I’ve Been Doin’ Some Onerous Travelin’
Touring by means of California and Oregon listening to the music of Woody Guthrie on the event of the one centesimal anniversary or his delivery, July 12, 1912 was a very serendipitous occasion. I had no data of the date beforehand, however after I turned on the radio, and I heard Woody’s travelin’ music, I used to be elated and positive it was an indication that our journey can be rewarding. Woody had lived in each California the place he had a radio program and in Oregon, the place he wrote a lot of his most well-known songs. Our journey started after we arrived by airplane in San Francisco and had dinner at a Greek restaurant in San Mateo earlier than heading all the way down to Santa Cruz. Woody could not have associated to the upscale seaside condos in Santa Cruz however would have preferred the boardwalk amusement park underneath the gory gaze of two Gargoyles. He additionally would have beloved the farmer’s market on a terraced hillside close to the College of California at Santa Cruz. On our travels we noticed farmer’s markets in virtually each metropolis we visited, a homegrown, floor up motion (no pun meant) to supply wholesome regionally grown meals.
The next day we loved a drive all the way down to Large Sur and all of the riches the California coast has to supply, stopping to go to the wharf in Monterey and a day reminiscing with John Steinbeck on Cannery Row. Woody was in a position to see the film the Grapes of Wrath, based mostly on Steinbeck’s novel, and he captured its essence in his music, The Ballad of Tom Joad. Guthrie, in his personal plain fashion, additionally wrote about seeing the movie in certainly one of his columns for the Folks’s World, praising its directness: “… Exhibits the rattling bankers males that broke us and the mud that choked us, and comes proper out in plain outdated English and says what to do about it.” Guthrie urged his readers to go see the movie. “… You was the star in that image,” he wrote, that means his everyman readers. “Go and see your individual self and listen to your individual phrases… “1
Later Bruce Springsteen wrote the music, the Ghost of Tom Joad specializing in the lives of metal employees, immigrants and migrant employees within the late twentieth century. Bruce stated of Woody, “To me, Woody Guthrie was that sense of idealism together with a way of realism that stated perhaps you possibly can’t save the world, however you possibly can change the world.” We had solely to activate the automobile radio and listen to concerning the present financial state of affairs, supreme courtroom rulings on immigration, and complaints concerning the banking business to understand the timeless high quality of Woody’s phrases.
Subsequent we traveled to Yosemite to benefit from the spectacular views and trek up the John Muir Path. John Muir was a Scottish-born American naturalist, writer, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the US. His activism helped to save lots of the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia Nationwide Park and different wilderness areas. The Sierra Membership, which he based, is now one of the necessary conservation organizations in the US. One of the well-known mountaineering trails within the U.S., the 211-mile John Muir Path, was named in his honor.2
In 1966 the US Division of the Inside gave Woody Guthrie ‘The Conservation Service Award’ in recognition of his life-long efforts to make the American individuals `conscious of their heritage and the land. Whereas this and different songs could just do that, additionally they decry the ills of a Capitalistic society that handled “the individuals”, be they migrants, farm laborers, or Mexican immigrants, unjustly. The granting of the Conservation Award, and even the recognition of This Land Is Your Land is testomony to Woody’s songwriting genius, however they’re additionally symptomatic of a gross over-simplification of the that means and significance of his work.” 3 Studying additional, I realized that Woody was protesting a selected occasion of 1936 when he was saved out of Los Angeles together with different migrant employees. Those that determine him with Communism are mistaken as he was a chronicler of historic occasions on this nation’s historical past and particularly a folks singer. As such he fought towards cases of injustice and greed.
Again at Yosemite, we had been viewing the world from the again of a mule on the John Muir path at a peak of a number of thousand toes. The Asian man behind me on the path wished to maneuver in entrance of me to be near his eleven yr outdated son. It was wonderful with me however not my mule. He bit the mule that had usurped his place and was kicked in return. Feeling that this was not the place for petty bickering, and with my left foot hanging over the sting of the canyon, I attempted to induce him again towards the within of the path however to no avail. He appeared to desire the periphery. He additionally appeared to understand the view and would continuously stand on the sting and stare out. I could not blame him because it was breathtaking, however I did not notice till then that mule using may very well be an excessive sport. Three quarters of the best way down the son’s mule slipped, and the boy went flying off. His sudden departure from his saddle was a realization of all our worst fears. Thankfully he landed on the within of the path, and his father thanked me once more for having let his mule transfer forward of mine. All of us breathed a sigh of aid when the child bought again on his mule with solely a sprained wrist and a few minor scratches.
Our journey plans took us to June Lake, appropriately named as a result of it’s often impassable earlier than June because of snow. Due to the short-term benefits of world warming, the highway was clear, though the streams had been nonetheless cascading down the mountain sides fed by the melting snow on the mountain tops. One other stunning view awaited us as we drove into the city and noticed the clear mountain lake. We loved a beautiful dinner on the native tavern and determined to maneuver to June Lake as quickly as doable. The subsequent morning we traveled to Mono Lake and realized about its geological historical past. I hoped the thirsty Californians would drink extra wine so the water degree of the lake may very well be restored. Mark Twain had as soon as visited and referred to as it a lifeless lake. Roughing It, printed in 1872, supplies a humorous and informative early description of Mono Lake in its pure situation within the 1860s. Twain discovered the lake to be a “lifeless, treeless, hideous desert… the loneliest place on earth.”4
He was lifeless mistaken because the lake was teaming with life within the type of brine shrimp, and migratory birds. The native Kutzadika’a individuals, Kutzadika’a that means fly larva eaters, derived diet from the larvae of the alkaline flies that dwell within the lake. We seen a film of them panning for fly larvae with sieve like baskets, and had been grateful for our jar of peanuts. And as regards to subsistence, NASA lately found arsenic-eating micro organism within the lake that may represent the primary life kind able to changing one of many six important parts (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus) in its biomolecules. Discoveries equivalent to this present but one more reason to protect and shield our nationwide and state parks.
We spent a short time in Bodie which Woody would in all probability not have beloved. Though some arduous ramblin’ and arduous gamblin’ was goin’ on through the gold rush days, the prospectors had been a grasping lot and Woody hated greed. In 1879 Bodie boasted a inhabitants of about 10,000 and was second to none for wickedness, badmen, and the “worst local weather out-of-doors.” Killings occurred generally each day. A few residents pulled out $90,000 in gold in ninety days. Now a ghost city, however crammed with vacationers, Bodie is a good historic cease.
On to Lassen Volcanic Nationwide Park, house to smoking fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, clear mountain lakes, and quite a few volcanoes. The dominant function of the park is Lassen Peak, the biggest plug dome volcano on the planet and the southern-most volcano within the Cascade Vary. The Lassen space was additionally a gathering level for no less than 4 American Indian teams: Atsugewi, Yana, Yahi, and Maidu. A Yahi Indian named Ishi turned up in Oroville, Calif. in 1911. He had by no means blended with whites earlier than, and his tribe was considered nonexistent. He lived out his days on the Anthropology Museum of the College of California Affiliated Schools on Parnassus Heights in San Francisco (now the location of the College of California San Francisco), the place he was handled with respect and was a useful ethnological supply. Ishi was thought of at the moment because the final Stone Age survivor in the US. He died in 1916 of tuberculosis. Within the coffin had been positioned certainly one of his bows, 5 items of dentalium, a field filled with shell bead cash which he had saved, a handbag filled with tobacco, three rings, and a few obsidian flakes, all of which we felt positive can be in accord with Ishi’s needs..5 We might really feel the presence of the previous Native Individuals on this excessive place that they nonetheless use for ceremonial conferences. A number of snowfields on the mountain tops have survived the early scorching climate.
We arrived in Portland, Oregon for a special type of expertise. My stepson Tony, confirmed us round city through the microbreweries, and launched us to a number of new craft beers, ciders, and bitter beers, raspberry being my favourite. We rented a tandem and rode on the waterfront to the Saturday market which can be on Sunday. The waterfront was full of cubicles promoting scrumptious meals and a wide range of arts and crafts. We observed a variety of uncommon strategies of transportation along with our tandem bike equivalent to stilts, skate boards, and bounce footwear. Proponents of varied causes from legalized hemp to Deliberate Parenthood and voter registration had been available to promote their ideological wares. The Japanese backyard, listed as a primary attraction within the tour books, lived as much as its billing. I assumed it could be arduous to compete with the splendor of the pure panorama, but it surely was a microcosm of tranquil magnificence with each leaf and stone in its good place. A household of ducklings enhanced the photograph alternatives.
Attending a Quaker un-programmed assembly on Sunday, and listening to individuals converse concerning the problem of world warming in addition to God’s acceptance of us as flawed people topped off our expertise in Portland. I beloved the point out of course of theology which believes we have now a hand within the creation and that what we do issues. Woody’s philosophy that, “a folks music is what’s mistaken and the right way to repair it” permeated his songs and his life. He was an inspiration for future writers and activists and for all of us. We could not miss the well-known Powell Guide retailer the place I picked up The Alchemist, by Paul Coelho about discovering one’s private future and omens alongside the best way as one travels by means of the world. This was one other serendipitous discover and an excellent omen for our journey. Final however not least we needed to see the Columbia River which Woody made so well-known in his music, Roll on Columbia, Roll On. The music grew to become well-known as an anthem about American public works initiatives arising out of the New Deal within the Nice Melancholy, and is without doubt one of the hottest songs within the historical past of the US. It’s the official folks music of the State of Washington.6
On our journey down the coast on US Route 101 and later California State Route 1, I found not just some details about some long-lost kinfolk, however a realization of the deeper that means or our journey. In Port Orford, a small inventive fishing village on the coast of southern Oregon which has been little modified by time and the vacationer business, we discovered proof of two of our kinfolk, bachelor brothers who owned a sawmill there and had lived into their 90’s. We weren’t positive in the event that they had been nonetheless alive, however searched round within the cemetery at nightfall, and at last discovered their grave stones close to the forest the place that they had apparently spent their lives. I considered Woody’s music, I ain’t bought no house on this World Anymore which utilized to the mud bowl migrants, however might additionally apply to Vance and Hughes, a pair of outdated Paul Bunyuns in Oregon. A visit to the one late night time tavern turned up some details about the city historian. The subsequent morning we visited him in his restaurant on the sting of city and realized that he had been an excellent buddy of the 2 brothers. He gave us a photograph of 1 dancing along with his girlfriend and stated they had been actually nice guys though a bit of eccentric. We went on our means down the coast feeling a brand new appreciation for the kindness of strangers. Woody would have preferred Port Orford.
At Fort Ross Historic Park on the Sonoma Coast, we skilled North America’s southernmost Russian-American settlement. The Russians lived comparatively peacefully with the native Pomo individuals, and loved their sojourn till they had been referred to as again to Russia. The village was multicultural for no less than thirty years together with not solely Russians however Siberians, Alaskans, Hawaiians, Californians, Europeans, and Native Individuals. Industries included farming, looking, blacksmithing, tanning, brickmaking, barrel making and shipbuilding. Seeing the outdated cedar buildings with their onion domes on the windswept coast was fairly superb.
After tramping by means of the redwood forests with eyes to the heavens, we headed on down Route 1 late at night time with the profit a full moon. We drove a number of hours anticipating to cease at numerous cities on the map, however after we arrived, they had been closed for the night time. We lastly discovered a resort lit up prefer it may be in a horror film. Since we had already pushed a number of hours we determined to cease. As an alternative of an ax assassin we discovered a pleasant proprietor who invited us in and advised us to loosen up a bit of. He served us chocolate cake nonetheless heat from the oven, giving us one other dose of pleasant hospitality. The final night time of our journey was spent viewing the fireworks over the bay in San Francisco, a spectacular show and affirmation of our nation’s independence. The fantastic thing about the panorama and the kindness of strangers made our “arduous travelin” a lot simpler. Woody would have stated, “From the Purple Wooden forests to the Gulf Stream waters, this land was made for you and me”.
A folks music is what’s mistaken and the right way to repair it or it may very well be
who’s hungry and the place their mouth is or
who’s out of labor and the place the job is or
who’s broke and the place the cash is or who’s carrying a gun and the place the peace is. – WG
1 Jack Doyle, “Steinbeck to Springsteen, 1939-2006,”
PopHistoryDig.com, March 29, 2008.
2 Wenk, Elizabeth; Morey, Kathy (2007). John Muir Path: The Important Information to Climbing America’s Most Well-known Path. Berkeley, CA: Wilderness Press
3 Edwin Cohen, Woody Guthrie And The American People Music (College of Southern California, 1971) 179.
4 Harris, S.L. (2005). Hearth Mountains of the West: The Cascade and Mono Lake Volcanoes. Mountain Press.
5 http://historical past.library.ucsf.edu/ishi.html
6 Roll on Columbia: Woody Guthrie & the Bonneville Energy Administration. VHS, College of Oregon.