“I became a journalist via road trips. In the late 1980’s, my father and I took a series of drives on weekends, together in his beat-up brown Mercedes. I was young and curious; he was old and sick with the emphysema that would later kill him when I was in high school. We drove because he had things to show me, most of all the land surrounding the San Francisco Bay, where our family has lived since 1848. I was navigator, squinting over maps, fingering shorelines, and tracing roads. As I looked out the window, my dad told stories of what we saw.
Down that road, in the little town of Birds Landing, were the ruins of my great-great-grandfather’s store, which supplied gold-seeking forty-niners. (Now the building sits in the shadow of an industrial wind farm.) Up that hill, on Vallejo Street in San Francisco, was where my dad and his mother before him grew up. (My great-grandparents moved into the house after their original house was damaged in the 1906 earthquake.) Past that tollbooth—see it through the fog?—was the place where as teenagers, my dad and his best friend climbed up the base of the Golden Gate Bridge (or so they told us) while it was under construction.
It was on these trips that I first fell in love with a place and its people, and I understood that a landscape is made of stories over time, layer upon layer, like geologic strata.”
Photo by Krissy Clark