Dave Went to California

US Interstate 5 (I-5), which runs north-south on the west coast of North America, from British Columbia through Washington and Oregon state to California. 

1988.

Dave heard the song first time he crossed the border, I-5, California bound

no money, none, save for a Shell card “borrowed” from his mom

his car a loaner too. The card, enough for gas, slim-jims, egg muffins

and an endless pour of styro-tepid-coffee, Zeppelin II and IV his company

for Californian pilgrimage, there back, four days, an aching in his heart

day one and two Zep II, day three and four Zep IV, four sticks

the ciggie slim-jims keeping company with Bonham fills of tom-tom, coffee, petrol

always I would wonder what the fuck took Dave so far away for just four days

his misty mountain redwood hop past Monterey across the Golden Gate

where ghostly haunts of undead Ferlinghetti, Grateful Dead, and Journey echo

ins-and-outs of intercourse and interstates, the off-and-on of off-ramps

turnpike turnarounds, an endless spin of wheels, squeals, rubber laid

in truck-stop bathroom stalls like rain-slick squalls with outsized keys

attached to hubcaps, who in hell would keep a key to access piss-soaked-cum-stained

shit hole lavs like this I couldn’t say, no way you’d find me here backed up

against graffiti getting off some exittramp, a hey-hey mama make you move a fast-cash

moolah sweat and groove, one mangy black dog mutt, another coffee, cold, banana cream

and Dave is heading north again but this you knew already from the scoring references

to IV and in the backseat 24, a flat of Pabst, two jerry cans before the Shell card’s cancelled

for the final day Dave knows he’ll get no coffee, fuel, refill, nothing left to eat

no worries he’s been here before, too often, he’ll survive just like his rifle toting dad

and mom – long suffering, will welcome him and cook for him and send him on his way

and check the post box, wait for her new Shell card to arrive.

 

US Interstate 5 (I-5), Vancouver to Los Angeles, via Google maps.

Stereo story #524

 

Author, poet, songwriter Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of Gone Viking: A Travel Saga and Allan’s Wishes. His Indie Folk CD is Studio 6. Bill’s work is published in North America, Europe and Asia. When not trekking the globe, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, having a laugh with friends.