I boarded the train in NYC on Tuesday November 12 for an adventure-a 3 day cross country train trip to California where I had a bunch of book signings, speaking engagements and radio interviews about my book, "Bruce Springsteen In Focus 1980-2012." It WAS an adventure. beautiful sunset along the Hudson River. the next morning, we arrived in Chicago where I had a 4 hour layover. I was very excited to see Chicago. I met up with an old college friend, Michael Nolan, and he gave me a great tour and history of Chicago. We went up in the Willis Tower and I joked that NYC still had the largest building in the USA. Chicago is everything I heard it was...I REALLY loved this city and will definitely come back. An old high school class mate (Ericka Beck) is there but I didn't have time to see her. 100 stories up, on glass, looking down. No fear. Snow in the heartland We boarded the train and it was onward to California-2 solid days on the train. there is a lot of nothing out there in the USA. We sometimes went hours without seeing a person, or animal. It made me glad that I was born where I was-on the East Coast, but it also made me think-we live so close to one another in NYC and why? New Mexico I met this WONDERFUL couple on the train. Bill and Dorothy got on the train in Syracuse, NY and were headed to San Diego like me. But, unlike me, they were then boarding a cruise ship to go to Hawaii to celebrate their 50th anniversary. It was so wonderful observing this couple and to see how in love they are. They are a retired teacher and counselor and made the trip so special. Gary was our conductor from Chicago to Alburqueque. He was so passionate about his job and the country and gave us history lessons and background every step of the way. I loved his stories and meeting him. I would take this route again just to have him as my conductor. I arrived in San Diego to FINALLY meet a woman photographer I have been talking with on the phone and online for 8 years..Jody Gomez. We have often joked that we are sisters from another mister because we think so much a like. At first, I was a little nervous because I was going to be staying at her house and what is we didn't click in person? Those fears left as soon as I saw her. I was as if I was seeing an old friend again. Jody and her boyfriend, CJ, are 2 of the most amazing people I have ever met. I loved spending time with them. San Diego was beautiful. I am not one to talk about the energy of a place, but the energy and vibe in San Diego is unlike any place else I have ever been. I now know why every single person I know who has been there-or lives there-LOVES it. off to my book signing in Encinatas, Calif. The area is full of transplanted East Coasters, and New Jerseyeans! I finally met Debbie Stone Elster, a photo woman and Springsteen fan, and Igor who used to own record stores in NYC and photographer Renay Johnson, and spent some quality time with my old high school friend Amy (Antler) Graham and her husband Brian, and in laws. Amy and Brian have 5 chickens and Brian made one of the most delicious meals-complete with salad from their garden and home made pasta. I boarded the train in Solana Beach for Ventura where I was meeting my friend Laura Luongo and would be speaking to the college students at Brooks Institute of Photography. En route, I met a very special person. Sometime, we meet someone and know instantly they will be in our lives. Avena Clarke is one of those people. We started talking and I found out she lives on an island in Spain and grew up in Connecticut. And..she is a great photographer! Speaking to the students at Brooks was a highlight. Brooks was the first photo school I wanted to go to but my mother said it was too far for me to go. Meeting the faculty students was great! This school is top notch and I hope to go back again some day. I met up with Bill Gemberling, husband of my good friend Joy and we drove back to the Pasedena area to their apt. Joy drove me to the studios of Adam Carolla where we met Lynette Carolla, host of the Carolla Digital show "For Crying Out Loud". She is FANTASTIC! We talked for over 2 hours! (good luck editing Lynette!) I felt as if I was catching up with an old friend-that's how warm and wonderful she is. I really want to go to a Springsteen show with this woman-she is a major fan I think it would be a ton of fun! ahh...my good friend, actor Brian Gaskill. I can't say enough about him. It was great seeing him and shooting him on the other coast. After 2 years of trying to introduce him to my old dear friend James Deely, they finally met and JD will have a song in Brian's next movie.
My book signing and presentation at the Larry Edmunds bookshop on Hollywood Blvd. was a blast. Jeff, who runs the store, is awesome, and so is the store. I can spend hours in this little gem of a store. The books...movies, music, photography-everything that is of interest to me. Seeing old friend such as JD and Matty Karas and Susan Goldman..it's been decades! actor Brian Gaskill on Hollywood Blvd.
The trip was also a great excuse to see some old friends and catch up. It's been over a decade since I went anywhere. With my mother being sick, I was always afraid to leave the area, scared something may happen. She was on my mind all the time and her death in March left a major void in my heart. I know she would have LOVED to have seen all this and gone along for the ride. It's been very touching to get emails and calls from people-strangers-saying what I wrote about her touched them too.
Thank you California for a very fun tour.