Sixth Morning, San Diego
Today is my sister Nancy’s birthday. She’s still younger than me. She is there, celebrating her life anniversary, back in our hometown of Wareham, Massachusetts – hard by the salt water known as Buzzards Bay. Nancy refrained from coming back to our hometown for many of the years of her life, thought it was lacking in something or other – she’d become a city girl. But some years ago – maybe it was five or six, or eight or nine – somewhere back there she had a change of heart and returned to the good old hometown. First, buying a home directly on the shores of the Weweantic River, a few years ago selling that one and buying another in a park on the east side of town, up above the banks of a large pond between her park and the co-joined interstate routes 28 and 6.
Route 28 begins somewhere up in New Hampshire – I couldn’t tell you the exact location – and ends (or begins, upon the direction faced) in Orleans, more than two-thirds out on Cape Cod. Route 6, on the other hand, offers a longer journey, beginning at the tip of the Cape in Provincetown and meandering and snaking about and around all the way to Long Beach in California – one ocean to another, one edge of our country to the other.
Either way Nancy can take 6 or 28, they split just down the road in both directions, and visit one of the salt water (Buzzards, Cape Cod) bays. I, on the other hand, finding myself nearly all the days of the year in Portland, Oregon, have no such ability, no ease of a quick trip to the salt. The closest salt – somewhere due west – is 90 to 100 miles away, up and over the coastal mountain range. Which kind of sucks, actually, for a boy with salt water in his veins, and why I never end feeling a bit of jealousy for my sister’s postal code, and choice of driving route.
Of course that’s most days. Just a few minutes ago, standing up facing the opposite direction, I look up the California coast, all the way up to the curve at La Jolla, nine miles from here at Ocean Beach by coastal roads, 12 miles via the I-5. Oh, the 5, is another of those one-end-to-another byways, running into both Mexican and Canadian borders. In fact, I could climb up on the roof of one of the highest houses a street or two over and for sure see into mexico, 15 miles down the coast. The 5, if you’re interested, runs further inland up beyond Los Angeles and straight north through my most of the days of the year home in Portland and on to Seattle and Canada. But I rarely venture out on it in Portland – the traffic really sucks.
In the summer, like today, the traffic can suck as well on Routes 6 and 28 in Wareham, back in my hometown where Nancy celebrates today, suck especially badly on Fridays and Sundays when about a gazillian people head on and off the Cape. But most of the year those roads are just fine.
I hope it’s a wonderful day for Nancy, maybe lunch with a friend at Lindsay’s where they have fried seafood the west coast can only dream about.
All these highway dreams.