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It’s day one of the I See Hawks In L.A. / Rick Shea Pre-Summer Solstice Tourette 05, and we’re feeling good. We departed Rob’s Highland Park abode within 45 minutes of scheduled departure, and our 1993 Chevy Suburban is running like a dream.

Rob and Paul purchased this beauty at an auction in the City of Industry (West Covina adjacent). The car auction is live entertainment at its gritty best, with an iron lunged auctioneer ramming through car sales to a funky and focused and well fed auto loving crowd. You’ve got about 40 seconds to decide if you really want that Crown Victoria natural gas powered sedan, which we almost purchased. Closing the deal on the Suburban (it was over in 15 seconds) was a thrill not soon forgotten. Rob’s mechanic believes the vehicle was a bomb squad car. The mountains of dog hair and live ammo scattered throughout and the kickout rear doors would imply this.Rick Shea’s on this trek, doing the opening and then playing guitar with the Hawks, and luckily he’s as dark and warped as any of us. The 5 North through Buttonwillow is a bit subdued this morning. Traffic’s moving slow in response to a 24 hour California Highwsy Patrol Anti-Speeding Strike Force. Band conversation is only two hours old, we’ve worked through the Bush administration’s Energy Bill and Condi Rice’s virtuoso dissembling abilities, and it’s already degenerated into:

Topic #1:I See Hawks In L.A. present Music from the Golden Age of Cocaine, a two CD boxed set: Jimmy Buffet, Toto, Steely Dan, Waylon Jennings, Stevie Nicks, Ricki Lee Jones, Elton John

Topic #2:If you were doing cocaine, what music would you want to listen to? Oingo Boingo, says Rick Shea. Steely Dan, says Rob, all Steely Dan all the time. Paul L. picks “Crossroads” by Cream, just that song, over and over. Rick Shea requests a qualifier: Oingo Boingo is what cocaine sounds like as personification of music. His real cocaine choice is Tony Rice. Shawn’s going with Cat Stevens, and Rob’s dropping Steely Dan for Hugh Masakela. Paul L.’s switching to Indian classical music. Rick Shea’s switching to Waylon Jennings.

Grapevines and orchards line the 5, not much cotton and alfalfa, as we cruise at 77 mph to Sacramento. Temperature gauge is normal, bananas, almonds, and organic Pop Tarts fuel the way.Rick Shea here: glad to be along with my good buddies the Hawks, looking forward to the shows, we just passed the 99 – 5 juncture, it doesn’t feel like we’ve really left town till we clear Bakersfield, 4 – 5 hours up the long stretch of the San Joaquin, clear and brown and flat, never changes too much, it used to bore me but now I look forward to it, one of the few things that seems to stay the same, I’m beginning to smell some new guy hijinks coming, better stay alert, more later…
Road Poem #1
by Rob Waller
green irrigated fields
yellow hills
brown mountains
black top
back pain
nuts and berries
new red tractors on trailers
the Firebaugh exit sign
an abandoned bowling ball
road heat coming up through the floor of the Bomb Squad mobile
Winnebago with a flag on it
faux log cabin trailer is an oversize load
orangiesh clay
corregated metal sheds by gravel parking lots
chemical odors
trying to make order
flying by a row of California
Live Oaks