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It’s Travelogue #5
Road Trip

GAYS MILLS - I was feeling ‘phone shamed’ on this trip. Having resisted getting a cell phone forever, I bought a ‘burner’ flip phone for the trip and was thinking I had finally arrived. Everyone I visited a.) got a big laugh out of my flipper and b.)seemed to have a smart phone, including my buddy Craig, previously an avowed Luddite. 

So the seed was planted in my brain with the fact that maybe I should start thinking about joining the 21st Century and get a smart phone. Still holding firm on no tattoos or intentional body piercings, though.

Grandson Bodhi agreed to help me order online a reconditioned Android (non-I-phone) which is what everyone in his family used. I was going to have one sent ahead to my sister’s home in Las Vegas and her husband Jim said, “Don’t do that. I’ve got an old I-phone I’ll give you.”  So just that easily, I thought, I had made the leap, joined the herd, caught up with the world.

In the meantime, Bodhi and Erik were kind enough to print out some computer generated maps to my next two stops, which were in California. The 300-mile trip from Ashland to Sacramento started with about 100 miles of rugged and beautiful mountain scenery in Northern California. The Sacramento Valley, the northern branch of the famous Central Valley of California, was as you would expect, broad, fertile and highly productive farm land.

I found my friend Jim Barnes’ house in a busy section of Sacramento during what I thought was rush hour.  It wasn’t, just another day in the Capitol City. Jim and I go way back. We went to grade school, high school and college together. We also worked one summer together. 

I spent a very pleasant couple hours with Jim and his family and enjoyed a great meal featuring tri-tip beef on the grill.  

I enjoyed hearing what Jim had been up to since I  had last seen him, 50-plus years ago. Jim has followed a very unique career path which included teaching high school agriculture, designing irrigation systems for wine vineyards, managing a 2,000-acre grass seed ranch in Oregon, attending culinary school in New York and working in the hospitality industry for 13 years. And at 75, he’s still working. Jim has worked for several firms dealing with high-end natural stone materials, countertops, tile, etc. Jim has ‘cut a wide swath’ and it was good to see him again.

Next stop, and it was getting dark, Brentwood. I was confused. I was aware of a Brentwood in southern California and sure enough my map/atlas showed 2 entries for Brentwood in the index. The southern one is a neighborhood, the northern one a city. Sixty some miles away was my destination, the city, to visit a college friend with a famous name Robert Lafollette.

I had not planned on doing any night driving on this trip. I wanted to see the country I was traveling through. So, I thought I would find a motel along the way to Bob’s.  There are no motels between Sacramento and Brentwood, at least on the route I took. I got to Brentwood and Bob graciously put me up for the night, which gave us plenty of time to talk that night and the next morning.