- Where We Started: Barstow, Calif.
- Where We Ended: Barstow, Calif.
- Miles Driven: 9 (10,439 total).
- New States: None.
- States So Far: 19 (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California)
THE DAY'S HIGHLIGHTS
The day's highlights can be summed up by a few words. Sleep. Rest. Errands. Eating. Yes, Tuesday was an administrative day on the FHMA tour, so I'll be brief. Since I sent out a bunch of posts over the past few days to get caught up, I figure that won't be an issue.
We decided to lay low Tuesday for a few reasons. First, Joan and I realized on Monday how tired we really were. For me, the adrenaline of traveling from California to Texas to New York and back to California in two days had worn off, and I was just beat. Despite staying in the Orange County area, Joan had also had a busy weekend. Her efforts to prevent the dogs from humping and/or barking and then her adventure wandering miles away from the hotel without money or water had left her in need of one of her legendary naps. Second, the plan to drive into the desert on a day where the temperature was expected to hit 107 degrees in Death Valley seemed ill-advised. I like adventure, but that just seemed stupid. Third, a number of sundry tasks needed to get done, and full days of travel never seem to leave time for those.
So after sleeping in and laying around the hotel some, the humans voted unanimously to put ourselves in park for the day. Joan took care of some non-trip related work, took one of her I'm-in-a-coma naps and walked the dogs a bunch of times. I decided -- after looking in the mirror and realized I was starting to look like Epstein from "Welcome Back, Kotter" -- to get a haircut. I asked for a summer cut and they took just about all my hair off, but hey, it's 100 degrees out here, and anything that can make me cooler is fine by me. I then filled up the car, Windexed all the windows on the inside and outside, cleaned down the car's interior with anti-bacterial wipes and re-organized the back seat and trunk. Yes, exciting, I know.
The dogs also seemed to enjoy the day to chill. They were doubly lucky that our suite has two beds, which allowed us to turn one over completely to the canines.
A few quick answers to questions that have cropped in recent days:
From Josh Hatch: Jim, I think we need some details on the Cleveland Indians hat. Is it a secret message to your readers? Foresight into the Indians' ruination of the Yankees' opening day? Or simply a nod to this Tribe fan?
Jim responds: I wish I had a better answer, but I just liked the hat when I saw it at Jacobs Field when I was there on my annual baseball trip a few years back. I think it's safe to say that, as a longtime Jets and Mets fan, I have no foresight when it comes to sports teams. In fact, if I was you, I'd be horrified to see that I'd donned that hat. It can only mean bad luck for the Tribe. But, I will say, watching the Indians lay down 22 runs on the Yankees on the day I was in New York was awesome.
From Mark Potts: Fry bread, eh? OK, consider this an intervention: You've got to read this story by Malcolm Gladwell about French fries: http://www.gladwell.com/2001/2001_03_05_a_fries.htm. This piece is truly scarifying, and may (healthily) put you off French fries for some time. Indeed, when it originally ran in the New Yorker, I read it--I am not kidding about this--while eating a large order of fries at an In N Out in Los Angeles. Midway through the story, I pushed the remaining fries away from me. Key phrase: " 'What we have with the french fry,' Rozin writes, 'is a near perfect enactment of the enriching of a starch food with oil or fat.'" Food for thought, as they say. Or something like that!
Jim Responds: I read the article, and at the end, I thought, "Man, I wish I had some fries now." Honestly, I don't think anything could turn me off from fries, and I just kept coming back to this line: "But the contrast that deep-frying creates between its interior and its exterior--between the golden shell and the pillowy whiteness beneath--is what makes it so irresistible." Indeed.
- You'll read more about why we love our hotel so much later. But the main reason Joan loves it: They love her. On the first night here, she was stopped by the young man at the front desk, who complimented her on her outfit and the brands she was wearing. Joan, of course, returned to the room and tried to figure out how she could turn it into an insult: "I think he thinks I'm dressing too young for my age." Sigh. Anyway, I went out later to get some change for the soda machine, and the guy then stopped me, and said, "Your wife is the coolest. She's so nice, and dresses so cool." I reported this comment to Joan, so she's got a certain swagger now, since she knows she's got it going on.
- Random iPod shuffle song of the day: There was hardly any car time, so there's no shuffle song of the day today.
- Most-Played Albums: I listened to Radiohead's "Pablo Honey" and "In Rainbows" while I cleaned the car. As I mentioned Tuesday, I think "Pablo Honey" is tremendous, especially the latter half of the album. "In Rainbows" didn't hit me right off as a classic, but I usually need 4-5 listens before I really can decide if an album has won me over, so I'll give it a few more plays.
- Lunch: KFC, Barstow, Calif.: Joan was sure she'd seen a Quizno's upon our arrival into Barstow on Monday night, so she went to pick up some sandwiches while I was finishing the Day 46 update. But turns out there wasn't one real close, so she called me and laid out our options. I told her since she was the one who'd gotten in the car, she should pick what she wanted. She chose KFC. For the record, I had nothing to do with that choice, though I gladly chowed down one breast, mac and cheese, some mashed potatoes and one of their amazing biscuits. Jim Nutrition Rating: 1 star (out of 5). Restaurant Rating: 3 stars (out of 5, on the fast-food scale).
- Dinner: Chili's, Barstow, Calif.: The real news here isn't that we ate at another chain; it's that we decided to leave the dogs in the hotel room for the first time while we went out to eat. The hotel allowed us to do that, and for once, we both wanted to just sit and eat a leisurely meal. We even ate pretty well. I had a salad and grilled chicken, and Joan got a chicken Caesar salad. The only downside: We split chips and salsa, which I ordered on impulse. Everything was quite good, and an extra half-star for the server who kept bringing me refills of Diet Pepsi without even asking. We checked in at the front desk upon our return, and apparently, there was not a peep out of the dogs while we were gone. Or at least no one complained. Proud dog owners are we. Jim Nutrition Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5). Restaurant Rating: 4 stars (out of 5, on the fast-food scale).
- Comfort Suites Barstow, Barstow, Calif.: To be honest, we've loved this hotel and our room so much, it probably played some role in us doing nothing Tuesday. While we've generally avoided truly horrible hotel rooms, we have stayed in a lot of places in shady locations, in tiny rooms, in places with thin walls, etc. This place has been great on all fronts. And since it lies pretty much right between Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park, we're even going to sleep here for a third night. This will make it the third-longest stay at any hotel on the trip, behind the FireSky Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. and the Quality Inn in Anaheim, Calif. Joan also notes that it has the best-lit parking lot of any hotel we've stayed at. Hotel rating: 5 stars (out of 5).
COMMENT OF THE DAY
BONUS BEAGLE PHOTO