Salinas Train Depot, Salinas, California. Waiting for the Amtrak bus, I satisfied my early morning caffeine craving at nearby Olivia’s Cafe—here’s Olivia and the morning crowd. I spoke Spanish with them, but the nice guy with the white shirt on the end wanted me to use his language, Italian, “Same thing” he said.
“Take It Easy” is the title of a song written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, and most famously recorded by the Eagles (with Frey singing lead vocals). It was the band’s first single, released on May 1, 1972. The lyric, “Well, I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” made the town still famous today. Well, if not famous, vaguely familiar in the recesses of our younger rock-n-roller minds!
Thursday, October 4, Donna Rankin Love, author of “Walking for Our Lives,” her friend, Jackie Smith—who was with Donna on the three 1986-88 peace walks—and I, boarded the Amtrak bus at 9:30 a.m. for a bus/rail journey to Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and on to our final destination, Winslow, AZ.
These photos encapsulate our journey—and the Eagles accompanied us all along the way.
- Donna and Jackie at our stop at McDonald’s in King City. View from my front seat on the bus, driving down Hwy 101 through the Salinas Valley, “Salad Capital of the World.” And there’s Donna, getting friendly with Kevin, another Amtrak passenger. Sorry—there’s Kevin, getting friendly with Donna!
“Well I’m a runnin’ down the road try’n to loosen my load
I’ve got seven women on my mind
Four that want to own me, two that want to stone me
One says she’s a friend of mine
- Santa Barbara Amtrak Station, and directly behind the station, the famous Moreton Ficus tree’s bubbling, fermenting fig fruit and gnarly roots (this gigantic tree sheltered hundreds of families during the Great Depression—my niece Kathy’s husband’s mother recalls seeking temporary living shelter under the tree after a 1929 disastrous earthquake). Here we board the Southwest Chief Superliner, overnight to Winslow. Our sleeping car was cozy, the showers spacious and with buckets of hot water. We made all our trip connections on time too.
Take it easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
- Donna and Jackie catching a trolley ride from tracks to lobby once we pulled into the downtown Los Angeles Union Station. On our return trip stopover, and just outside the terminal, we visited the colorful and lively Mexican shops on Olvera Street, the oldest street in California, and one block up, bought two fat, flavorful and tender french dipped pork sandwiches, at landmark Philippe’s restaurant, for lunch later. (Note the wood shavings strewn on the floor and what appears to be the morning’s gathering of elders, engaged in animated conversation)
Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand, and take it easy
- Twelve hours later, at 6:30 a.m. Friday morning, we shook ourselves awake, showered, and tumbled out with our luggage onto the platform of the Winslow train station, right on the doorstep of La Posada Hotel and Gardens. Built in 1929, it was the last of the Fred Harvey Hotels. Our host, Allan Affeldt, above, also on the Great Peace March, purchased the hotel in 1997 and is renovating it entirely. At right, two historic wooden doors Allan salvaged and restored for his entryway.
Well, I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
Such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl my Lord in a flat-bed Ford
Slowin’ down to take a look at me
- That’s me at Take It Easy Corner. (Can you hear the Eagles playing on my iPhone in the background?)
- Four of the dishes we enjoyed in the nationally-acclaimed Turquoise Room restaurant in La Posada. Left to right: The Signature Soup: Smooth black bean and cream of corn; The Corn Maiden’s Delight, poached eggs with spinach and served on a bed of polenta; Filet of Beef Tacos with beans and two salsas; and The Harvey Girls Famous Small and Thin Orange Pancakes “Crepes”. Waitresses wore Harvey Girl white pinafore uniforms.
Come on, baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me
We may lose and we may win, though we will never be here again
So open up I’m climbin’ in, so take it easy
- THE REAL REASON we’re takin’ it easy in Winslow, AZ: My friend and client, author Donna Rankin Love, at her book signing in the hotel ballroom, inspiring others to be peaceful and do good works. Right, co-owner Tina Mion’s murals appear throughout La Posada.
Well, I’m a runnin’ down the road tryin’ to loosen my load
Got a world of trouble on my mind
Lookin’ for a lover who won’t blow my cover, she’s so hard to find
- Walking tour of Winslow: Left to right: Halloween front yard bears, stray kitty on La Posada grounds, two bikers from a nearby town attending the 18th Annual Car Show; and the local high school bulldog mascot on another famous Winslow corner.
Take it easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy
- Saturday we rented our own wheels (Ford Taurus) with intentions to drive an hour and take a guided tour of Hopiland at The Four Corners. We went south instead of north! My fault entirely—I was driving, without a map and no iPhone GPS engaged; the sun was on my left and I reasoned we were heading north. Alas, it was morning. After too long, Jackie, whom I had strongly advised as we set out to not be a back seat driver, quietly and very sweetly suggested we just might be going the wrong way. I humbly and apologetically concurred. We stopped at a café in Strawberry to plot our new trip; checked out a local crafts and tractor show in Pine; and while in Sedona (another famous Arizona town you may have heard of) strolled and shopped Tlaquepaque, where we enjoyed a so-so Mexican dinner (we weren’t able to get into the highly recommended Elote Café) before our drive through Flagstaff on our way back to Winslow. Takin’ it easy, we stopped midway for ice cream and were happy with how our road trip actually turned out.
Come on baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me”
Do you also feel these song lyrics contain a very sweet, philosophical approach to life?
I would love it if you would leave a comment—and sign up to receive upcoming travelogues.
October 17–19 I’ve been invited to cover the annual Santa Barbara Epicure. Watch for my report.