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James R. Stout

Day 4 of My 2019 Big Adventure

            Day 4 of the adventure is nearly over, and I’m beat. In the past 4 days I’ve driven over 2100 miles. That includes some sightseeing along the way as well. But it’s been a great time. I do need a couple of days of keeping my feet up some as opposed to all the driving that I’ve been doing. It’s heck to get old and I’m not even all that old. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! I started out the day in Ridgecrest, California. I spent a great deal of the day on US395 in the Eastern Sierras. I drove on some excursions through a place known as The Alabama Hills. Movies such as “Bad Day at Black Rock” and “Joe Kidd” were filmed in the area. Speaking of Joe Kidd, I was on this dirt road there and I saw Clint Eastwood standing by the side of the road. I couldn’t resist the temptation to stop and say hello. He was very nice. He said that he was scouting the location to make a sequel to “Joe Kidd”, a movie that he made back in 1972. He said it will be called, “Joe Oldcodger”. He kept trying to clear his throat and I asked if he needed something to drink. He said he could sure use some cold water. So, I asked him if he would like for me to get him a bottle of cold water from the cooler I carry with me. He squinted at me and said, “Go ahead, make my day!” I hope you know I’m kidding. (Yes, pun intended)

            I’ve noticed that California has some strange customs and laws. For every mile on the highway there must have been 10 signs showing a person riding a bicycle and a caption that reads, “Share the Road”. They have these bike lanes on highways too. Now, I figure that they spent a lot of tax dollars adding those paved lanes and for the cost of the signs. But I didn’t see one doggone person on a bike anywhere. Another oddity is that stores and restaurants have big signs on them that say, “Only paying customers may use the restroom.” I bought a couple of rolls of Lifesavers today. The really amazing thing is they are letting people do their business in the streets in Los Angeles and San Francisco for free. I don’t know about some of these California ways. I do know that my cousin is normal. But she comes from excellent stock!

            There also seems to be a profusion of Subaru owners out here. They have bike racks on the roof, but apparently, they don’t ever ride them. I saw a couple of more Teslas today too. I can understand that out here given gas costs about $5 a gallon. Another thing I noticed was the difference in some of the big chain fast food joints. I seem to recall that the original reason for chain restaurants was so that a person could go into one anywhere there was one and get the food cooked the same way and tasting the same way. Not out here. I’m guessing there must be some laws that don’t allow them to put something or other in the food, so the chain has to make it different than say, in Texas. I would compare it to the difference between Coca Cola and RC Cola. RC Cola isn’t bad at all, but it’s not Coca Cola. I noticed this difference in a Jack-in-the-Box taco I bought on the go today. Just not quite the same.

            If my cousin that I’m about to spend several days with her and her husband reads this, then she’s going to probably be outdone with me over the next item. I pushed on today and I’m already in Sacramento. I’m not supposed to be here until tomorrow. But I didn’t want to impose on her for another night when she might not be ready for me yet. So, I pulled into Sacramento about 5 o’clock, just in time for their rush hour traffic, and found me a decent hotel for the night. This way I can sleep in tomorrow and won’t be beat when I first get to their house.

            That drive today was something else though. I went through some high mountain passes and the views were incredible. I wish they would spring for some guardrails though! They just have these puny little metal posts with a reflector on them. My Dodge Ram would plow through those and drop a thousand feet with ease if I wasn’t careful. And who would be nutty enough to drive those passes at night for the reflectors? Not I said the fly. Not me said the flea.

            All in all, the first four days of this adventure have been great. Terrific scenery and singing along with my mixes on my iPod. I got stuck on hits from 1968 today. “Get your motor running. Head out on the highway. Looking for adventure. In whatever comes MY way.” And with that song now stuck in your noggin’ I’ll bid you a good night.

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