So, I’m here in San Bernardino.
Yesterday was not a happy stress-free time. I faxed my required papers to the birth certificate company, then called them a couple hours later on my way out. “Oh, we don’t see those here,” they said. “Could you resend them?”
So I resent them, from Kinko’s, and called again. “We’ll send you an e-mail confirmation,” the different person I talked to this time said, rather brusquely. So I drove on down the highway, waiting for that e-mail to come to my phone (the address I gave them). Nothing, and nothing, and nothing. At quarter-past four I called them and their offices were closed.
This morning at the hotel I called them when I woke up, quarter-past seven here, and got, “We were having problems with our fax machine yesterday and your driver’s license copy is messed up. Could you resend it? Here’s a private fax line to send it to.” Thanks for the e-mail confirmation, ****ers. I sent it again, from the hotel. (Cheaper than Kinko’s.) And called again. And got told it was there, and yes, they had everything they needed now, and yes, they’d be sending e-mail.
The drive itself was nice, if uneventful. This is actually the first time I’ve taken I-5 all the way down the central valley; I stopped at Harris Ranch for lunch, which is just about the only non-chain place off the interstate for the whole length of the trip. When I hit the outskirts of the LA area, I cut east along I-210 through Pasadena.
I’d intended to go to dinner at a place in town called Rosa Maria’s, which is evidently a really famous Mexican dive. (Sort of like Domingo’s in Boron, which tugrik and revar keep telling me about.) But I biffed my way-finding roll, got lost, and ended up circling back to chain restaurants. To add insult to injury, I managed to pick the one brass and fern bar chain in the world that doesn’t have a full bar. Sigh. The food wasn’t bad, although like most chain restaurants of that class, it mostly made me think, “I bet I could do this better at home.”
“Why San Bernardino?” you might ask. Really, I don’t have a good reason. As near as I can tell, it’s famous mostly for being a Route 66 terminus. It’s not too far from Joshua Tree National Park, which is where I intend to go today, in just a few minutes. (Probably taking the remnants of Route 66 for the first part of the trip, at least.) The hotel has a free continental breakfast, which I think is still available—the typical “cereal and pastry bar” thing travelers’ hotels often have, although I’ve seen far worse than their version. This is apparently an old hotel that’s been renovated, so it’s not in the best part of town and the rooms are small, but they’re still nice rooms. And there’s free wireless. And the TV is a wall-mounted flatscreen HDTV with the best stereo I think I’ve heard from in-TV speakers.
I’m going to do my best not to think about what’s going on with the birth certificate. I’ll really try. If I don’t have e-mail waiting for me today, though, I get up very early and call one of their competitors, explain the situation, and keep calling until I find somebody who can guarantee having the thing in my hands by Saturday at the latest.
Now, it is time to go visit cacti.