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TRAVEL: Travelling through Northern California (August 2003)
Northern California - August 2003

When people have mentioned places in Northern California, I have always had to say, “I’ve never been there.” Which inevitably has prompted the response, “You HAVEN’T?” Why it would be such a surprise that someone who has only been in the Los Angeles area since 1996 has never seen the entire state, I don’t quite know. But this summer (August 2003), I decided to take care of this minor defect in my California credentials. In one week, I put 2000 miles on my tough little black Celica, and a lot of photos on my hard disk.


I HAD been here before. Twice. But I hadn’t seen some old friends (she’s a journalist, he a professor at Berkeley) for a while, so I started there. Having established that the two sophisticated young brunettes in their house were indeed older versions of the mischievous, Beatle-loving little blonde darlings I’d met a few years back, I saw a bit of Berkeley with the parents, caught up on news of old mutual friends and went on to Mill Valley, former home of a spritely older friend of mine in Los Angeles.


Charming little town, with a bookstore café as its main social center. I spotted an open mike planned for that night at Sweetwater, a promising looking bar. Ended up back there later that night, but didn’t have a prayer of (as I’d planned) doing my monologues at the open mike (which had been booked up since that afternoon.) As a very helpful French woman at the hotel next door then told me, the club has been around for decades and a number of major acts started there. So she and I talked about France and poets and musicians, before I rolled on.

Meanwhile, before doubling back to Mill Valley, I’d been up to Sonoma.