8 min read

A few weeks ago, my best friend tagged me in a post on Facebook to attend a junk show in Visalia, California for April 22. I had been whinging and whining at her for a few weeks that I needed a road trip to clear my head. Visalia’s less than six hours away from Vegas, so I figured I’d get out of my routine and go. I booked a cheap but decent room (less than $100) for one night, down the street from the show. I decided to leave the Saturday morning before.

Ma was overly protective towards me during this trip. It was seriously an overnight; I needed to get on the road. I figured out why road trips give me life which I didn’t really question until this trip, haha. I grew up in Modesto, which is less than two hours away from Visalia. There’s NOTHING there but orchards around you for miles. You HAVE to drive minimum two hours (one, if you’re a speed demon) to get to anything fun or with any sort of culture. So sitting in my car for hours on end? Used to it. Period. It’s what I’ve always known. I internalized it and it influences me creatively. I put on music, sing at the top of my lungs, and avoid CHP in both directions! I’m probably the only person who enjoys the journey more than the destination half the time. I love the wide, open road, seeing grain trains. I live my best life on the road. It’s probably why it influenced my MFA thesis so heavily.

But, I digress.

I stopped for a bathroom break and my anxiety went through the roof briefly, because some old lady parked next to me. First of all, there’s tons of spaces with lots of shade too. Nah, this old biddy ended up next to me. I mean, I know my car’s a babe, but really, c’mon, go away.

I stopped at the Tulare Historical Museum, and got acquainted with the history there. Tulare – the city – has a great history. They had a bond burning celebration. I think that was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen as part of the fabric of a museum. Overall, it very much reminded me of Modesto, and I know they’re close in geography, so they share that small-town attribute, but still. It was genuinely fun. So roomy! Their museum took over an old high school, and I loved the way they used the space. I really enjoyed the war room. They had an entire room dedicated to every war up until Desert Storm. I was shocked they included the Spanish-American War! Very cool. I was the only person there, but maybe because it was close to quitting time? They also had a lovely art show in their back room. I bought a couple of books, because that’s what I do.

I got to the hotel in one piece, and I got an awesome room. They forgot to plug the fridge back in, which I assumed they needed to vacuum. I quickly discovered I hadn’t packed my charger like I told myself a million times. I even have a special wall charger that charges plugs and has USB ports. Left it in a drawer! I really wanted to slam my head into a wall. I told A – my BFF whom I came down for – that it’s been so long since I had taken a road trip, so this was my punishment for not having it.

After a shower and some relaxing, I went to Target to get a charger. I had the cord, cause I never leave home without that! Thank god for Target being the same everywhere. You know what the prices are going to be and you know you’re going to find it where it would be on the shelf at home. I ended up buying a Golden State Warriors shirt, whose material is kind of thick. Might be more suitable for winter.

Got lost on the way to Crawdaddy’s for dinner. Lots of one-way streets. I hate them, haha. Had a lovely Filet Mignon Rossini with steamed veggies and mashed potatoes. The quality of the food wasn’t that impressive but when you’ve been driving all day with no food, you enjoy what you order. Honestly, it’s been so long since I’ve treated myself to a solo dinner, so I savored it. I also packed away their beignets, which I realllly need to learn how to make because I could eat my weight in them.

Afterwards, I trucked across the street to the Regal to watch Pacific Rim: Uprising. It was a solid next step in the series, and I can’t wait to see where they take it, because they obviously left the door open to go deeper. The mango margarita hit me hard towards the end so my senses were amplified because of it. But I would’ve enjoyed it, regardless. The edge went away as the movie progressed so I was sober by the time I got back to the hotel.

Got a good night’s sleep, and I was up at my regular time: 5AM. Laid in bed for a bit. Couldn’t get a late checkout, so I was kinda mad about that. For two additional hours (which is all I needed) was equivalent to my one night stay. Yeah, nah. I started packing and then promptly forgot my charger and cord again. Which I didn’t realize until after second breakfast (more on that later).

The continental breakfast offerings were slim, which I was warned about in the reviews of the hotel. I had some yummy waffles, because you can’t fuck those up. It put something in my stomach, and it was free. I waited until the last minute to pack up the car and check out. I checked my bags a million times thinking I put the charger in a pocket that I normally wouldn’t have. That was my first mistake.

I got to the junk show, called Rusty Roots, and walked around a few times, waiting for A to arrive. She was also bringing me a cheesecake, yay! A lot of the stuff was super cute, but I didn’t see any wants OR needs. I ended up purchasing an embroidered California plate which is now on the wall in front of my desktop workstation at home. California will always be home, and I miss it very much. But it’s financially impossible to live there as a single person. So it’s a little slice of home for me.

A’s heart was not on her side, so she decided not to go to the show, even though she came all the way down to Visalia. We ended up at IHOP (the aforementioned second breakfast). Turns out IHOP was down the street from the hotel, not like I was even looking for it, so I went back to the hotel to see if they had found my charger and cord. They had already turned over the room, and thankfully, they put it aside for me, and the lady at the front desk remembered me. Whew.

The drive home was nice. 80 all the way past Tehachapi but after the state line, I tried to chill. It would be my dumb luck to get a speeding ticket, and it’s not like I had a reason! I like driving fast when there’s a wide open road in front of you, and there’s no weather holding you back. I stopped at Murray Family Farms for a bathroom break and to buy goodies. I brought back chile mango dried fruit thingies for my boyfriend, because I couldn’t get to a proper candy store for taffy like he asked. I scored a strawberry cake for my family. I probably should’ve put it in my cooler but I figured it would be okay because the trunk is air conditioned. The frosting melted, but it was so good.

Jack utterly lost his shit when I came back. Ma said he had posted up at the door since I left, waiting for me to come back. The front door is glass, and we have a privacy screen on it, but we left the bottom part uncovered a bit. Jack has a perfect view of the front walkway. I melted. I’m his pack leader, so I know what’s up haha.

I hung out with my boyfriend for a few hours, and we had dinner delivered from a cute little Italian place near the house. Since I had been Miss Piggy Junior all weekend, I only ordered a Caesar salad and mozzarella sticks. He got us a margherita pizza to share, plus fried ravioli. We had cheesecake and a chunk of the strawberry cake for dessert.

All in all, a good trip. I’m waiting for inspiration to strike but it was nice to get out of my comfort zone for a quick overnight trip. I really need to do it more often.

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