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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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BarstowCA

Day 21 – Rt 66 trip

I’m a lady that requires regular potty stops. Some travel companions would become impatient with me, but not my Bob. I only have to ask, and he stops even if it’s only been half an hour since we finished breakfast. He never tells me to limit my coffee and sometimes before we find a suitable place I feel like the lady below. I’d never seen a sign like this so had to share. Some of you might be thinking,,,TMI. Sorry. I thought it was fun.

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While at this pit stop we watched a young man get out of a vehicle and drop an empty water bottle on the ground. I wish I had had the nerve to go pick it up, hand it to him and say, “I think you dropped this.”  He went in the station/store too, and on the way out purposely stepped on the bottle and left it. That young man is not my kind of person and I’m glad we saw little of that attitude on our trip. Unfortunately that type of attitude was prevalent in Barstow and we were very glad to leave that town behind. Mind you that doesn’t apply to any hotel or restaurant patrons/workers we met.

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Leaving Barstow we saw more arid desert and mountains. It’s hard to accept California is the most populated state in the US when half of it looks like the above picture.

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Molly Brown’s had been recommended so that’s where we went for breakfast. The service was tops, Sharon told us we had an East Coast twang in our speech and I had yet another style of Huevos Rancheros. I sent the picture of the menu to my adult kids and my son wanted to know if anyone ever orders the Big Breakfast. We were told families do and then share. I wish we had seen that happen.

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We haven’t found any funny bathroom signs lately, the one above doesn’t count, so I decided to share the sign below. It’s a good way to live one’s life.

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Above is an example of “grass” in this region. It doesn’t exist. Many homes have just dirt, this place had what they refer to here as “crunchy” grass. I have to say I will enjoy seeing our green, full of weeds, lawn and maple trees when we get home. Below are two pictures from the “Bottle Ranch” we had also been told not to miss. I’m not sure what the date of 1883 refers to, but the sign proves we were on the road we wanted. The bottle displays were many, varied, and colorful. It appeared someone had made all the bottle trees by welding spokes on an iron pole. The welding was rough, but the job got done. I only noticed the quality because my father was a welder in his day.

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We continued on historic 66 through the mountains, again, on our way to San Bernardino. The silver ribbon through the center of the picture is the line of traffic. We learned later, most of them headed toward Los Angeles.

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We found this nice mural outside a Rt 66 museum on 5th in San Bernardino. The building housed the original McDonald’s opened in 1948. Today it belongs to a happy, singing on the street, African American gentleman that welcomed us with song and a big smile. Inside the take-out restaurant we entered the museum for free. I can’t say I’ve ever been greeted that way anyplace I’ve visited. We will talk about it for a long time. Of course when he saw our New York license plate, he assumed we were from New York City, but that’s common and we didn’t try to correct him.

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When we got back in the car we kissed our EZ 66 Guide good-bye and put it away. We left the route to go south to Palm Springs and left the traffic behind. We’ve driven in LA before, and have no desire to do it again, though we have family and friends there.

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The mountains are still present, but have a bit different look and feel. We once again found ourselves surrounded by windmills. These weren’t as big as the ones we saw in Oklahoma, but the number was comparable.

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And still the mountains prevail.

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Our GPS had the last laugh today when we got in to Palm Springs. It took us to the locked back gate of our hotel. We figured it out, eventually. We are among flowers, palm trees, and it appears a lot of shopping with few residents. There has to be houses away from the highways we can’t see.

After some decompression time, we jay-walked across the street to Shanghai Reds. Siri came through again. We had tasty fresh oysters as an appetizer and then a wonderful dinner served by Javier. I had cioppino, a seafood stew. We were told the seafood comes in fresh each day from Santa Monica. Then we stayed to listen to the blues band. We love an empty dance floor and one song was good for our old style of swing, that is ours alone, no lessons under our belts.  To get to dance under an open sky is a huge treat.  It’s a lot of fun, more so than dancing in the rain, which we have also done.

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The menu above; and our oysters below.

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My Cioppino; the fresh scallops were the best. I soaked up some of the broth with garlic bread.

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The blues band. Who knows what their name is, but we enjoyed their talents. And I don’t know the significance of the “Union Ice Company” either.

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We are officially off Rt 66, but our time in California is not done. I’ll be back tomorrow night.

Each night when I finish writing, Bob proof reads my work, and then I publish it for you to enjoy. Writing daily is one of the perks of this trip. If I’m smart I will continue to do it when I get home. If you know me, you know there is this long manuscript waiting for my attention once I get back to New York. Not the city, but over near Niagara Falls. When you are out of New York state, people assume you are from the city. We have given up and say Niagara Falls, because they know that is not near the city. It’s all a part of living in western New York State.

 

 

 

Day 20 – Rt 66 trip

    HAPPY    BIRTHDAY    BOB

Where do you take the Jewish kid for breakfast on his birthday? A bagel  shop of course. We checked out of the Mirage and wanted to get off “The Las Vegas Strip” for breakfast so we wouldn’t have trouble parking the car we had to give a few fingers for to get back from valet. Not complaining, we knew that going in, but jeeesh, expensive, like downtown Boston. When I spotted Einstein’s Bagels I knew that was the place. Of course I’m the one that had lox and Bob had an egg sandwich. I think it was the best bagel I have ever had, mostly because it wasn’t hard to bite or chew. I liked the poster in the shop because it represents the many nationalities and different American ethnicities we have met along the road this month.

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On Rt. 15 South out of Vegas going to Barstow, CA, we saw another huge solar farm. The shiny part of the picture below that looks like a lake is really solar panels. This particular landscape is well suited for this because it isn’t good for anything else but some bugs and wildlife.  Yes, that is sand in the forefront of the picture as this is the Mojave Desert.

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I also found some cool cacti to photograph. You are probably wondering why so many pictures of the same landscape. Well, it’s because that is what we have seen for many days. And they call the mid-west, the fly-over states where there is nothing but fields.

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Below is also on Rt. 15. Changing elevation from 5000 feet above sea level to 2000 feet. That’s a big sand bowl in the distance (the grey sliver.) You can see the trucks climbing slowly toward us.

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Below; This looked like a big cat stretched out on someone’s lap. See the ears, back and curly tail. Who knows why that spot was sand and not rock, but it got my attention.

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The “rabbit” below was on our bed when we checked in to the hotel  in Barstow. We thought it a homey touch. There were also ear plugs by the clock-radio. Uh oh. We have heard one train, but we are used to them, so no big deal. I know these pictures aren’t very exciting, but that’s the kind of day it has been. We have done laundry and now are going out to have a nice meal for my honey’s birthday.

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So Google did us a favor, again. We asked what restaurants were near-by and picked the Idle Spurs for a nice dinner. The place is well known to the locals and travelers alike as it is just a few  minutes off Rt. 66. We had reservations but ate at the bar once we got to talking with Howard and his wife, and then Suzanne and her husband, Wayne. We realized when we got back to the room no one had made a comment about Bob’s mustache, very unusual. The parking lot had lots of cars when we pulled in and they were happy we gave up our table to eat at the bar. The welcoming card, and verse are below.

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The verse is especially true at this moment in our lives as the people we have met on this journey have  made it special for us. We will be talking about the individuals for a long time and realize we were probably just one of many in their lives.

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Rachel (below) made Bob’s night when she brought him a chocolate sundae with a candle in it for his birthday. And yes, Suzanne  insisted we sing. Rachel was an attentive server to us, and a good bartender as she listened to us talk but made sure her staff got the drinks they needed for their tables in quick order. She knew Suzanne well and we listened to their conversation as they listened to ours. We got good recommendations for restaurants for the next couple of days, and left the Idle Spurs knowing if we ever get to Barstow again, we have a friendly place to go. The decorations inside what used to be a house were from our era and fun to reminisce about. My prime rib and Bob’s London Broil were perfection.

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The birthday boy.

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