Blogging My Book Tour: Stop 3, Pinot Wine Bar in Fresno

I arrived in my hometown of Fresno today after a deliciously sunny drive down from Sacramento. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to drive on an open freeway. Seattle is no good for driving with the windows down and the music on, and not just because of the weather–the traffic is also notoriously ridiculous. Sailing down the freeway today was an oddly rare treat.

A few points of interest along the way:

1.In Stockton, California, there is an exit for “Rough and Ready” Road. No kidding.

2. There are a lot of people who dislike the president and who have planted signs on their farmland to that effect.

3. All the fig trees in Fresno seem to be left for dead. Fig trees are never exactly majestic, but I remember them at least being alive. Now there are just a few left, and they look like driftwood piled in fields. For some reason, this made me quite sad.

All that aside, tonight’s reading at Pinot Wine Bar was really a delight. The venue was a nice outdoor area, we had a great crowd, and several of CSU Fresno MFA students read their work before I took the stage. I was pleased to see that not only does Fresno have a thriving literary crowd, but it also has very talented people working on very worthwhile projects. I was happy to have my poems well received by the crowd, too, especially because a number of them proceed from my time spent in Fresno. I was pleased, too, that my father was in the audience; how many poets get to write about their childhoods and still have their families’ support? Not many of us, right? I felt truly lucky.

I’m back in my somewhat unsettling hotel now, after my second In N’ Out grilled cheese in two days, wondering why Trip Advisor recommended this somewhat ominous hotel so highly. The peeling wallpaper I can handle, and the suspicious stains on the floor I can avoid. But the guy outside the front door, waving a fully wrapped kitchen sponge and ranting about the Marriott (this is not the Marriott)…well, I’m not sure I’m okay with that. Should I disappear mysteriously before making it to Santa Barbara tomorrow, someone please track down kitchen sponge guy. He’s your best bet.

Tomorrow, should Sponge Guy not dispatch me in the night, is Santa Barbara! Westmont College, 7pm in Hieronymus Lounge. It should be a fun time!

3 Replies to “Blogging My Book Tour: Stop 3, Pinot Wine Bar in Fresno”

  1. Ah, I know that particular stretch of highway (including the Rough and Ready exit). I grew up on a tiny farm between Turlock and Merced and would be sad to see the dying fig trees, too. Brava on the reading!

  2. Rachelle, dare I ask what happens out on Rough and Ready Road? It seems so…startling.

    The trees really are something to see. It’s like they’ve all been left to their own parched devices. Such a bummer! I hope there are still some surviving somewhere else in the county.

  3. Alas, I’ve just seen the exit and wondered about it, too (though a quick Google Maps jaunt reveals a Rough and Ready Island in Stockton, which holds the SF Naval Communication Center). I drove down 99 last Feb and was shocked (SHOCKED) by the depressed state of everything. But the sky is still as wide as I remember.

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