Monday, January 12, 2015

Ten Going South Travel Observations

This month, we're traveling to the farthest North, South, East and West churches we can find in California. Each week, in addition to church reports, we'll be reporting about our travels.

In the Bible, "South" is the region of heat, dryness and spices, but also carries some sense of protection (David hid on the south side of a stone when he was hiding from Saul) and delight (soft winds wafting sweet smells). The kingdom of Judea, which was (slightly) more faithful to God than the northern kingdom of Israel, was in the southern portion of the Promised Land. This week we aimed for the church furthest south in California.
1.)  Observation not for the faint of heart We stopped for lunch at Arby's, and I (Dean) wanted to bring my soda to the car. But I also needed to go to the rest room. Taking a drink into a truck stop rest room is a questionable action but... it gets worse. I rested the drink on the toilet paper dispenser. I was seated. The drink fell. It hit my knee. Diet Dr Pepper exploded all over my shirt. The vast majority the ice went in my shorts. I'll never know what people in the rest room thought about the guy laughing loudly in the stall.
2.) Many drive-ins in Southern California are now the homes of swap meets. But that doesn't mean you can't find entertainment there anymore. We drove by a marquee advertising "Blink 80 True," apparently a tribute band saluting Blink 182, scheduled to perform Saturday 12:00 - 5:00 pm. So while shopping for used back packs and Star Wars knick-knacks, you can listen to a band that could only get a gig at a swap meet to cover "Josie".

3.) Checked the drawers at the Best Western for a Gideon Bible but it was not to be found. Last month at the Marriott in Indiana there was a Gideon Bible along with a Book of Mormon. Last week at our hotel in Dorris there was no Gideon Bible. Might be a California trend. When the Hotel Healdsburg opened in 2001 the decision was made not to have Gideon Bibles but we kept some at the front desk, and I (Dean) was asked for a Bible once by someone reading I Corinthians 13 at a wedding.
4.) Driving through the Central Valley, you might notice one or two or three dozen signs protesting water policy. There's math on the signs ("Water = Jobs"), sports ("Fighting for Water") and, of course, politics. These signs probably were crucial in Barbara Boxer's choosing to not run again. Some of these signs have been up for a while, like the one that says, "2013 - 80% Water Reduction, 2014 - ?"
5.) May we just say that the world needs more quality Mexican food available 24 hours a day? 

6.) We found a classical station as we approached San Diego with the ads and commentary sometimes in English and sometimes in Spanish. As far as we could tell, one language or the other was used for each announcement rather than everything being announced in both languages. It seems XLNC1 transmits from Baja California for the enjoyment of the San Diego and Tijuana market. The musical selections were even more varied than the classical station we tend to listen to, and included the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" played baroque style.

7.) Both of us spent a number of childhood vacations in Southern California. The scenery has changed (a lot) since then. We were glad, though, that even through the misty rain and multiple hotels beside the freeway in Anaheim, it was still possible to see the Matterhorn at Disneyland from the freeway.

8.) We stopped at the Coalinga/Avenal rest stop on our way south and I (Mindy) was struck by the clean smell and park-like atmosphere. Turns out these rest stops (there's one on either side of the I-5) have 4.5 stars on Yelp. I hadn't realized one could review rest stops.

9.) It does rain in Southern California. We woke up Sunday morning to news reports of "It's rainy. Drive safely out there," but really, it was barely drizzling. After church, the clouds decided to get serious, and for the first several hours of the drive home, actual raindrops made taking photos through the car windows difficult. Nearer to home, we had fog on departure and arrival. All this made the surrounding hills, when we could see them, very green.

10.) It's a long way from our house to the southern border of California.

-- Dean and Mindy