I left St. George later than intended, but savoring the last days of hotel stays because holy shit money. On the other hand, I also knew I was driving five hours down boring as balls I-15 in California to meet up with my friend/Seattlehost in Banning – as I had promised when I left last month. I passed through Vegas…again then then made my way back into California – for the third time.
But first! I stopped in San Bernardino. Because, oddly I was early in my arrival – and also not since there is exactly nothing to see off the coast of California – and the Steelers playoff game was on. I haven’t seen any football and I miss it in a nostalgic sort of way. What I wasn’t expecting was becoming some sort of mini-celebrity simply because I am from Pittsburgh...in Cali.
I walked into Buffalo Wild Wings off of the highway and towards the bar. Another perk of solo travel is that it’s much, much easier to find a place to sit in a crowded place for one v. multiples. I nestled myself in between two middle aged men and quickly the bantered between themselves about if I was a Steelers fan or not, and if not perhaps I wouldn’t be allowed to sit there. Half in jest – but as a Steelers fan myself – probably half not in jest. Quickly they spotted my Steelers keychain on the bar and decided I was okay.
We started to chat. I explained that I was from Pittsburgh; showed my Pitt class ring and we watched the game. I had two glasses of cider and unfortunately watched the Broncos beat the Steelers. Afterwards, I schooled another middle-aged man about how not to be a sore winner – he apologized to the three of us. The gist: “We want to root for your team, but not if you’re being a dick about it.” “Sorry.” My new friend to the right left me his number and said that if I decided to settle in the area, to give him a call.
Then I was on my way to Banning. I was still a bit early so settled into a Starbucks down the road from my friend’s hotel to connect, have a coffee and write a little. Dave, my friend, showed up a bit later and we then went to dinner a Sizzler. Which, up until this point, I had always assumed was a fake establishment people made fun of on television. BUT IT’S NOT. It’s magical and an oasis for a vagabond.
If you from SW PA, think Hoss’s – on steroids. You order an entrée. And then there is a self-serve food bar. Unlike Hoss’s that offered a salad bar and self-serve soft serve, Sizzler has a fucking taco bar and pasta bar and salad bar and self-serve soft serve and desert part. HEAVEN. I wish I hadn’t shrunk my stomach startingin the Dakotas.
I ATE ALL OF THE FOOD. And asked for a box for my entrée. This would be dinner tomorrow.
After dinner we headed to Palm Springs. Out of curiosity and something to do. We went to a bar; we chatted and had a drink We walked around the ‘town.’ Palm Springs makes me think of those women that put on all of their costume jewelry, miss their actual lips when lining them, and have shirts that will blind you if the sun hits them the wrong way. It was a mix of tacky and over entitled. There was a man at the bar who clearly thought he was someone; he looked like and 80s has been.
Like that time I saw Eddie Money in concert at a rib fest in Pittsburgh and he mostly just talked about all of his stints in rehab – except not Eddie Money. He still wore a balls ton of eyeliner and bleached his hair. And maybe like he was the drummer, not the lead singer.
The following day, Dave and I woke up and drove up to Idyllwild. Which was like a 2.5 hour drive exactly north – and not like directionally north, like we’re driving into space north…because, technically it Is southeast. But I’m pretty sure we were halfway to the moon – and the temperature change proved this hypothesis.
Dave had heard of this place and wanted to go. I’m just along for the ride of whatever. Suffice to say we were both disappointed in the area, but the ride up was pretty. It was clearly a tourist town that wasn’t nearly as tourist nor town in the off season. Perhaps it’s poppin’ during Coachella. We had a way less than mediocre lunch that I’m still salty I spent $12 on and then back down the mountain. We had left my car in a strip mall parking lot; so we said our goodbyes there. Perhaps we’ll see each other again when I move to Bellingham,WA – it’s on my list. But that rain, man.
|the way back down|