Jan. 22, 2011
I awoke the next morning completely rested. I had spent the evening in the hot tub, then walked next door to an awesome hamburger place and had a hamburger and french fries for dinner. I had worked out in the fitness center, and had the whole place to myself. The equipment seemed brand new, unused, and was perfectly suited for women and men. Often, fitness equipment is too big and bulky for smaller women.
Reluctantly, I checked out and went up the street to a restaurant for lunch. I was finally eating real food regularly again. It was a country buffet type restaurant and the waitress called me “My darlin’,” which made me feel so good. Although I was holding up well, this had been in some ways, a long, lonesome, and grueling trip at the end of a 14 year relationship. Her flippant use of that term of endearment for a total stranger almost made me cry. I left her a $5 tip on an $11 lunch.
Before I left I went into the adjoining truck stop and bought my first California souvenirs. I have gained a great respect for truck stops, having frequented a few on this trip and found them very accomadating. The most important thing on the road is finding a place to pee and finding a place to eat: truck stops are perfect for this. So I bought a decal for my car that said “CA – California”; I wanted something to show that I belonged here. I also bought a shot glass that said “Route 66.” Just for good measure!
San Diego was only 170 miles away, which after my 400+ mile days seemed like nothing. From Barstow, I could see a faint mountain range in the distance, which turned out to be the San Bernardino mountains. The closer I got, the larger they loomed, until suddenly I was directly in these mythical mountains, my heart stopping as I tried to drive and look at the same time. It wasn’t so easy now. I was moving from rural to urban territory. For 1,000 miles I had hardly seen another car on the road but now I was in real traffic, stop and go. Not long after passing through the San Bernardino mountains, I began to see strip malls on either side of the Interstate. Yes, I was back in civilization. It was a little sad.
There was traffic all the way from Barstow to San Diego. Fast drivers, no rest stops, and lots of cars. Driving was more demanding now but I was in San Diego before I knew it. It’s very easy to get around. I use my GPS to find a Jiffy Lube and get my oil changed; I have put 2500 miles on my car and it deserves a break. Then I am on to my friends Craig and Steve’s house, in San Diego.
Their house is lovely, exactly the kind of house I would have loved to build with my ex if she ever would have listened to me. Craig and Steve are two gay men from Atlanta who knew my ex and I well. Steve is a retired psychotherapist and they are wonderful sympathetic hosts and listeners, just like I knew they would be. It is so good to have someone to talk to who understands the situation and can be objective. This is the main reason I have detoured to southern California—to see them and talk about the end of my relationship.