Heading East across the Sierra Nevadas and into the Nevada desert, Cody tried to create a vision of what he expected in New York City. He knew nobody in New York, but he anticipated that it was the best place for him to make a name for himself as a musician and songwriter. There was no plan, per se; only an oblique sense of what he meant to do once he got there.
The first thing to do, of course, is to find a place to live. A cheap hotel at first, and then upgrade to a cheap apartment, or even a room with other musicians he hoped to meet in the city. He had plenty of cash, for now, but eventually he would need to get a steady supply of income, preferably from playing music, but he would try to break into the LSD trade if he needed to.
He would need to know the best clubs or coffeehouses for newcomers to showcase their nascent talents. Cody knows that he will visit the hallowed halls of CBGBs or The Bottom Line or even The Ritz, but it would take a lot of guts and talent to even deign to play there. No, the places for him to cut his teeth would have to be tiny cafes and uninhabited smoke-filled dive bars; maybe even street corners and subway stations. A solo singer-songwriter needs to build a following the hard way before he can play anywhere that would pay him in anything more than cheap beer or barely edible food.
But that is all way ahead of him now. Crossing California through Truckee into Nevada, and then traversing the Forty Mile Desert, Cody’s mind rambled in rhythm to the car’s engine, orchestrated by the hot wind blowing through his hair. Across Nevada’s deserts and canyons, the old Opel showed no signs of weakness, even if it ran a little slow, and it held steady against the warm temperatures of the day. Not yet comfortable enough to smoke a little weed while still essentially learning to drive, Cody decided that the next city with a motel would be the perfect place to stop, rest, and unwind. After eight hours of driving and only two bathroom breaks, Cody felt content with the day’s progress.
He found a motel in Elko, Nevada that promised cheap rates, and Cody decided that it was home for tonight. He unloaded his belongings from the car into the room, laid back on the bed, lit his pipe, and marveled at how he started the day with another epic fight with Big Francis, and was now more than four hundred miles away from all of that.
He was actually doing it; he was actually getting away and starting a new life. This dream was now real. Four hundred miles down, and only twenty-four hundred more to go. At this pace, it would take a full week to get to New York City, but he was content with how this first day went. The Opel was in fine form, and driving it was not nearly as hard as he imagined.
Stoned now, and gorged with gas station hotdogs and soda, the anger began to set in. He was pissed-off at Huey for chickening-out and staying behind; he was pissed-off at Big Francis for a lifetime of oppression; and he was feeling a little pissed-off at having to find his place in the world so far away from his California home.
A song was coming to him.
He picked-up his trusty old guitar and started playing a simple chord progression. After developing an accompanying melody, he added more, and the chord progression became more complex. Satisfied with the song’s structure, he began singing nonsense words to create a lyrical form. Soon, even the lyrics had a recognizable pattern that told the story of the last few days of his life.
I grew up in a part of this world
Where everyday life was getting hurt
I’ve been here, there, and everywhere
Trying to find just what I’m worth
I think about changing things
And I’m not saying I couldn’t
But if I could do it all over again
With pen in hand, Cody wrote as fast as he could, trying to keep up with the rapid pace of his lyrical mind. His first song in his new life—his first road song. He just knew there would be many more, and his previously sour mood returned to the happy optimism that got him to this motel room. Early the next morning, Cody set out again, heading East across the Pequop Mountains and the Toano Range in Eastern Nevada before crossing the border into Utah and the Great Salt Lake Desert.