Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Is it possible for an old coot like me to have firsts in his life? Apparently yes.

We left Santa Barbara just before 7am this morning. My first first. Being up so early on New Years Day. This was not planned at all, but was a set up for my second first. We drove through to LA and on to San Diego, on one of the world's busiest and most intricate freeway systems, and saw nary a car the whole morning. We made the trip in record time and were able to maintain the maximum speed limit the whole time. Well, almost. We had our first 'close call' on the 101 close to downtown LA. Hardly a car on the road and suddenly a car is coming at me at an oblique angle and a collision was imminent. I braked HARD and swerved to my right just as the Asian woman driver (sorry, but I call 'em like I see 'em) realised her mistake and swerved left. What an adrenaline rush!

We stopped just east of San Diego and another first. We stopped at a fast food place (Jack in the Box) (OK, I know. I guess I just wanted to see if they were still serving E coli there) for the first time on our trip. (Quick and cheap) So we drove into the paring lot and did not think for a minute that it was a bad end of town. Until we walked in and saw a few undesireables. But we see them at home all the time. We also saw a cop, armed and alert, at the counter. Good, I thought .... safe. I thought he was waiting for his order. Some more homeless, hungover, grubby, really bad looking people came in and we were getting nervous, but the cop was still there. We gulped down our food with one eye one the cop and one one our car, just outside the window.

The cop was not going away. This was good.

I got up and went over to him and introduced myself. I asked if he was 'staitioned' there. Turned out he was a really neat guy, just moved here from Hawaii (he was Hawaiian) and he was hanging out there on orders to clean up the worst neighbourhood in town. Drugs, prostitution, vagrancy, B & E's, and homelessness. So, another first, that of eating my lunch under the prtection of an armed guard. Too bad he couldn't protect us from the E coli.

Just kidding, we feel fine tonight. We just had a nice dinner here in Yuma after checking onto the Ramada. We had an hour walk today also, so are feeling good right now. Forecast for tomorrow is high of 19. Unseasonaly cool, the desk clerk said.

It was interesting driving here from San Diego. We saw a continual line of motorhomes pulling ATV's and dune buggies. Never seen so many in my life. The attraction was the sand dunes just west of Yuma. Incredible! There were still thousands parked in the desert, hundreds of buggies scooting around in the dunes as far as the eye could see, and yet more in Yuma shopping or gassing up for another round. Probably most of them were heading home after spending the weekend in the sand. It made Coos Bay on the Oregon Coast pale in comparison.

My last first will be tomorrow. I will sleep in for the first time on our trip. No place to go tomorrow. Except for the hot breakfast included in our hotel rate.


Rachel said...

I'm looking forward to seeing some photos to go along with all these firsts!!!

gftoews said...

So you ARE going to take a sand dune buggy ride, aren't you?

Kori said...

Make sure you go to an 'in n' out' burger on your trip :)