California Back Roads is my eleventh book. I’ve taken about three-dozen essays, many from my regular column here on MercedCountyEvents.com, updated each with new information, added a few essays from other publications, and included some never-before-seen material to create this book.
The book starts with an explanation of the “where the palm meets the pine” phrase we often hear about Central California.
That seemed like a good phrase to use in the title and a good start to the book.
The places section includes stories about the All Souls celebration in Hornitos and the Port of Stockton.
The people section includes the story of Joe and his 1953 Chevy: a car he’s held on to since he drove it off the new car lot over sixty years ago.
The heroes section remembers the brave men who defended our nation in the military as well as the people who go above and beyond in their support of our armed forces.
The essays on golf include my farewell round of golf at Stevinson Ranch from a few years ago.
The music section features a popular piece I wrote last summer about the Central Valley’s connection to the legacy of Tony Bennett.
Every page in the book connects to California; most of the stories relate to my experiences here in Merced County.
There’s also something new to my writing- a collaboration with a writing partner.
My wife Vaune joined me for a children’s short story I have included in this collection. We present The Giant Bulldozer, inspired by the real thing at United Equipment in Turlock. Here’s a preview:
The next morning Kasper bid goodbye to Mommy and Daddy as they left for their vacation before they ate breakfast.
During breakfast Gram said, “Gramps has a surprise for you Kasper.”
“You do Gramps? What is it?”
Gramps laughed. “Have you ever seen a bulldozer as big as a house?”
“No. That sounds silly.”
“Well after breakfast we are going on a ride to see it.”
After breakfast was cleaned up, Gram strapped Kasper into the child seat in Gramps car. Then all three of them headed off to see the great big bulldozer.
They drove to a place called United Equipment Company where Gramps turned off the car, got out, and unlatched Kasper’s seat.
“Take my hand,” Gramps said. “Let’s go find that bulldozer.”
After a short walk through the parking lot, Kasper spied the giant bulldozer. His eyes grew large with wonder. His mouth opened wide. He was speechless.
“What do you think?” Gramps asked him.
“It’s as big as a house!” Kasper exclaimed.
Gram and Gramps laughed.
I hope you like this book. Thank you for taking the time to read the columns posted here on MercedCountyEvents.com.
My best wishes to your family and you in this holiday season and happy New Year in 2018.
Steve Newvine lives in Merced. California Back Roads is now available through this link: