Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Our California Adventure, Part 1

So, last October Ben and I took a trip to California.  It was a 31 hour drive. We drove to California to attend Phish Fest 8, in a town called Indio, about 80 miles South of Mexico. 

We left at about 7 pm, Wednesday night October 28th to start our adventure.  That night we drove until about 1:30 in the morning, about 2 hours past St. Louis. We passed the arch for the second time, and it's so much prettier at night then it is during the day.  The town looks a lot scummier in the dark though.  I'm convinced that aside from the arch, St. Louis is not as beautiful as people say it is. It's very industrial looking with a lot of old rickety roads and such.  It doesn't have a welcoming feeling to me.  It kind of reminds me of the strips of houses and stuff along the sides of the roads, right before you get into Chicago. Just run down and uninviting.

We finally stopped at a little hotel, that was being ran by an Indian family.  It was raining, and we had to talk to the woman through a peice of bullet proof glass (since it was after hours).  She spoke perfect English, but was pretending she didn't understand Ben as he was trying to bargain with her. We would only be staying roughly 5-6 hours, so she hesitantly knocked off 10 bucks, which was still a rip off. 

The next day it was still raining, and we continued our trip in Oklahoma.  Oklahoma is crap. 'Nuff said about Oklahoma.

We ventured onward into the panhandle of Texas where we came to a strip of restaurants designed specifically for travelers.  It was about 5 pm and about 18 degrees that day in the panhandle, and both of us were sporting hoodies and sandles. Ben had on shorts, I was wearing yoga pants. We must've looked like morons stumbling into that Cracker Barrel.  We passed a restaurant called The Big Texan, which we laughed at and drove by...the placed looked like a Vegas whore house...Our waitress came to our table and squalked, "Hey ya'll! My name is (Debbie?) what can I get ya'll to drink!?'  We told her. She came back with them, and then Ben asked her how long of a drive it was to New Mexico? She dumbly replied, "About 5 hours", and she left.  I suddenly had the strong urge of crapping myself, and Ben looked very upset.  We were at midpoint, and quickly regretting our decision to drive to California.  We started going over our options of finding the nearest airport and flying the rest of the way, but then what would we do with the car? So that was quickly forgotten.  We reluctantly choked down the rest of our food, since both of us felt pretty dissapointed and sick, and got back into the Jetta.  45 minutes later we were passing over the border of New Mexico.  We both immediately said to each other, "New Mexico!? What was that girl talking about?! IDIOT!" But we were so happy, we stopped at rest stop and nearly kissed the ground with elation.  There was just something about Texas that really depressed us. Plus, we passed our midway point. 
We were bashing on Texans for awhile, since that girl had obviously never been out side of the state, then it started to snow.  Not enough to cause any driving problems, but just enough to add something more the beautiful scenery. We were winding through mountains, and the snow was glittering like crystals on the walls of the mountains before they would melt away. We were mesmerized I think, because we didn't talk until we got to the hotel.

We slept great that night, and got up early Friday morning and had some hotel bagels and OJ in the morning. I got to take a quick shower, and we got back into the car.  It was just peaking about 6:30 a.m., and the sun was just coming up over the mountains...once again, something indescribable.

This was probably the best time of the whole trip, mostly because we knew that afternoon we'd be to our destination and be drinking beers and lounging under palms. New Mexico went fairly quickly, and we then crossed the border into Arizona at about 9 am.  It had been snowing in Arizona obviously, because Ben was making snow balls, once again, in our shorts and sandals.

For those of you who have ever been to this welcome center...are these not the weirdest stalls ever?  The doors are only about 4 feet long, if you stand up, you can easily see into the stall next to you. It's quite strange.  I managed to get in there and get my business done before a slap happy group of doily-lovin' old geriatrics came walkering in there with their fanny packs and neon visors.  They were whoopin and laughing like it was Bingo night at the Atrium. As I was walking out, a tour bus full of kids went tearing off into the direction of the bathrooms as well, so I dodged a bullet.  I just imagined all those little girls playing peek-a-boo under the stall doors with those poor old women. Probably gave them heart attacks, or at most, bowel movements.

And that is where I leave you today, tune in tomorrow where I will be posting the rest of our trip, and of course, more pictures.

PS: About 3 months later, we were watching the Travel Channel, and not only was the Big Texan voted number 16 out of 101 best restaurants in America, but Adam Richman from Man vs. Food was there doing the 72 oz steak challenge.  Yeah--we were kicking ourselves in the ass...

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