Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yub Nub!

DECEMBER 17: time to head back to my hometown for the holidays.  I polled a number of friends about the road north: I-5 or 101?

I-5 is a well-beaten path, the main artery of the West Coast, but it goes over some high mountain passes that can get snowy at this time of year.  I have chains and rear-wheel drive, but I don't have a lot of snow driving experience, and I don't really want to get more on this trip.

US Route 101 runs along the coast (except for south of San Francisco).  It is less well-traveled, less of a straight shot, and farther out of my way. However, it doesn't involve any mountain passes, tends to get more rainy than snowy, and I've heard it's a scenic drive.

I polled friends and family for advice, and got a mixed bag: some said stick to the 5, and others said the 101 is a better choice.  I dithered about it for quite a while before deciding it was worth the extra mileage to take the scenic, more-likely-to-be-snowless route.

This turned out to be the right choice.  Because what nobody told me is that 101 runs through Endor.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

On Soledad Street

As of this writing, I'm currently residing at Holden Village, a remote community in the mountains of Central Washington. I want to clear a bit of a narrative backlog (blog backlog, a clog, a bog) before I tell you about that, but if you need to know more about Holden right now, well, here's the website.

The events described in this post take place December 12-17, 2011.

* * *

THE first time I set foot on Soledad Street, I'm scared. All those signals that I'd been taught mean this is the wrong part of town are clearly visible: run-down and boarded-up buildings, lifeless graffiti, dingy people slouching on the sidewalk wearing unfriendly expressions, or inappropriately friendly expressions, or no expressions.  There are makeshift tents and shopping carts laden with personal collections of things.  Occasionally, a really nice car cruises down the street, pauses for a minute or two while holding a brief exchange with someone on the sidewalk, and then disappears. My internal alarms are blaring: Get out of here. Get out, now, it's not safe, go.

But I'm here with the Companions, and we're going to Dorothy's Place.