Winnemucca to Tales of the City

Nicholas Quirke was entertained by his start to the day on 19th December, despite having been unable to use the internet the night before. It was an extremely cold day in those Nevada Mountains but he wanted to capture the spirit of the strange town. As he was taking pictures he was approached by a young man from Winnemucca, born and bred, who wanted to know what he was taking pictures of and then asked Nicholas to take a picture of him. His name was Irwin and he was a lyricist and did an impromptu Rap in the street. After this encounter there really was nothing more for him in Winnemucca as he had no desire to gamble which meant an early start on another 5 hour drive. He wasn’t as astounded by the scenery during the drive as he had been which gave him time reflect on the odyssey so far. He thought about some of the things he hadn’t stopped to photograph like all the road signs to places that he thought he would take photos of and if he had more time might even have visited, Fargo was an example, Las Vegas. He realised too that he hadn’t captured any images of freight trains; he had always fantasised about jumping trains and when a photo opportunity presented itself he took it. In addition, as it became more industrial on the approach to Reno, Nicholas thought of his disappointment at how frequently the sight of huge, science fiction like installations, billowing out smoke and polluting the air had presented itself, and again he made a stop to document this. In fact, on this drive pollution became an issue as the air around Reno and between Sacramento to San Francisco actually stank and made him feel a little sick. It wasn’t all doom and there was a definite thrill as he crossed the Nevada State line and found himself in territory that announced itself as Californian Gold Rush land, ‘Boom Town’ could be nothing but and the glimpses of river amongst the snowy mountains and pines was a source of great pleasure. What was occupying his mind most of all was that today he would reach San Francisco and that meant he had made it coast to coast and he couldn’t stop the feeling of achievement he experienced at having done that on his own. San Francisco too had always loomed large in his imagination, generated by a host of movies, TV and Books from Vertigo, Whats Up Doc, The Conversation to Milk and Tales of the City, so seeing the streets and buildings moved him in an unexpected way. He loved the Motel in the Castro area which was retro but fully equipped. He was able to access the internet without problem. He felt it imperative that he have a proper meal as for the past few days he had lived on fruit and slabs of ginger glazed tofu which he microwaved and ate on their own,. He sourced a Vegan Mexican Restaurant, Gracias Madre on Mission Street and had a most satisfying dinner including a desert. Nicholas felt bloated by the excess of food and walked back. He was shocked by the number of homeless on the streets in the ‘Mission Area’ which seemed worse than in Brighton. His final observation of the day was that it would be wonderful, when he met Richard the next day to not have to wear his thermals and layers of clothes, it felt like a spring evening and that made him happy.




Leave a Reply