Thursday, May 15, 2008

Highway 101

19 x 22.25 cm
Found black and white photograph, color xerox, highway image cut out from Revista de Informacion Tecnica (Madrid, 1968), (the magazine was found at a flea market in Madrid), found paper, graphite and archival artist tape


Even though I didn't personally have the chance to drive down Highway 101 while I was in California recently - I was still reminded of the beauty on that drive. Everyone who comes to California for the first time always wants to drive down Highway 1 -and yes indeed, that is a spectacular drive, but not time efficient if you are driving between San Francisco and Santa Barbara regularly. Highway 101 is part coastal and part inland and therefore it isn't known for it's consistent beauty.

One of my most memorable trips down 101 was a couple of years ago. It was a warmish evening. I rented a car in San Francisco and had planned on driving down to Santa Barbara. It is between a 5 and 6 hour drive (325 miles or 532 km) - depending on how many stops you make, and of course how much you speed. Even though I have done this drive countless times alone, I have never enjoyed it.

Typical view during the inland portion of the drive down Highway 101.

I went to pick up my rental, a compact, which is what I reserved. I hate how the rental agency thinks they are doing you a favor and they "upgrade" you even if you don't want the upgrade. This is what happened - sort of. The clerk told me it would be a few minutes before they brought the car around to the front of the building. I was waiting and waiting - minutes turned into a quarter of an hour. Annoyed I went back inside, asking where my car was. The clerk said that it was waiting for me. I said I didn't see a car. He came out and said, "Oh yes here it is.". I stared at him blankly because parked in front of me was a white convertible (I can't remember exactly, but it was something like a Mitsubishi Spyder or a Chrysler Sebring). "No", I said, "This isn't the car I reserved.". He said "That's all we have. I thought you might not mind the upgrade.". He smiled, gave me the keys and walked off. So there I was, with a convertible. I had planned to leave town right then but instead called my friend M.K., picked her up from work and we drove around town with the top down, drinking smoothies while enjoying the city and the sunset.

A few hours later, after I had stolen my sister's big puffy winter hat*, I left town and you better believe the top was down, the heat was turned up and the radio was blasting as I drove down 101 to Santa Barbara. I think it was the first (and the last) time I didn't mind that drive.


*[Yes, I confess R. - I stole your hat.]

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