Travels Without Charley
EIGHTY FOUR, PA. -- MILE ZERO
Steinbeck carefully planned his trip for months. He studied maps to choose routes that dodged big cities but circled the edge of the country from Maine to Seattle and back.
He also packed his Spartan camper shell Rocinante with everything he thought he’d ever need.
He had a pile of books like William Shirer’s “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” that he hoped to read but never did. He had tools, spare truck parts and several rifles.
He also had a propane stove, a table that converted to a bed, closets and a toilet, as you can see if you use a camera to light up the interior of his camper at its eternal parking place in the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, Ca.
It was Steinbeck's idea to carry his little house around with him so he could invite people he met in for a friendly drink.
His truck cab was nothing like the luxuriously appointed pickups today. He had no AC and only an AM radio -- not even push-button.
No wonder he was always talking to Charley.