A Westward Transposition…………….#253 (the 90’s)

Gary and the Buick ready to go west

Gary decision was procreate,  an intuitive sense that maybe it was time to turn another page in the book of life,  a westward challenge was about to be ordained.   The 97 Buick was progressing south on highway #281,  a rambling way to state #58 to enjoin Interstate 40 at Weatherford Oklahoma,  a memorable  town from Gary’s musician days.  The  Interstate  journey beginning,  no ambitious agenda,  just a forbearance of a California destination.  The westward trek on Interstate 40,  the highway having changed,  no longer the memory filled meandering historical Route 66 from the past. Gary discovering an omnipresence,  a ferreting endless expanse of highway before him,  his travel being driven for no personal purpose,  exiting  with no self-proclaimed questionable answer.   Gary’s mind-set attempting to contemplate a purpose, the future a masquerade waiting to be discovered.  The droning sound of the Buick on the soldiery road,  Gary a lone passenger,  passing the landmark acquaintances of  yesteryear,  the scenic aura a melancholy  comfort from the past, but projecting an unknown accolade of the future.  A planned overnight stop in Albuquerque abated, the evening hour still a fledgling,  a decision to press onward to Gallup before halting for the night.   With darkness beginning to prevail,  a welcome Motel Room to rest and replenish, a renewed  aspiration to boost his propensity for this California journey.

Route 66 in Gallup New Mexico

Coconino National Forest Flagstaff

Coconino National Forest Flagstaff.

Calif. – Ariz. Stateline Inspection Station

An early morning breakfast,  Gary again acquainting the highway a continuation on Interstate 40,  passing the Indian cliff dwellings west of Gallup,  another postcard vision.  The highway starting its dispersion upward,  the Arizona border on the horizon,  leaving the barren high plateau regions of New Mexico,  entering the tree enclosed mountains, a gateway to the beautiful throes  of  Flagstaff.   A brief stop for fuel,  the Buick continuing its abide westward, Gary’s thinking  becoming resolute,  a 14 hour,  900 mile trip to his sister’s residence in Columbia was deemed a possibility. Intersecting at Barstow, Ca. Highway 58,  departing the Interstate,  the town of Mojave and 100 mile desert trek stretching before him.    It was early evening the Buick arriving in Bakersfield to address a familiar friend,   the well-traveled Highway #99,  the artery north thru the Central Valley, its vestige the length of the state before exiting into Oregon.  Gary finding the highway inhibited mostly with ten-wheelers,  tractor and trailers their drivers performing an unheralded function,   transporting  the commerce that sets the table for America.

Pea Soup Anderson’s Selma Ca.

Bakersfield in the rear view mirror,  Fresno, then Merced and east to the Sierra foothill  his destination all within reach then a trammel circumstance suddenly made its presence known in the failing twilight , a prodigious valley fog beginning its emergence.    The view of the highway becoming obscured,  the pilot of the Buick unable to distinguish road signs, relying on logic,  following the tail lights of a the truckers before him hoping that the teamsters vision was better than his.   The slow pace travel went on for miles, the fog engulfing all signs of roadside life,  Gary looking to remove himself from this dissolute travel,  finally noticing a glow of lighted structures off the highway, the Buick exiting  into an unnamed  fog enshrouded  realm.  The glowing lights projecting the outline of a well-lit complex and its proclamation sign,  Pea Soup Anderson’s.   Gary not seeing or hearing that name for over forty years, a remembrance returning, Anderson’s Pea Soup and their advertised enterprise for some reason initiating the  memory of a journey  in the 48 Chevrolet with his father and two sisters to join his mother at his Uncle Charlie O’Toole funeral in Santa Ana.    The capturing fog curtailing any further travel,  Gary ordained to spend  the night at Andersen’s, not happy with the $120 dollar a night charge for a night lodging  but under the circumstances, when held hostage by fog, what could one do.

Gary's sister Nancy

Gary’s sister Nancy

Gary Mother Betty at the entrance to his sister home

The early morning finding highway 99 still enshrouded in fog, but unlike the Stygian darkness, the  dawning delight providing some visual amenity, the journey continuing.  The fog was still persistent when reaching Merced,  the Buick changing directions,  journeying northeastward on State Highway J-59, finally breaking clear of the fog clouded shroud, the sun finally annihilating its  density , the scenic Sierra Foothills beginning their arrival.   The junction of #108, soon the familiar framework of Sonora coming into view,  Gary’s travel concluding  with the five-mile foray to Columbia,  the home of his Mother and Sister Nancy.    The welcome up-hill  driveway entrance on Parrotts Ferry Rd,  the magnificent tree engulfed log cabin structure with it resume of huge boulders providing a welcome sight.   The arduous 1600 mile journey coming to a conclusion, its purpose still unrealized,  but allowing a serenity,  an atmosphere for reflection, a time for Gary to ruminate on the past and current events that have transpired.

Gary’s mom and Tom Fleming

The time unfolding slowly,  Gary still pondering a direction, the stay of Columbia protruding on, keeping busy with a list of small project that his sister had accumulated over time.   His Mother and her friend Tom Fleming having invited Gary to an all you can eat Masonic Crab Fest in Hayward.  Gary having made Tom’s  acquaintance in Alva Oklahoma when the couple were on their way to the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta, Tom’s son Andy president of the paralympic committee.  Gary enjoyed seeing his mother and Tom together, the two making an exemplary couple.  Tom’s world was one of travel and accomplishment, introducing  the Willson family matriarch to the many amenities that have fulfilled his successful life,  the least including snowmobiling, a first for the great-grandmother.  Gary’s mind-set seemed in a semi-quasi state of limbo, indecision still reigned and with all his possessions still in Kiowa decision time was fast approaching, whether to remain in California or return to Oklahoma or Kansas.

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