Paul’s favorite place(s)
Lisa posted her favorite places list weeks ago. Here are mine:
It was on our first day in Death Valley that Lisa noticed it. We’d left Tecopa and were driving in via Highway 178. We got out of our car to scramble around and Lisa stopped me. “Do you hear that?” she asked. There were no planes overhead, no cars on the road, no rustling leaves, no voices in the distance — nothing. It was surreal. We experienced that quiet many times in Death Valley and it was always powerful. But the first time was the best. Agua Caliente was the second-quietest spot we found … until the Boy Scouts arrived. White Sands was a pretty close third when the planes were grounded. And Highway 50 in Nevada … pretty much all of Nevada, minus Las Vegas, really.
Bisbee, Charleston, New Orleans, Rhyolite, London, Slab City — they’re all crumbling into the ground, melting away, in various stages of decay, rebirth, neglect, and investment. You can keep your clean cities. I like mine with a little tarnish.
California is a lot to handle. In Southern California, it felt like we were surrounded with no chance of escape. That changed in Carpinteria, as soon as we got to the edge (and the opposite happened in Carmel, when we left Big Sur). I love the edges of California. Then there’s the edge of Florida, of Oregon, of the Grand Canyon, of the Great Plains, of the Great Lakes. Edges are awesome. You get the best views from the edges.
There are a lot of reasons to be proud — food traditions, architecture, natural beauty, cultural leadership — and they’re all good. Any place that’s proud of something is a place I like. Just don’t take it too far. I’m looking at you, Portland.
A good bar
Good bars are rare, more rare than you’d think. Good ones welcome everybody, charge fair prices, and have a personality. And if they serve oysters and peanuts, all the better. We found a lot of good bars on the trip. I want to go back to all of them.