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Wheels Up on the West Coast

June 3, 2019
Mojave Desert
Silence in the Mojave Desert

Ready to board a cross-country flight back to Newark. Just a few notes from this most recent road trip:

Wow. The desert is quiet: I mean like, “this is the perfect sound studio” quiet. Turning off the road in the Mojave Desert, getting out of the car and just listening to the blanket of silence is pretty damn amazing. The Joshua trees, all majestic and craggy. The sky, a rich deep blue, dotted by cumulus clouds. A lizard looks back at us as if we’re uninvited guests in his living room and darts away. I think it was a good idea to drive from Las Vegas to San Francisco.

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park

That time Yosemite blew my mind: If you’ve never been or, like me, never really expected to want to go, you really need to think again. I now know why some people get all profound about nature. When you’re dwarfed by every tree around you and mountains seem to pop up from the ground at every turn, you can get very high. And you can realize how infinitesimal you are. Muir Woods, half an hour from downtown San Francisco. Why would you not ride your bike there every day? Redwoods that echo the centuries, outlasting dinosaurs, and, most probably, us. (Profound, I know.)

Redwoods in CA
Redwoods make you feel small.

I do not have a driver’s license, so I speak only as a passenger, but driving the country — crisscrossing Iowa three or four times and clocking 600 miles from Nevada to California — is something anyone running for president should do.

Being American really is a thing. We experienced the great panoply — from the Caucasianest rural Iowans to the most colorful people on the streets of the Mission District in SF. We do come at it from different angles but seeing us all in a compressed 13-day span actually gave me some hope that we can survive these most toxic of times. (Power to the people, man.)

Lastly, as probably the only press outlet dedicating this much time to one campaign, I can report with some certainty that — even with poll numbers still in single digits — this was a good two weeks for Booker. It started with good crowds in Iowa and ended with two speeches in San Francisco that resonated with important audiences. If media mentions mean anything, Booker for sure got his fair share. Now it’s on to the first debate and an opportunity to have a breakout moment. It’s only June but those early runs can pay big dividends in the late innings.

The senator’s in South Carolina and Iowa over the next two weeks. I'll rest up a bit, but I think I’m getting the hang of this. Back on the Booker Beat soon. — David Cruz

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