Highway 101 – Part 1 (June 11 2016)

Sprockets, Big Dog and Tanuki are on the road again, but this time, with Bailey, the Blue-eyed Bitch.

She’s the border collie-terrier mix that adopted us over the past several years and has become my Best Friend. No one knows how it happened but she was living on her own as a street girl for years before Animal Services trapped her. (Bailey was almost too smart for them and it took weeks for them to get her.)

“My mom took one look at her and adopted her, but she was too wild,” explained K, one of our ranch residents. “So she told me to find her a new home.”

Yes. Pretty, but with a serious personality disorder. It was easy for K to find a new home, but once there, Bailey bit her new owner and got sent back. Lucky me.

“We understand each other,” I told K. It takes a bitch to know a bitch.

dsc06269“Are you sure you want to take her to Arcata?” asked Big Dog.

No. I wasn’t sure at all. But as our departure kept getting pushed back, I would lie awake at night stressing about leaving her behind, so at the last minute, we packed up her blanket, toys, collar, leash and food with the rest of our stuff going north.

I was scheduled to attend an anti-nuke gathering in San Francisco and Berkeley, so we left in the morning, going up Highway 41 from the coast to Atascadero, then onto 101 towards San Francisco.

Bailey is good in a vehicle but it was new being in Sprockets and sharing the front seat with me.

“She should be in the back,” Big Dog warned, but The Bitch has a mind of her own and there is no telling her what to do.

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Bailey’s “other” favorite seat

—-

Humboldt is where Big Dog went to University, became an adult, had adventures, ran restaurants, made a documentary, started buying real estate, formed a corporation… In other words, roots spread deep and wide. He’s been on this route a million times but in the last decade plus, so have I.

I know all the north-south highways in California like the back of my hand now and used to pride myself in being a damn good cheap gas spotter. Today, thanks to the Gas Buddy app, my talents have become obsolete.

Though Interstate 5 has many attractions (not the least of which is the amazing feedlot in Coalinga), my favorite route is the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) and Highway 101. Through the Central Coast region, it is all rolling hills, vineyards, oaks and cattle. Then, the land flattens out into a giant agrarian vista. It’s fun to try to guess what’s growing out there. There’re always different kinds of lettuce. Some tomatoes, beans… and, of course, at Gilroy it’s garlic, garlic, garlic. The AIR smells like garlic. They don’t call it the Garlic Capital of the World for nothing! And as you’re daydreaming about Steinbeck’s Salinas Valley, all too soon you approach the Bay Area.

Traffic is terrible. I thought I had hours to spare, but now it looks like I will get to The City just in time.

Big Dog and Bailey continue across the Bay and on to Orinda to spend the night at his friend’s place. As they roll away, I see Bailey has completely taken over my seat.

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Activist friends at Union Square in SF
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Author: ontheroadwithsprockets

I've been traveling since I was born -- the first big trip was before I was two, across the Pacific, from my native Japan to Los Angeles on a cargo ship. There have been many journeys since then, through many continents and cultures.

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