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Day 30 - 22nd May - San Jose

James Dean Memorial Junction, Highway 46 and 41 Cholame
James Dean Memorial Junction

I thought it was a pretty good day today. Probably drove a bit far (just over 500 K’s) but we got to where we wanted to go and have a nice $58 Hilton Hotel just out of San Jose as our reward.

We started out in that place we ended up in last night.  Around 8:30am we headed north on I5 for a bit over 100 K’s before we turned left onto highway 46 at Lost Hills. The scenery is very rugged and quite pretty. 60 K’s along 46 we got to the intersection of highway 41. A famous location! It was here back in 1955 that James Dean crashed his Porsche Spyder and was killed.  See below for more details.

There are some, I know, who think that there are locations that Rayls and I visit that are a little strange. So just to reinforce that thought; James Dean is just a smidge before my time and I have never seen any of his movies, I know little about him, but I still wanted to see the crash location and who cares what others think!

We visited the intersection and then went around a kilometre up the road to visit the memorial outside the Jack Ranch Cafe. We stopped for breakfast and looked at the memorabilia around this real old time cafe. It oozes James Dean and it was an enjoyable stop.

The really weird thing is that just as we arrived a couple on a Harley Davidson turned up for brekkie as well. They were probably in their 30’s and in leathers. After ordering their food the lady had a look around and then came back and said to her partner that she wondered why there was so much James Dean stuff about. The guy, who had just parked his bike 10 metres from the memorial said he wasn’t sure but that Dean was killed when he wrapped his car around lamp post just outside of Palm Springs. Idiot, Palm Springs is around 400 miles away, the accident scene which did not involve a lamp post, was just half a mile away.

We were back on 46 at 11am and headed the short distance to the 101 where we turned north and headed for San Jose. I had done my homework and yes, I do know the way to San Jose.

Once again a very scenic drive – mountains nearby, farms of various produce and lots of vineyards. Traffic was very light and it was quite a pleasant drive.

We arrived around 2pm and checked out 3 quilt locations. Quilters Nest, OK store then to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, very disappointing, $8 to get in and Rayls was done in less than half an hour. Finally to Beverleys Fabrics and Crafts, Rayls was there a while and made numerous purchases.

We had a look downtown; I believe the Sharks are home tomorrow night trying to avoid a sweep. It was very quiet in town and we enjoyed our look around.

Then it was on to the hotel Scott booked for us. It is in Santa Clara and our hotel is right next door to the Yahoo head office. I even saw the head office of Ebay/Paypal. No big deal I know. iHop near to the hotel so we had dinner there.

Tomorrow we head on to Sacramento. We have done San Francisco twice before and only want to walk the Golden Gate Bridge again. Then on to Muir Woods National Monument to check out the redwoods.

Bonus at bed time, channel surfing and found AFL footy on ESPN2 - Hawthorn v Carlton, good to hear Denis Commetti's voice.

So the plan, which has been changed before and may be changed again, is to head for Lake Tahoe on Monday. Sadly the direct roads from Tahoe to Yosemite which are scheduled to be opened in late May are still closed. That means a long round trip to Yosemite if we want to go there still. Been there before and very beautiful. Then we have the decision as to how to get to Cedar City in Utah to visit Amy and Steve. Either a long driving day or a stop along the way. I suspect from previous experience we will do the long drive and be with Amy late Wednesday.

James Dean

James Dean

James Dean had major roles in only three movies East of Eden (1955) he played Caleb, the "bad" brother who couldn't force affection from his stiff-necked father. His true starring role, the one which fixed his image forever in American culture, was that of the brooding red-jacketed teenager Jim Stark in Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause (1955). George Stevens' filming of Edna Ferber's Giant (1956), in which he played the non-conforming cowhand Jett Rink who strikes it rich when he discovers oil, was just coming to a close when Dean, driving his Porsche Spyder race car, collided with another car while on the road near Cholame, California on September 30, 1955. He had received a speeding ticket just two hours before. James Dean was killed almost immediately from the impact from a broken neck. He was 24. His very brief career, violent death and highly publicized funeral transformed him into a cult object of apparently timeless fascination.16