that's part of the state's charm. [Edit on Tuesday 23rd: Just drove through the PCH. Yeah, it's not true.]

As someone who rarely leaves the Southern California enclave made up of my hometown and the bordering cities I've grown up in and patronized the last 15 years, not 10 minutes from LA's downtown, the fact of seeing towns with less than 10,000 people was disturbing. I have been to Hawai'i twice: it was overpopulated but they were islands. To see towns devoid of people, to see paths empty of cars and any pollution that is a hallmark of Los Angeles - was interesting, and a little disturbing, as I've mentioned. Once one passes Santa Barbara, there is nothing but empty fields, the beginning of wine country.

Welcome to Central California. Population? Looks to be zero.

[Excerpt from Robert Miranda's Phonograph Diary, Monday]

Solvang was extremely interesting. Unfortunately it's really hot and that's a bit annoying. I liked the town, we've been here for, like, about fifteen hours.

There is no nightlife. At all. Not that that's a bad thing, but it's kind of depressing to walk through the streets at dusk and yet there's no one in the streets besides the entourage. There was light still, it's summer, of course, but to see everything closed? Thank goodness we found a restaurant.

It's really quaint. Really. I wouldn't live here, though. I do wish we had gone to a bakery, there's one across the street! But it doesn't look like we're going...Well most everyone's had enough. To the north!

[Excerpt from Robert Miranda's Journal, Monday]

The drive up to Cambria San Simeon was really cool. Enjoyed the view. We didn't get as much sea in the view as we did yesterday. But apparently going up to Monterey we'll get a better view.

There's golf here. We're in a lodge kind of place. Nothing much going on the rest of the day. Everyone's relaxing...I'm going to sit in the patio on the back of our room and read Monte Cristo. There's six chapters left.

[Excerpt from Robert Miranda's Journal, Tuesday]

It's really hard to write in the Hummer, but since I can't talk into my recording device to make a voice journal I'm using this. Hearst Castle was awesome. Alex Trebek was the tour guide! Well he was the voice on the tour bus. AWESOME. But the house was awesome. Very Gothic. I need to look into studying architecture when I get home. Going up to Monterey, should be there in 3 hours.

[Excerpt from Robert Miranda's Phonograph Diary, Wednesday]

It's me again. Where to begin? I was on Cannery Row just now. I can't find my journal anywhere. If I lost it, oh well. I'm going to record my terrible voice for the entire remainder of the journey. It's easier that way. [Edit on Friday: Found in my suitcase.]

Monterey highway...oh, I'm not even going to describe it. It was fun but terrifying at the same time. I don't scare easily but some of those drops...it took an hour to drive eight miles. And I thought that only happened in LA. Then again they were curves.

We drove past Carmel. Bohemian town! Ah, La Boheme...but we're in Pacific Grove so that's slightly depressing. But Monterey's not ten minutes away so we went to the Bay Aquarium (the Aquarium of the Pacific is better, in my opinion.) We went out to Cannery Row where I bought the Steinbeck book, Cannery Row. I bought Cannery Row at Cannery Row! That's awesome! We saw a Steinbeck wax museum which was interesting. And then there was more but I won't go into that.

[Excerpt from a hotel notepad. Thursday]

So far this journey has been great. I wanted to go to Frisco, though, today when we went to San Jose but could not because we have to head home because Sunday my uncle works. Went to the Winchester Mansion and had a weird tour guide. He reminded me of someone...

We toured Seaside and the rest of Monterey, namely the wharf and the marina. We saw seals. To be honest I'm not a fan of nature, one of the reasons I didn't like the beach at San Simeon. Everyone else did. I like the stuff no one else likes. No one liked the Winchester Mansion but me. That shows I'm clearly an eccentric. The Hearst Castle was another perfect example. The Roman pool. But I won't get into that.

[Transcribed from both sides of a business card. Friday]

Going home. Travelled total: 900 miles. Wish it was longer. Can't have everything. -RM
Licence Plates seen: California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Ohio, Illinois, Wyoming, and Quebec. No Hawaii.


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