Wednesday, April 05, 2006

House of the Famous Pool

I've enjoyed criticizing Bill O'Reilly throughout my journey. When I visited my sister Mary, I learned that she works on his show when he's out on the West Coast. It sounds like he's as delightful in person as on camera. Here he's "sharing" his thoughts with Clint Eastwood.


I was up at 7:30. Did some laundry, then packed up my bags.

Janie and I met Corey at her old apartment. She had a rocking chair that Janie and Otto were going to store at their house. We loaded it into Janie's Ford "Expedition". I wondered why Corey was leaving this apartment? It is in a nicer, more established neighborhood, whereas her new one is adjacent to lands that will no doubt soon be developed. (That would drive me crazy, to live in a place where I watch the land around me be converted to new housing!) Left Las Vegas at 1:00 p.m.

My new front tire was about 7 pounds low on air. Gas stations here charge 75 cents to pump air! I had no quarters, so I kept driving. Tried another station in Jean. Same story. ("I refuse to pay for air!") Across the border, at a station in Baker, California, I saw a sign: state law requires that service stations provide customers air and water free of charge. (Bravo, California!)(Even though the pump says 75 cents, it can be turned on from inside by the attendant. You simply have to ask.)

Crossing the Mojave Desert today, I encountered some of the strongest winds of this entire journey. They were brutal! A storm front, moving in from the Pacific was flowing into the interior basins.

Pain in my upper back, at times excruciating. Knots.

My nephew Matt and I were to rendezvous in Victorville, east of Los Angeles. He and a buddy were snowboarding up in the Angeles National Forest. Just east of Victorville, I ran into a wall of rain. For a desert, this place was getting quite a drenching.

Using a coffee shop pay phone, I connected with Matt, but he was back at home in Temecula (near San Diego.) It was raining on the slopes, not snowing, he said. He invited me to come down there, but given the conditions, I was more interested in turning north, away from the weather (I thought.) Matt decided to meet me at my sister Mary's house in Glendale tonight.

Wild weather in Victorville! An opening in the clouds produced a brilliant rainbow against the black skies. But the clouds were turbulent and soon closed up. Skirted around the "backside of L.A." on Pearblossom Highway, a road the family always enjoyed for its "woop-de-doos". Today, though, I was more concerned about flash floods in the troughs.

100 years ago, a grid was laid out across the Mojave Desert, and numbered streets and avenues designated for a future city. Today, it's becoming reality, as unstoppable development spreads outward from Los Angeles. It hardly matters that it's desert. The water WILL be found. Now, throughout the West, farmers are struggling to hang on to their water rights in the face of this demand.

What are we thinking? When the farms are gone, where are we going to produce food? California (the last time I heard) supplies roughly 40% of the nation's produce. The battle for water is going on throughout the state. And cities are finding the money to entice farmers to give up their water. It's insane.

I was getting pretty cold, and had to stop near Lancaster to add another layer. The rain was now heavy. If I weren't on freeways, I wouldn't be traveling today. It would be simply too treacherous on secondary roads.

I was very happy to reach the refuge of Mary and Robert's house in Glendale. The house of the FAMOUS swimming pool, designed by Mary and Robert! It's the first time someone in our family has owned a swimming pool (besides one of those little plastic inflatable ones.) Long-time family friends Krissy and Ben joined us, and soon Matt arrived from Temecula, with his dog "Blue".

Since it was "Timmy's choice", we all went out to Jerry's Deli in Studio City. It has been remodeled recently. I kind of like the old look better. (The booth they had reserved for the cast of "Seinfeld" has long since been removed.) Once we were seated, Ben and Matt hijacked the remote control and turned the nearest TV to the L.A. hockey game. I ordered my usual: Caesar salad and a big bowl of mushroom barley soup.

This is the kind of place you're likely to see some celebrities, so there's always a competition to see who can be the first to spot one. None tonight. (Well, there were numerous call-outs, but each turned out to be an unsuspecting customer who didn't much resemble the celebrity named.)

Surprised to learn my sister and I have something in common: we both loved the movie Sideways! We stayed up and watched it again this evening.

Robert came home from his job at Fox Sports after midnight. We sat up talking past 4:00 a.m. It's not often there is a chance to talk one on one.

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