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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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mountains

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.

 

 

 

My Home State

As a young Air Force wife in the ’70’s, the first general question I heard was, “Where are you from?” Of course I said New York. About 95% of the people I met thought I meant New York City. In other states, and in Europe, people didn’t seem to understand New York was a great big state. I finally started telling folks I was from Niagara Falls. They understood that was a long way away from NYC.  Continue reading “My Home State”

Let’s Go “Mudding”

Note: This is not a paid advertisement for Jeep. 

Have you ever been “mudding”? If you like communing with nature, driving (or riding) over rough trails, don’t  mind getting dirty, and have a sense of adventure, I recommend “mudding” in a 4 X 4. Yes, you need that four-wheel drive to get over or through some of the terrain in the mountains. Hills work if you don’t have mountains near by.

In my younger days, I lived in Tacoma, Washington. I worked mornings, so had the afternoons to drive up into the mountains, to downtown Seattle or to the coast.  All were just an hour away, in different directions. I had a Chevy-Luv pick-up myself and loved to drive the relatively flat, but steep, logging roads near Mt. Rainier. I would find a place to get my baby truck off the road, so a logging truck could get by if necessary, then just sit on my tailgate and let the wilderness view calm my inner self. Nothing like it.

Sometimes I went with a friend that had a larger pick-up. He knew where the trails were and he would drive carefully over tree roots, across small streams, and even over boulders. It was a very bumpy, but breathtakingly beautiful ride. I didn’t treat my truck like he did his, but then, he could fix his if something happened.

A new guy started working where I did that had a Jeep 4 X 4 . I wasn’t shy then, or afraid of much. I asked him if he went “mudding” and could I go too. He gave me an odd look, as he was quite a bit younger, but said, “Yeah. When do you want to go?” I don’t remember the timing, but I sure remember the experience. We went the day after a good rain, and instead of avoiding the water filled ruts on the logging roads, he drove straight into them, as fast as he dared. Then he looked for some rougher terrain to prove his jeep could make it through the mud without getting stuck. The thought process was like a child stomping in mud puddles to see how high the water will fly. And of course, the jeep was left dirty as a sign of a successful “mud run”. I must say, it was exhilarating. I didn’t pay as much attention to the scenery, but I could describe the moment of fear when the windshield was blackened by dirty water and you couldn’t see where you were going for a second.

Currently my old back wouldn’t be able to handle the bumpiness of a good “mudding” day, but I sure have a wonderful memory of the time I got to do it. I highly recommend doing it at least once, in a Jeep 4 X 4 if possible.

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