into California. In restrospect, Vegas would have been the cheaper
option. Our first experience in California after crossing over from
Arizona was at the agricultural inspection station. If Tennesee is
wary of people saying "happy holidays," California is downright
paranoid about out-of-state flies. My recollection of the reason for
this is, some 30 or so years ago, there was an epidemic of alien
fruitflies that devastated California's crops. A law was passed
mandating these stations at all of the major border crossings and,
even though they've long outlived their usefulness, they're still
here--annoying and delaying all visitors to the state. OK, my
experience at these stops has been, when they ask you if you have any
fruits or vegetables, you say, "no" and they wave you through--advice
I gave Sedona (who was driving at the time), despite the fact we had a
cooler full of Georgian apples, pears, and one precious sharon fruit.
Well, as luck would have it, much like my "special security screening"
way back at the Medford airport, we were in for a vehicular strip
search. The woman working the station had Sedona pop the trunk and
open the u-haul and began going through the accumulated leaves on the
lip of the trunk with a pair of tweezers. When she was satisfied that
there weren't any nefarious insects lurking there, she popped the
question, "do you have any fruits or vegetables?" Sedona, apparently
rattled by the invasion of privacy, cracked faster than the spine of
an Arizona triceratops and blurted out, "we have a couple of apples."
I have to give her credit though, she sacrificed our apples but held
on to the rest of our produce. After the apples were confiscated and
we were back on the road, we laughed about the experience and
celebrated the martyrdom of those brave apples by eating pears and
tossing the cores out the window. We weren't laughing when we got to
Needles, CA however. Gas in Needles was upwards of $3.90/ gallon--
and I'm not kidding. Still blessed with a half a tank of gas, we
decided to gamble on finding cheaper gas at a truck stop on the way to
Barstow--we lost. Our last chance for gas ended up being at an out-of-
the-way place run by a surly ex-biker, where regular unleaded cost
$4.70/ gallon--let me repeat that--$4.70! We spent the night in
Barstow and were happy, as we drove out the next morning, to pay only $3.66.
Our experience in California so far has inspired me to come up with state mottos for all
of the states we've passed through on our journey (based, of course, on my very narrow interstate highway perspective). Here we go:
Georgia: Three Cops for Every Traffic Stop
Tennessee: Cold Beer, Fireworks, and Diesel.
Arkansas: God Loves Us Most
Oklahoma: What Happens in Oklahoma, Isn't Really Worth Mentioning.
Texas: Home of the Biggest Roadkill.
New Mexico: Whew! New Mexico.
Arizona: More T. Rex's Per Capita Than Any Other State - 40% Off.
and, of course,
California: The Fuck You State
More to come...