Folks that know me know few things get me going like long-distance driving, rolling across America, the backroads, checking out old discoveries, new ones. Those that really know me, know I especially love to drive at night, stopping at truck stops, waysides, eavesdropping on other people’s stories, making up my own in my head to go along with theirs. In the fervent imaginative world that I live in, each new person observed always falls into one of multiple categories. They are a super hero, or a super bad guy; they are secret lovers on a down-low tryst; they are aliens from another world, plotting a takeover. One never knows what goes on in my head. It’s best you don’t.
I had a day or so to kill, so I headed up to Seattle to check out some legendary burgers and pizzas. Some I had heard about years ago, some were mentions on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (host Guy, or at least some of his producers, and I, have parallel taste buds). The pizza? There are only a few pizzarias in the US that are certified by Verace Pizza Napoletana Americas in the making of genuine Neapolitan pizzas. This I had to explore.
As my better 2/3rds was out of town, I had no time limitations, answered to no clock or self-imposed chore. (Ok, I have none when she is home, either, but this is MY story). After sleeping fitfully in the early evening, I woke at 3AM and headed out, after a brief respite at my corner 7-11 for coffee. Two other men entered the store (who goes to 7-11 at 3AM?) and I was sure they were there to bump over the place and I would be caught in the crossfire (see???).
No such event took place, and I headed up I-5, spinning the dial, landing on an oldies station going under the moniker of “The Brew,” and they were playing some great 60s and 70s stuff. On the road, I alternate between FM oldies stations, and, in the middle of the night, seek out George Noory on AM, on the “Coast to Coast” show, George being the replacement for the institution of Art Bell, gone (retired) but not forgotten. The two of them always have interesting guests and callers, the content of the program fodder for my many conspiracy theories. This night it was the upcoming swine flu pandemic.
I flipped back and forth between AM and FM, and between cigarettes and coffee, the windows open, the stars above, the engine noise drowned out by my crooning along with the FM. Led Zepplin at the moment.
I note the road sign for “Castle Rock” as I roll up I-5, and my imagination goes into hyperdrive, as that is frequently the name of the town in Stephen King stories. I imagine that just off the exit, there are horrible ghouls, pets that have come back from the dead, massive cases of plague, and one scary ass mother fucking clown.
Another AM dial spin, and I land on KIXI (kick-see), a great oldies station, and I remember a college friend who was a jock there for a long time.
It was 6AM, and dawn was breaking over Seattle, as I headed to the Public Market to watch the fishmongers set up for the day. And have a burger or two. (Map of burger joints below)