There were three things that served, perhaps unwillingly or unwittingly, as muses for this.
One was a specific person and my relationship with them.
One was my--please excuse this dash of pretension--fascination with the power that stories have, with the way that we are constantly revising our own memories and narratives in order to either categorize or make sense of them.
The other is Louis'.
Louis' is a diner on a hill in San Francisco. It got name-dropped in part 12 of the story, and it is indeed a real place. And astute readers (or those of you bored enough to re-read these little snippets) may recall the whole beginning of the story and what the nature of the journey is.
Yes, dear reader: Louis' is the place that made me believe in God. And, in a fittingly ironic cosmic gesture, where, contrary to my semi-Semitic ancestry, I enjoyed the greatest bacon I've ever consumed.
Unfortunately, Louis' is facing hard times and may not be with us much longer. Accordingly, if you feel so inclined, read their story and, if you'd like (and I'd like you to like), sign the petition to help them out. If only for my sake.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that it sounds like a (potentially final) pilgrimage is in order. Better start saving up my gas money.