Friday, August 19, 2016

'Travels with Charley' in the 21st Century

POINT RICHMOND, Calif. - My apologies for the long delay in updating. Until today, about the only regular writing for me since April has been my weekly column for the Finger Lakes Times in Geneva, NY. If you want to scan those columns, here is the link: WRITE ON.

This non-vacation/vacation from the keyboard was prompted by my moving my base of operations from upstate NY to California. This coast-to-coast shift was about as taxing as anything I have ever done.

But it's completed. Done. Over. Finished.

Y gracias Dios.

And the draft of The Devil's Pipeline? Pardon the pun but it is still in the pipeline. The plan is to get the completed manuscript off to a New York publisher this fall for an agreed-upon look-see. But in the meantime, I have another potential writing project in mind, a la a well-known, well-loved John Steinbeck book, Travels with Charley.

If you haven't read this short tome, pick it up. I read snippets years ago. Now I am rereading it in its entirety as I plan a cross-country trip of my own beginning in early September.

I don't have dog named Charley, or any dog actually. But I do have a pickup truck and time. Lots of time.

My Travels will start in New York City, from the same spot I left in 1970 driving a blue, 1964 VW van. That two-month cross-country tour ended in Napa, Calif.

I will retrace many of the steps I took along that route. But this time I will be solo piloting a 1990 Nissan pickup truck with a camper shell. And my journey will be viewed through the eyes of novelist & journalist, not a brand-new dad with his wife, three-month-old son and a coal black cat named Mr. Kitter aboard.

I have no idea what will come out of this trip:  A handful of daily blogs (Posted on The Captain's Blog), a magazine article or two - or even a book about the America I find. I won't know until I head out and return.

Steinbeck explains this far better on the first page of Travels with Charley.

"We all find after years of struggle, that we do not take a trip, a trip takes us."


  1. Sounds like a great trip and a great writing idea, although I always liked Log From The Sea Of Cortez better than Travels. My first thought was that you need a name for the truck, although I hear both Rocinante & Further are taken. And a dog, unless you already have Merry Pranksters you gotta have a dog. Will there be any Gonzo in this? Anne and I can't wait to read about it. Best...

  2. A name for the truck and dog... Agreed... But too sure about getting a pooch and then trying to drive him/her across country. My luck lately, I would get a dog that gets violently car sick! This will be a Gonzo trip thought. All the way....

  3. How 'bout Log from the Seer of America? You could have a plastic dog as a hood ornament. Low maintenance and they'll always have plenty of air.

  4. I hope a worthy dog will find you on this trip
    Suzanne J