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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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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 13 – Rt. 66 trip

The last picture I posted last night was of our new Irish acquaintances dancing. After the musicians finished, four of them and we went to dinner, at different tables, in the hotel dining room. The restaurant called, Peace, Love and Avacado, had a full, interesting menu. What I didn’t take a picture of was my southwest chicken salad. Some of you are telling us we will have to diet when we get home and some are even claiming we are making you gain weight. I want you to know that when we aren’t eating we are usually in the car, getting to another tourist stop, which I share with you, or another food stop. Today I took quite a few pictures from the car to prove we are doing something other than eating.

But first; our guide book let us down again. We went to the Rt. 66 Diner in Albuquerque only to find the open sign not turned on and the door being “guarded” by a very thin, seemingly old female that we guessed was a street person. On the loading dock next door there were two young men that also seemed to be street people. They had looks that said, you lock your car, we will still relieve it of its goods. I was glad the diner wasn’t open. We asked Siri where to eat and she sent us to The Shop. We had to order our food at the counter, and for the second time on our trip I was told, “We don’t serve decaf.” Bob got a burrito that was huge because it was filled with potatoes and I got my “usual,” Huevos Rancheros. As usual it was different than any I have had, but delicious. I ate most of it.

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Our next stop was at a very nice quilt shop in Corrales, NM. I got more fabric for this trip’s memory quilt and Bob had a grand time chatting with the ladies. One of the fabrics has “cat”tus on it. Bob groaned. I bought it. We will be getting a new cat, or two, when we finish our travels.

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I haven’t found any good bathroom signs lately, so thought I would post this one for the ladies. Eleanor Roosevelt was a “tuned in” woman and the saying is too true.

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Leaving Corrales, I was able to get a picture of a typical adobe style house. All day I kept saying, “They are so small and they are all the same color.” Very few have an actual grass yard. It gives, go outside and play in the dirt, a whole new meaning.IMG_1247

The mountains off in the distance were beautiful. Most were so far away, they were lost in the haze, but this one was pretty close.

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We dove highway 25 North to Santa Fe. Again the speed limit was 75 mph. Places are  spread out, but still accessible.

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A first floor retail store and upper floor apartment in Santa Fe. The same color as everything else. Not to my liking.

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We found Marcy Street and discovered the town square of shops, street musicians, local jewelers trying to sell their creations and very interesting people to watch. Bob told me if I saw something I wanted in one of the stores to not hesitate. I decided the fur coat I loved in one of the shops, for $3,400.00 might make him have a heart attack, so I didn’t buy it. I did tell him about it, but he didn’t tell me to go back and get it.

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So many jewelers and musicians with Spanish or Native American backgrounds, and here is a blue eyed, blond, cellist. Bob listened to the chamber music he was playing while I drooled over the furs.

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A church. I know nothing more except it’s the same color as every other building.

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Leaving Santa Fe on highway 25 north. Some beautiful scenery.

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Another shot of scenery on 25 north.

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The small town of Pecos is also on 25. This is what I call a full service stop. Food, liquor, groceries, gas, and the necessary room. I didn’t see any ammunition, but it might have been there.

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We were getting short on time so we decided to take Rt 3 south to Rt 40 to get back to the hotel. Well, we had a beautiful, peaceful ride mostly by ourselves on a road through the mountains. The curves kept us at 30 mph for the first half of the route, so it was not a shortcut, but we didn’t mind. We crossed many “cattle or deer guards,” that were as rough as a bad train crossing. (Deer grates, mostly derived from the cattle guards long used on ranches, allow your driveway to stay open while keeping out the deer. They do this by placing a massive grate in the ground that deer generally will not or cannot cross.) We eventually ended up back on Rt. 40 so stopped at Clines Corners, a truck stop that touts it is the largest in New Mexico. We concur. I found some slippers I have been looking for and some good postcards.

The picture below of a turtle is especially for our friend Rhonda. It’s not as nice as the painted one we found. but it’s pretty unique.

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We hadn’t eaten since breakfast to we stopped in Moriarty because Siri told us this place was good. We can agree. The building is the same color, but the semi-like trailer next door where they do all the food preparation was shinny red and silver. Dinner, shown below, was excellent. We have enough left overs for a snack in the morning before we get on the road.

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My two sides are potato salad, which is like a lumpy mashed with seasonings and relish, and the other is a chopped coleslaw. It has seasonings I can’t decipher, but I enjoyed it. See, another vegetable. The corn bread was dry and crumbly, but yummy.

While at the Wild West, I had the chance to talk to a deputy. He said the bars on the windows and doors is “just a thing.” The crime in the local area is not all that bad.

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We ended our day in the hotel lounge with a couple of “toddies.”

Forest Bathing

Where do you go to find peace

I go to the woods

The city sounds are far away

There are no other voices

The rays of sun filter through the branches

Birds flit from tree to tree

Squirrels chase each other

And pussy willows are soft grey

The stream babbles slowly by

And if I sit still long enough

A deer stops by to drink

The rabbit outruns the fox

And the trillium bloom pure white

Leeks and fiddleheads can be had for lunch

If you know where to look

Spring in the forest

My favorite time of year

In response to Charli Mills April 19, 2018, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about forest bathing. You can use the Japanese term, Shinrin Yoku, or you can make up your own ideas about the phrase. Go where the prompt leads.

April 19: Flash Fiction Challenge

Dedicated to Dack S.

I’m looking forward to football season, or should I say the start of the games that get the teams into the playoffs.  I don’t pay much attention to the pre-season games because I’ve heard they don’t make any difference and I’m not quite ready to admit summer is almost over.  I’m a watch from home person; I can’t get into spending twelve hours in a day to watch a four hour game. (That includes drive-time, tailgate time, the game, getting out of the parking lot and then driving home.)

My step-son went to the University of Kentucky.  While visiting him one fall over ten years ago, I went to my first tailgating party.  I expected hamburgers, hots and potato chips.  Silly me.  UK is a HUGE football college.  There was a big surprise  for me when we got to the parking lot.  It was full of RV’s with room size rugs laid in front of them, canopy tents, lawn chairs, full size gas grills, and coolers, larger than I had ever seen, full of beer, wine and food.  We ate different types of salads, grilled pork loin, vegetables and dip, and no chips.  WOW!  I don’t remember anything about the game.  Like I said we were visiting, so I only went once.

I have some very close friends that are Buffalo Bill’s season ticket holders.  I’ve asked on more than one occasion how they can party in the parking lot, then sit through four hours of game in 30 degree weather.  The answer is, “We dress for it!”  Okay, that makes sense.  Then I ask, “Doesn’t it get old when your team is in a slump?”  You should see the looks I get.  The wife says to me, “Who cares if the team wins or looses.  We go to tailgate.  We’ve been parking in the same lot for years and have made all sorts of friends from all over the place.  It’s the only time we see them.”  Now that makes sense to me.  The wife posts very interesting recipes on Facebook that she will try for the next tailgate.  Then she posts pictures of the ‘gang’ having fun.  They wear lots of Bills gear and everyone is laughing or smiling.  When there is an away game, the ones that are from here gather in the same local bar to watch together.  I guess I’m a little jealous I don’t have a group of friends like that.

Unfortunately the husband passed away two years ago on September 11.  His tailgating friends didn’t even know he had gotten sick just after season’s end the year before so it was a sorrowful shock to them.  This is how they paid tribute to their friend that weekend.  This is the hill behind the parking lot.

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The good part is the wife and adult daughter have been able to keep their season tickets.  I’ve already started seeing new recipes for this season and the daughter has a steady boyfriend to enjoy the fun with.

I know it’s been two years since the Patriot Guard escorted my friend to his final resting place, but it feels like yesterday.   GO BILLS!

I sewed every one of those patches on Dack’s vest.  I knew his trip schedule as well as his wife.

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