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It’s Travelogue #7
COLUMNIST JOHN GIBBS seems to have found him-self a nice ride on his peregrinations in the west. It’s sure nice to see him having fun, relaxing, and catching up with his west coast buddies.

GAYS MILLS - One unexpected and unplanned visit while I was in Marina was with Kristen La Follette, suggested by my friend, Bob La Follette. Kristen is Bob’s daughter and teaches at the University of California, Monterey Bay. UCMB is a relatively new campus of the university, founded in 1994, on the site of the former Fort Ord Army Base.

Kristen and I met for breakfast on a Saturday morning. Kristen teaches oral history, a field that interests me very much. She described her work and how she got interested in it. 

She gave me some sources to look up to find out more about the topic.  

She and I agreed that everyone has a story to tell and most people want to tell it; oral history provides that opportunity. 

Interviewing people is the heart of the work of gathering oral histories. The more mundane part of the job is transcribing those interviews into writing.

Kristin lives on the massive new UCMB campus, which was donated to the university for $1 when Fort Ord was decommissioned. What a deal for some very prime coastal California real estate! 

The UC Monterey Bay has a student enrollment of about 7,000 with lots of room to grow into. One slight drawback to being on a former army base is the presence of quite a bit of ordinance left over from decades of target practice. Kristen collects shells on her walks through acres of rolling dunes, but not of the seashell variety, available so close by. She collects spent ammo shells.

Later that day, my nephew Ben drove me around some of the scenic tourist attractions of the Monterey Bay area. The Monterey Peninsula is home to several gorgeous communities including Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and the resort area of Pebble Beach. We cruised through Cannery Row, drove past the Monterey Aquarium, and along the picturesque beaches on a bright sunny day.

Ben happened to mention that his former father-in-law had a Model A Hotrod and suggested we go see it. I was all in with that idea, being a big fan of Ford hotrods. We didn’t have to go far, Elliot Booker was getting the car out by the time we got to his place. This was the second unplanned and unexpected visit of a very special day.

Elliot not only showed me his immaculate 1930 Ford coupe but he took me on a ride around the neighborhood and we cruised the beach scene. 

This car, which he built himself, is a picture perfect vision of what a hot rod should be. It was like a new car. I was simply agog. Elliot and I hit it off and we talked like old friends as we rode around the beautiful area that has been his longtime home.

Besides the Model A, Elliot also ‘built’ a car for his wife, Delia. She drives a very nice 1947 Ford sedan, fully modernized and equipped. The 47 Fords were one of the last so-called fat-fendered cars, before cars became sleeker and more aerodynamic. It is parked behind the Model A.

Ben graciously led the way as I left the coastal hills and got on Highway 101 headed south toward my next stop: Paso Robles.