Tuesday, August 02, 2005

My father and I arrived Saturday evening in Newark, California, after a trip of 2100 miles in three days of driving (plus a day spent in Salt Lake City with Uncle John and Aunt Shan).

Highlights:

* The Rocky Mountains in general, with some absolutely staggering landscapes opening out before our car. I-80 from Cheyenne to Salt Lake City is a landscape painter's smorgasbord. Special awe, though, goes out to the Denver sunset which we were lucky enough to catch. It glistened out from the mountains to the west and illuminated the high clouds for minutes after setting.

* Dad's sensible policy of picking restaurants in small towns: noticing how the locals vote with their wheels. Choosing the more highly frequented offerings led us to Cappy's, which is in all likelihood the best restaurant in Rawlins, Wyoming.

* Red Butte Gardens in Salt Lake City, a bountiful botanical, um, bonanza connected with the University of Utah. Hey, there's even a great natural duck pond!

Casualties:

* Approximately 120 fl. oz. of caffeinated soda (deceased), drank by me for the purpose of staying alert while driving. I don't do coffee, see. No casualty report on my teeth as of yet.

* My new iPod (wounded), which started going sporadically haywire a day into the trip, and finally refused to acknowledge the existence of any music files. We're now trying to nurse poor Podraig back to health.

* The left front tire on the car (deceased), which had a tire track separation in the middle of Nevada, causing the car to shudder and pull to the right. We limped along to the next exit a mile away (Fernley, Nevada), where we saw a giant Goodyear sign on a repair shop. We were back on the road within an hour. So, we can only thank God that it happened right there (rather than five miles from any exit in the Nevada desert, or atop Donner Pass).

Now I'm staying here at Saint Edward Parish and looking for an apartment in Berkeley, for less than $500 a month (more possible than it sounds; think rent control), in a good neighborhood, with roommates who will get along with me. It's been exciting and frustrating so far, but I'm glad to say I have a few leads already.

And many thanks to Father Keyes and the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, whose charism includes hospitality and who invited me to stay here in the guest room while I am looking. And Saint Edward is a great parish to behold; they have good Masses in several languages, and the people keep coming!

P.S. Okay, I admit it. I haven't really been calling my iPod "Podraig". I only came up with the idea just now. But don't you think it's clever?

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