Ruminations From the Western Slope

Ruminations From the Western Slope
Colorado River near Moab, Utah

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Class Reunion, Part 1

On Thursday, I am sure that the “loneliest highway in America” will live up to its name as I pass the burned-out remains of the whorehouse just this side of East Gate. A few miles beyond there I will stop at the “shoe tree”, the big, ancient cottonwood tree from which dangle hundreds of pairs of old shoes, a strangely appropriate landmark in the middle of the Nevada desert. I will have spent Wednesday night at the nearly-deserted Bob Scott Campground just above the old mining town of Austin, watching the glow of sunset creep from pinion-juniper forest to a small aspen grove above 7,000’; sleeping in a fetal position in the back of the Subaru. Then brew up a little coffee in the morning and have a quick bowl of Corn Pops to get me going. Across the miles of sagebrush and cattle-beaten country of the Great Basin.

As always, I have second thoughts about traveling solo over so many miles again at my age. Second thoughts about returning to the bay area and the old hometown. Second thoughts about my ability to cope with new situations and old memories. But the spirit of adventure always seems to take hold. The chance for independence. Jack Kerouac freedom (which was illusional even for Mr. Kerouac). Traveling mile upon mile through the splayed out West. The reassuring rumble of the car engine. Some classic jazz music providing the soundtrack.

Ahead of me Thursday morning lie the stark white lake beds of Fallon, the Singing Sand Dune, the traffic of urban Reno, and the Great Wall of Hope beyond...the Sierra Nevada range. And beyond that the known and the unknown. The familiar streets and boulevards of the peninsula, and the weirdly familiar faces of the long ago and much touted Class of 1965. The one Medved and Wallechinsky wrote about in What Ever Happened to the Class of ‘65? That was us alright. If not the exact same school, certainly formed from the same historical momentum and circumstance.

Stay tuned for further details.

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