Steinbeck Country, USA

Friday, 29 October 2010 02:13 PM Written by 

U.S. HIGHWAY 101 -- Palo Alto, Ca.

The Traveling Steinbecks -- John, Elaine and Charley -- are still back in downtown San Francisco eating and drinking with their friends at Enrico's and Trader Vic's.

They won't be tooling down to the Monterey Peninsula in Rocinante for a few days yet (plus 50 years), but I'm heading there now.scmap

Steinbeck left San Francisco on or about Sunday, Oct. 30, 1960, and drove about 90 miles south to the peninsula where Monterey Bay, Pebble Beach and Carmel are merely the most famous of the many fabulous natural and manmade places that make it one of the most beautiful areas in the USA.

Steinbeck briefly visited his sister in Watsonville, where strawberries come from. Then he and the gang stayed for about two weeks with another sister at the modest Steinbeck family cottage on 11th Street in Pacific Grove, half a block from the rugged shore of Monterey Bay.ca_199

By dinnertime, I'll get to the city of Monterey, where tomorrow I'll visit Cannery Row and the downtown street that once held Steinbeck's favorite local bars.

This weekend I'll also visit Pacific Grove and Steinbeck's birth-house and grave in Salinas. Then I'll go to the top of Fremont Peak to gaze over the fertile Salinas Valley, as he did to such powerful literary effect in "Charley."

Then, as he did, I'll get in my ride and head east for Amarillo, Texas, on the historic part of the Steinbeck Highway, Route 66.

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