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August 30, 2016

Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake

Every Monday, I fly across the desert and then, just before we get to Los Angeles, the desert does a funny thing. It disappears.
Suddenly, there are mountains and forrests and trails and that one enormous lake there.

Every time I see it, I snap a few photos, and I think, "that looks like a pretty cool place". This morning, I notice how the gnarly twisted road crawls up the mountain to the lake. Wicked switchbacks on a 2 lane black topped road. But where am I? Where does this road come out? and then suddenly, we're over the San Bernadino airport and now I know exactly where the road is and the lake is. But now, we're landing and then unloading and riding the KTM across the sidewalk and racing on Highway 60 east to work
and everything fades.

The memory fades and the lake disappears and suddenly, I'm in a room and we're on a call with a guy who just got off the phone
with the governor of California. And like...I don't even know who this guy is. I seriously don't.
He's rambling on and on and he just won't shut up. But no one says anything like, "Holy fuck dude...get to the point."

No one says that. Or anything remotely close to it. And now he's saying that he just got off the phone with the governor of
California and I'm thinking, "who the fuck is this guy" and "what am I doing here" and "I wonder if that chick is married."

This is sort of how my mind wanders.

Now, I shoudl mention here that we're in a warehouse in the middle of a desert. Just this soulless sort of desert on the eastern end of the
LA Basin and no one wanders here. There are no lost souls. THis is not where they end up.

The homeless people are all 60 miles west of here in Los Angeles proper, or Hollywood, Crenshaw, Watts...anyplace but here.
Not here. Not at all.

Too hot, dry,

The guy on the phone won't shut his fucking mouth and, quite honestly, I don't give a shit if he did just get off the phone with the governor. I mean....he's been talking for 90 minutes straight at this point. No one interruprts. Or comments. Or anything really. I wonder if the governor wanted to kill himself also?

Everyone is just typing away on their laptops, ignoring the shit out of whatever the fuck is being said by the invisible man in the speakerphone.

Now, he's talking about Merced and I'm thinking...."the central valley? are you shitting me?" Like, the Central Valley is on about par with
Detroit, IMHO. I'll never go back there. Not for hell or high water.

Stockton is where I learned to fear people on bicycles.

They say every city teaches you something, but the things I learned in Stockton and Detroit are not things I'm glad I learned. It erased my faith in humanity, the way one guts a fish.

He's talking about where we'll be with the project in 2018 and my eyes roll back in my head. Beam me up Scotty. No intelligent life forms down here.

FInally, the meeting is over and we all literally stand up and walk out of the conference room and no one says one single word. No joke. Just like zombie parade.

I feel like I've just been raped. Like a rape crime victim wandering around in the night.

I'm trying to rent a room from a couple that speaks no english and doesn't see the need to run the AC in August. But I text him, and they say the place has been rented already.

Back at my desk, I plot my escape. I'm going to check out that lake that I saw this morning. Big Bear Lake. I type Big Bear Lake, California into my GPS and it locks it in and I'm off.

About 20 minutes later, I'm climbing slowly out of the LA Basin into the San Bernadino Mountains on a 2 lane black topped road and I'm climbing, climbing...switching back sharply....1,000....2,000.....3,000....it starts to get cooler. There are trees now. ANd now I'm driving through a forest, 4,000 feet above sea level, watching the sun set. Wow. I really had no idea how high these mountains were. It's beautiful. Stunning. It's really funny because, I had no idea that Los Angeles was surrounded by all this beauty. I've been spending every night down in the LA Basin in this shitty little Motel 6 and now, I finally break out of my routine, and discover this beautiful mountain range, and I feel kinda silly for not realizing this was here sooner.

I reach the lake about sunset, and the road forks. One road goes to the North Shore and the town of Fawnskin. One road goes south to the town of Big Bear Lake. But I go North, on the road less traveled because, from the plane, that seemed like the place to be.

By now, I'm in a deep surreal forrest at 7,000 feet above sea level, and it's freezing cold.

By the time I get to Fawnskin, it's solidly dark. And I'm seeing Inns and Cabins, but no one is around to take my money. And now, I'm thinking...I don't have a place to stay tonight. I may as well spend the night up here. I don't normally drive at night, as it's just oo dangerous, and it's now solidly dark.

I decide to head to the southern shore of the lake, so I double back and roll into Big Bear Lake. Stop at the first place I come to and rent a cabin for the night.

I'm not sure what the traffic will be like in the morning, but I'm not driving back down the mountain in the dark. I stop into a Mexican restaurant for dinner and decide to call it a night.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 30, 2016 at 8:08 AM


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