Passing exits signs for Banning and Cherry Valley brought memories of my Aunt Gaby, my mother's sister,and her husband Uncle John who lived in Cherry Valley and Uncle Amedee, her brother, and his wife Aunt Augustine who lived in Beaumont. We didn't see them often during my years there as our lives revolved around our children and Ken's mother in San Diego. Our lives had a regular schedule of one weekend in San Diego, one weekend camping, hiking or sightseeing, and two weekends doing household things.
Wiki photo of white pelicanI had decided that I wanted to see the Salton Sea. I had never gone further south inland than Indio and I was curious as to why people liked the Salton Sea so much. There were lots of birds there, and although I wanted to stop, the areas to turn out were closed. This was really off-season, so maybe there weren't enough people to warrant keeping them open, on the other hand it could have something to do with ecologic concerns. The sea is below sea level, quite saline and the home of white pelicans in addition to being on the Pacific Flyway for migrating birds. Lots of environmental issues around contamination due to agricultural use and water usage.
Izzie and I spent the night in Yuma, Arizona. I had never seen Yuma, nor driven east on I-8, so that was a new experience. I guess we could have gone on to Tucson that day, but I didn't want to be tempted to just drive through and not see the Saguaro. I was unaware that Yuma is such a big railroad town. The motel we stayed in was very dog friendly, the Oak Tree Inn. Many of the rooms are reserved for railroad people. I've stayed at Oak Tree in Elko, Nevada and Green River, Wyoming. Breakfast was at Penny's Diner next door. They give you a voucher and it buys a good meal. I sat at the counter and chatted with someone who works for the railroad. He had just come off an overnight run and was going to sleep after his breakfast. He asked where I was from and when I told him Maine, he said "that must be your van outside." People seem to find it odd that it's just me and Izzie.
While near Tucson, I saw a roadside sign, you know the kind that tells you who is paying for keeping the trash picked up along the roadside, that said Lazy K Bar Ranch. In high school one of my girlfriends would go to Arizona for spring break. Her father eventually ran that particular dude ranch and they moved to Tucson I think in our junior year. In Nashua they ran the Howard Johnson's so obviously they knew what they were about. My friend competed in barrel riding and I think became a nurse, but I lost track of her so I have no idea where she is now, but it's odd how a little sign can trigger memories. From Junior High on four of us would walk to and from school together. We'd all meet at one house and go on from there. In really bad weather someone's parent would drive us (not mine since we didn't have a car).