Column: How do you break in a new car? Road trip!

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Wednesday’s column is about my vacation, from which I returned Friday. (Unless you paid attention to my Twitter feed, you wouldn’t have known I was gone, as columns and blog posts kept appearing. Neat trick, eh?) I took a road trip up to the Bay Area and back along the coast. Really nice.

Above, the CDs I brought along, atop my California road atlas. Below are a few paragraphs I cut from the column, picking up right after I respond to my friend’s comment about mp3s. I chopped ‘em for space and maybe relevancy.

A few sights along the drive up:
• A shared sign for a new shopping center in Delano has space for logos of a dozen tenants. Only two slots were filled: McDonald’s and Walmart. Well, that covers the lowest common denominators.
• “It’s Happening in Soledad,” a billboard read. Next line: “Gateway to the Pinnacles.” This left me confused where “it” was really happening, Soledad or the Pinnacles.
• Rest stops are a true blessing to the weary traveler, and a couple of the ones on the 99 in Tulare County were especially clean and modern-looking. Nice job, Caltrans. My sole complaint: California maps on display at the rest stops tend to be about water use or Spanish missions and never pinpoint where you are. Is it a secret?
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Cleaning out the glovebox

glovebox

I keep a relatively neat car, I like to think, but you can’t have a car for 12 years without a few unnecessary items accumulating. I cleaned out my car recently, prior to selling it, and was surprised by some of what I found. This photograph presents a carefully curated selection.

Clockwise from lower left: a handwritten list of Chinese restaurants on a desk calendar page from 2007; a “gold card” of unclear benefit from the Grove when I bought a computer circa 2005; one of perhaps a dozen Wet-Naps, saved but never used; a 1994-copyright Auto Club guide to emergency services; a punch card for Burger Bar in Claremont, marked once only (I didn’t really care for the meal) and now even more useless because the restaurant closed probably three years ago; an ArcLight theater card a friend pressured me to sign up for and which I never remembered to carry; a Virgin Megastore “Virgin Important Person” card for a chain that closed in 2009; a Ben and Jerry’s “Mood Magic Card,” date and purpose unknown and never used; and a keychain that came with an “Office” DVD, a miniature stapler in a miniature Jell-O mold.

What’s in your glove compartment, or what have you found in the past with embarrassment?

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