On the Road: Looking at America Through a Layer of Filth, Grime and Bug Guts

Driving to Los Angeles
If the drive to LA would have been lined with spectacular light displays like the Las Vegas strip, the rest of the trip would have been easy. Unfortunately, the land between Vegas and Los Angeles is mostly desert. I ended up behind the wheel of the car and as it worked out I remained at the helm for the rest of the journey. Staying awake was a very hard chore on this stretch of highway. Even signs along the road suggest sleep. There are all sorts of hotel signs, which isn't so odd. Those are easy to ignore. But there's one exit along the highway called Zzyzx Road. How can you look at that many Z's in one word and not get sleepy.

When we reached the Nevada/California border, we had to stop at an agriculture inspection station. It seems that California is too good for certain kinds of food, animals and house plants. The state agriculture officer at the check point asked if I had any fresh fruit or exotic pets. I hesitated and wondered if I should rat out the apples my sister-in-law Julie had given to me 7 states ago. I looked around and didn't see a patrol car and considered making a run for it. But in the interest of not being a fugitive, I told the guy about the apples. He thought about it for a moment and then said he better look at them just to make sure they were okay. The apples were in a bag, on the floor of the back seat. The back seat area was full of clothes and suitcases and various other things I was carrying across the country. After a few minutes of tunneling through the junk in the car, I found the fruit and showed them to the officer. He was nice and said thanks for my trouble and rubbed my head and tossed the apples back to me.

I couldn't help but let my mind wonder about the secret life of a California State fruit inspector. I wondered about what kinds of jokes he must endure from everyone driving across the border. I bet he's heard them all, like "I don't have any fruit, but this fella I'm driving with is a nut." I wondered how many times he had been slapped across the face after asking a female driver if he could check out her melons.

We got to Barstow, California around 8 am. We figured it was the last chance to get a bite to eat before the gravitational pull of Los Angeles started sucking us in. We had no idea of where to eat, but when we saw the sign for the "Bun Boy" restaurant, I knew exactly where we would park our buns for breakfast. The Bun Boy is your standard family style place, sort of like Denny's, but good. The place had these great coffee mugs with the Bun Boy mascot, the "Bun Boy", stamped on the side. I bought a couple of them for Wendell and myself.

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