As lovely as Vegas is, and it is lovely, it looks more and more every day that I’ll be forced to move on. Now since I am a Midwest / East Coast girl, when it comes to picking a place to live, rather than just a vacation spot, it turns out I know very little about west coast cities.
That acknowledged, I got out my trusty, dusty, paper map of the United States of America. Yes, I have a GPS and yes I’m fairly up-to-speed with the latest technology and I love tech gadgets. I actually window shop at technology stores and sites as often as I can, just for fun. I may be the only woman I know who loves fashion but doesn’t like to window shop – fashion great, window shopping, not-so-much, it’s like a tease.
So, as I was saying, I got out my old paper map of the US-OF-A so I could properly see just where the heck I am in the world and where I might be able to get to from here (Vegas). (With very little money, I should note.)
Well, there’s Utah, an entire state I suddenly feel I don’t know nearly enough about to go venturing blindly into it. Then there’s Colorado, (I actually have friends there but it’s too far away and very hilly, oh and let us not forget,
That took me to Arizona (Phoenix), I have a friend there too, at least I think we’re still friends. What do you think? When someone sits you down to have “the talk”, fills you in on their itinerary for the next few months, sets the next date, but then … poof, nothing, gone in 60 seconds. Okay, well not really 60 but there was a vanishing act involved. So, I just moved on with life. Now we’ve had a couple of brief and friendly conversations since then but am I good for a favor? Who knows, but all things considered, it can’t hurt to ask.
However, showing up unannounced is really not the way to go in this case and all that jumps out at me about the Phoenix area is scorpions, yikes! But wait, we have those here too, don’t we. Okay, so I’ll try to find that old number, get on the web and look for a new number, make contact first.
Then there’s Texas, too far for my limited resources. Mexico? No.
California here I come?
Thirty minutes to the border then my choices feel limited, I can’t get very far north, so I go for the multi-choice route. This takes me through San Bernardino where I meet a politician who works for a bigwig politician, or so he said.
Anyway, we sat and had a nice little chat and I got a card, got some numbers, business and (anytime) personal but what do I know about San Bernardino, absolutely nothing. However, a strong contact could help to remedy that quickly, I suspect. It’s just that personal number, call anytime part that concerned me in this situation. Although, perhaps an innocent, generous, and genuine offer to assist, after all that is what politicians do, isn’t it? Did I mention Poof was a politician? Anyway, he really did seem very nice and sincere and I really did enjoy our chat and did consider contacting him to discuss more fully just how he might be able to assist me with a relocation to his area, but it just didn’t feel like the correct solution for me at this time. (I do know this for sure, when I ignore the little voice of reason, I tend to step wrong, maybe not in a huge way, but not in the ideal or optimum direction.)
There was also the little town of Baker and the City of Barstow where I met a very nice couple running a family business. Let me digress, just a little. Recalling funds are very low, I feel like I’m trying to force a miracle and that if I get lucky and end up with a job and a place to live out of this excursion, it would be the biggest story of my life (bigger than when I relocated myself and my infant son across a foreign country and then a year later back to a new and strange (to me, at least) part of this country, again with less funding than I would have liked but a fortune compared to this trip. However, that’s a story for another time.
So, I knew going in that there was no money for hotels and meals would be very light all the way. (Light meaning not very often and very inexpensive. Best laid plans. So eat cheaply and lightly (considered a bit of a health nut, no one really thinks I know how to do that). They’re wrong, but again, some other time.
While I might be able to cut some meals for a few days, I definitely must sleep and my plan included rest stops. However, California’s plan also included rest stops, it had closed all rest areas along my I-15 route. I learned of this late in the day at a Welcome Center in Barstow and with not much food or sleep behind me, I knew I had to do two things, find a bed and change my route! This will cost me some meals but it must be done. The first off-brand hotel I stopped at was well over $100 a night, ($170 I think it was) leave it to me.
It was very nicely explained to me that this hotel was most likely the least expensive of them all in the area. And you know, to my credit, I knew that when I chose it. I would really have liked staying there. But the clear truth of the matter, all I really wanted was a clean bed to pass out in for several hours and to get OFF the highway. So Sasha (my GPS system) and I sat and had a long heart to heart and what do you know, Motel 7, wait, is that a typo, shouldn’t that be Motel 6? Nope! Motel 7 it is.
So, on my way, just a few miles away, I’m starting to become concerned about where and what I was leading myself (well Sasha and I were leading me) into. Before I actually reached the Motel 7, I felt reasonably certain that the nightly rate would be within range. Now, in the name of honesty, this is what happened next.
I pulled up to this little wooden building sitting high off the ground at the edge of the sidewalk. It was dark, dank, gloomy…. (hey, I’m not a writer you guys, but you know that by now). Immediately to the left of the office, which appeared empty, was a small horseshoe of a lot with 6 to 8 doors and a few cars with their noses parked literally at their motel room doors. (It is in the wee hours now and no one is out, no street traffic, no business lights and the general area is rather desolate and rundown looking but desperate for sleep, I’m now in the little lot. The whole thing is maybe 5 to 6 cars deep and wide. I’m carrying my bike in a rack on my trunk so my view is slightly obscured by it but my car is also packed with what’s left of my belongings, (yet another story for a later date) thinking if this works out, I’ll just stay. So, I’m in the lot, thinking I really want to turn around and I do so. Now back at the mouth of the drive with the little office sitting high above me to my left, and still empty. As my fight or flight instincts debate with my need for sleep, I say to Sasha “Oh My God, the Bates Motel”. I’m half-joking with myself. Then suddenly this lady flies out the door, I think she knew I was seriously considering driving right out of the lot and I wasn’t entirely certain my reasonable self was going to be able to stop my “where is Norman Bates” hiding, I’m going to die here, self.
Anyway, she came and got me and I told her it was probably good that she had.
Well, once I got inside the little office things didn’t look so bad at all, she was there with her family and we chatted a bit. She and her husband, also very nice, own and run the motel, a family business, I love to see families running businesses. I could see some elder family members in a (living?) room behind her. Good for them. She shared some warm, kind words of wisdom and her husband directed me where to park and assured me that I could either leave my bike on the rack (where it would be safe) or take it in with me. Of course, although feeling 360 degrees better, I opted to take the bike in.
The room had a King sized bed (could have been a Queen, I was so tired, I fell in one spot and didn’t move all night), the sheets were clean and the comforter appeared clean. There was satellite TV, a refrigerator, soap, shampoo, clean towels, clean shower and commode, and a fresh paper shower mat. It was as clean and tidy as could be and not a hint of any creepy crawlers or funky smells, what more could you want for $35.00. Well, the truth, I was hoping for $30, but hey!
So, I apologize to my new friends, who showed me such kindness and compassion while I pre-judged, not them, but the Bates Motel quip was a little harsh. Okaaay, it was a lot harsh but in my defense, it was late, it was dark and I was sleepy and in a strange place. Everything looked so much better in the daylight, including the little town itself.
So if you find yourself in Barstow, CA and would like to save a little money, punch in Motel 7 on the GPS. I would stay again!
Since I had to get off I-15 if I wanted to sleep again, I decided to go on through to San Diego. I’ve been there before and always thought I might like living there. Maybe. First, I decided to try to catch up with a friend from junior high. We were besties way back when but then lost touch after high school. I knew that she had moved to another state but never knew until a few years ago that she had then moved again to California. I’m not a fan of dropping in on folks, although, I have had friends over the years who insist it is fine to do so and encourage it. Still, not my thing, from my up bringing, no doubt, so I toss it around and decide that I’m so close, an hour away, that I should drive through her town and try to find contact info when I get there. And, of course, take a look around, maybe it could be a good place to relocate to.
Well, I couldn’t recall her new last name, but I did find her brother in a neighboring town and while I couldn’t find a phone number, I could find an address for him and his wife’s name! Go Figure. So I did stop by and met his family and had a short visit. So Cool. Unfortunately, I had already passed my friend’s town a little while back and didn’t get to see her this trip. Maybe next time.
That’s how I saw Altadena, Pasadena and parts of LA.
The next morning I was in San Diego, then La Jolla. While looking for the library and an internet connection and other resources for this city, I happened on to Ocean Blvd and fell in love. I’m sure this is the bluest water I have ever seen. I wanted to just move into one of the properties sitting right there but, of course, that’s a vacation, not a living and then there is the expense of the San Diego area. It would normally take considerable advanced planning (I believe) to relocate there. To move with virtually no money and no interim place to live, well, I still don’t know how I’m going to make that happen ANYWHERE. What a pickle!
Lastly, I was able to take this little excursion because of the kindness and generosity of a friend. Although I wasn’t able to change my life course with this trip, I sure am warmed and grateful to a degree I am unable to express on this page by this act of kindness.
You know who you are. Forever. Thank you for trying.
I’m reminded of one of my favorite songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney but as sung by Joe Cocker. Titled: “With A Little Help From My Friends” still a great song.
“…Said I’m gonna get by with my friends, I tell ya, Gonna try with a little help from my friends…”
(hear the song & see cool pics from the 60’s here)
Thanks for reading ~ XXXX