Twenty Years - Part I
Me and my driving companion at Niagara Falls Twenty years ago I drove cross-country from Boston to San Francisco, where I had decided to live with some friends. My driving mate and I had brand-new driver's licenses and some foolish company called All America Auto Transport let us take this poor lady's Nissan Sentra for the conditionally refundable fee of $150.
NOTE: Not actual carMe and my driving mate, whose new license was even newer than mine, did not want to pay tolls so we took US route 20 for the first two days until construction diverted us through LaPorte, Indiana, where we rear-ended a pickup truck and nearly destroyed the front end of the Sentra. After this we got on the interstate. At least it corresponded to the map.
The car had a cassette deck. 1992 was my year of cassettes, since it suddenly became very difficult to find new albums on vinyl and then I moved far away and left my turntable behind. My plan had not been to leave it permanently. I figured we'd get settled in SF, I'd get a job and save some money, and then have the rest of my shit sent out.
There are only two tapes I remember distinctly from this road trip. They were the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "BloodSugarSexMagik" and the Beastie Boys' "Check Your Head." Both albums still remind me of fall 1992, San Francisco, and all the accompanying ups & downs. No I'm just kidding actually. They both would if I still listened to the Chili Peppers album.
NOTE: Not actual cassettes from road trip. Those are long, long gone.
Even now, anytime I hear Robin Zander saying "this next one is the first song on our new album" and the opening beats of "Jimmy James", I can still picture our descent out of the Sierra Nevada with crystal clarity. There was a significant amount of traffic, and everyone else was hauling ass down the tight, curvy highway that winds down through the mountains. I clenched my new-driver teeth and grew some brass balls and kept up the pace all the way down. I probably left a stain on the driver's seat.
NOTE: This picture doesn't do any justice to what I'm trying to tell you. Just take my word for it.