Kage Baker, for all her love of Dickens Fair, always worried about our getting home once Sunday had ended. She would agitate to leave early, or at least on time; make sure we were packed and ready to go, so that as soon as the performance ended we could race down the road for home.
The last 10 years, we lived in Pismo Beach – a 5 hour drive down Highway 101, and she was always afraid I would fall asleep somewhere around Prunedale. This year, though, I have returned to Los Angeles: and so it is a different drive all together, on a far weirder road: 6 hours on I-5, culminating in the Grapevine and the long descent into the L.A. Basin.
If I leave Fair at 6 PM, I can hope to get home by midnight – if I don’t throw a rod, lose a wheel, or get lost in tule fog or get run over by a truck full of tomatoes or get abducted by UFOs predating on the Sea of Cows at Harris Ranch … today, though, it being still rehearsals, I left at 3 in the afternoon. Made it home by 9, with nothing more alarming than the usual fevered glow of the turning windmill at Gustine, and seeing a Delorean being towed backwards up the Grapevine.
My co-pilot is currently my nephew Michael. He used to travel this road twice a weekend, for Renaissance Faires; of course, he was in a baby seat in the back of my van, gurgling with delight at the truck lights on the road. Now he is 19, moustached and protective, and tonight he got his first conscious impression of a night trip down I-5. I think he liked it. It certainly fascinated him – the empty-ballroom darkness, the vast flat valley floor by starlight, the mysterious lights off on the side roads.
I will speak more of this, but for now I want to get this in before midnight so I don’t lose a day. We built the Inn and we made it home alive while it was still Sunday! A win on the I-5 by any standards.