Good Night America, How Are You, Day 8 — More Than One California

We’re traveling from L.A. to Seattle for the next two days. California will take most of today and Oregon and Washington will take up tomorrow. A whole day’s travel for just one state!

California is large enough that it would be 2/3 of the Eastern seaboard. When my wife first came to New England, I was able to show her all five New England states in less time than it took for her to get out of the state! Because of its size and diversity, I can’t imagine how any one person could govern here, but they do.

Still, it is a misnomer to say that there is one California or that there is a typical Californian. LA is not San Diego is not San Francisco, and none of them are Fresno (which is farms) or the Eureka (in the Redwood forest). Both sides of the train I’m on are different — ocean on one side and desert-farm-type things on the other.

You can ski here in some places and surf in others, go to the desert in others, live in the forest in yet another and be in the city somewhere else.

And for every change in geography, there’s a change in population make-up. Everybody’s here. People have come from the West and Pacific Islands. People have come from the South — Mexico and the Americas. People have come down from Canada. People have come, of course, cross-country from the East to make this place what it is –probably the most diverse state in America.

LA and San Francisco have artists of all stripes. Napa has grapes and winemaking. The coast has beach and the surfers that go with it . Inland, there are cattle farms. Further north, there are forests and the people who work there. Silicon Valley, just south of San Francisco, has engineers and computers.

Anything you want is somewhere in California, and you can see much of it from the train. I’m not exactly sure how, but it all works together for the most part. America needs California, if only to remember that.




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