Current Littourati Map

Neil Gaiman's
American Gods

Click on Image for Current Map

Littourari Cartography
  • On the Road
    On the Road
    by Jack Kerouac
  • Blue Highways: A Journey into America
    Blue Highways: A Journey into America
    by William Least Heat-Moon

Search Littourati
Enjoy Littourati? Recommend it!


Littourati is powered by
Powered by Squarespace


Get a hit of these blue crystal bath salts, created by Albuquerque's Great Face and Body, based on the smash TV series Breaking Bad.  Or learn about other Bathing Bad products.  You'll feel so dirty while you get so clean.  Guaranteed to help you get high...on life.

Go here to get Bathing Bad bath products!

Entries in Bakersfield (2)


On the Road: Bakersfield, California (again)

Click on Thumbnail for MapNote: First published on Blogger on September 19, 2007

Unfolding the Map

Who would have thought we'd be heading back to Bakersfield with Sal. But, here we go. Curious about where we are? Check out the map by clicking on it.

Book Quote

"In the morning we boldly struck out on our new plan. We were going to take a bus to Bakersfield and work picking grapes. After a few weeks of that we were headed for New York in the proper way, by bus....We arrived in Bakersfield in late afternoon....But there were no jobs to be had....We went across the SP tracks to Mexican town. Terry jabbered with her brethren, asking for jobs....I was beginning to we bought a quart of California port for thirty-five cents and went to the railroad yards to drink. We found a place where hobos had drawn up crates to sit over fires....Ah, it was a fine night, a warm night, a wine-drinking night, a moony night, and a night to hug your girl and talk and spit and be heavengoing. This we did....Occasionally bums passed, Mexican mothers passed with children, and the prowl car came by and the cop got out to leak, but most of the time we were alone and mixing up our souls ever more and ever more till it would be terribly hard to say good-by."

On the Road, Chapter 13

Bakersfield, California

In my first post on Bakersfield, I focused on how Bakersfield is a proverbial end of the road for many Californians, a gate of hell almost. At least it was for this native Northern Californian where all California south of San Francisco was painted with "Here Be Dragons" on my parents' imaginary map. Sal certainly uses it as a gateway to the LA area. But now we see that it is a gateway of sorts again. Sal foreshadows the end of his romance with Terry by alluding to the eventual goodbye. But not yet. They sit and in terms both vulgar and romantic, they have a bit of romance.

We have all passed in and through doors. If we think of Los Angeles as a big room where Sal played for a while, then we see that Sal is leaving by the same Bakersfield door as he came in. A little wizened perhaps, maybe a little chastened. He's thinking about heading back to New York. Not that there isn't any more adventure. He will still have some more experiences in California, as we will see, before he sets his sight to the east. But the point is, we know when it's time to enter a place, and we all know when it's time to exit. I think Sal knows now that he's beginning the end of his trip and that California will be a distant memory (for now). Unlike Orpheus, he won't be looking back as he goes.

I don't have too much more to say since I've already written about Bakersfield.

Even more About Bakersfield? Let's let some bloggers and such point the way

Bake Town, CA
Bakersfield Californian
Eye of Bakersfield
Hello Bakersfield
One Bakersfield Woman's Blog to Mankind

Next up: Selma, California


On the Road: Bakersfield, California

Click on Thumbnail for MapNote: First published on Blogger on April 28, 2007

Unfolding the Map

Sal hits what many Californians consider the end of the road. But not for Sal, at least not yet. It's actually the gateway to some love and music, and good times lie beyond. Want to see where we are?  Click the map!

Book Quote

"I had to go south; I got on the road. A man in a brand-new pickup truck picked me up. He was from Lubbock, Texas, and was in the trailer business. 'You want to buy a trailer?' he asked me. 'Any time, look me up.'

"He left me off south of Bakersfield, and then my adventure began. It grew cold. I put on the flimsy Army raincoat I'd bought in Oakland for three dollars and shuddered in the road. I was standing in front of an ornate Spanish-style motel that was lit like a jewel. The cars rushed by, LA-bound. I gestured frantically. It was too cold. I stood there till midnight, two hours straight, and cursed and cursed. It was just like Stuart, Iowa, again. There was nothing to do but spend a little over two dollars for a bus the remaining miles to Los Angeles."

On the Road, Chapter 12

Bakersfield, California

Dwight Yoakam sang a song, The Streets of Bakersfield, which could easily fit Sal's journey. Though Jack wasn't really into country music as far as I can tell, preferring the jazz, bop and jump blues that Sal will discover in Los Angeles, I like to think he would relate to the lyrics:

I came here looking for something
I couldn't find anywhere else
Hey, I'm not trying to be nobody
Just want a chance to be myself

I've done a thousand miles of thumbin'
I've worn blisters on my heels
Trying to find me something better
On the streets of Bakersfield

You don't know me but you don't like me
You say you care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Have ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

Spent some time in San Francisco
Spent a night there in the can
They threw this drunk man in my jail cell
Took fifteen dollars from that man
Left him my watch and my old house key
Don't want folks thinkin' that I'd steal
Then I thanked him as I was leaving, and
I headed for the streets of Bakersfield

You don't know me but you don't like me
You say you care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Have ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

You don't know me but you don't like me
You say you care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Have ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

How many of you that sit and judge me
Have ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

The fact is, in California terms Bakersfield is kind of like the end of the world. It is a place, like Fresno, that has an undeserved reputation as being the least attractive place in California. However, Bakersfield has contributed an immense amount to American culture by inspiring the Bakersfield sound in country music. At its best, country music calls upon common themes of America which Jack Kerouac claims he is seeking in On the Road: hardship, hard work, the rural experience, pain and suffering followed by joy and redemption. The Bakersfield sound is exemplified in such iconic American artists such as Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.

Yes, I think Bakersfield was a perfect stop for Sal -- and as we'll see later, he makes a return trip. While this stop in Bakersfield is not the proverbial end of the road for Sal at this point in time, it does serve as a gateway to the end of his trip later. Fortunately, he has more adventures ahead!

If you want to know more about Bakersfield

Bakersfield Californian
Bakersfield Convention and Visitor's Bureau
California State University at Bakersfield
City of Bakersfield
Wikipedia: Bakersfield

Wikipedia: Bakersfield sound
Wikipedia: Buck Owens
Wikipedia: Merle Haggard

Next up: South Main Street, Los Angeles, California