Friday, September 28, 2012

The Bad Boys of Quartzsite

September 27, 2012

Kathy and i left the house at 4:15 in the Ford Flex. Wanted to get through the Beast before the rush hour. Made it through smooth and got out beyond Palo Verde where it was Truck City on I-10 but it was smooth sailing in the fast lane.

Even though we packed bananas and coffee so we could make time (we were looking at a nine hour run) I still wanted to stop at a cafe and have breakfast. i know this is slightly irritating to Kathy but it's hard to break road trip habits instilled in me by my father. Got to Quartzsite at dawn and pulled off, and cruised down the main drag looking for a good cafe. The Mexican food joint Dave Daiss and I stopped at on our way to the Golden Boots several years ago was all boarded up with a for sale sign on it. Turns out they aren't alone. Several other big truck stop style cafes had plywood on the windows, which is about the most depressing thing in the world for a road warrior to see.

As we drove down the empty street I mentioned to Kathy that Quartzsite has been having a nasty recall election. Something about a mayor and infighting. It made the Republic several times but I couldn't recall the details.

At the west end of town I spotted a big, lumbering building set back off the road and as we shot by I saw a neon "Open" sign and pulled a U-ee. Only one car in the big dirt parking lot and it was a clunker, or as we called them in the old days, decoy customers. Ha.

Went inside The Times Three Family Restaurant and sat at the counter with these four ne'er-do-wells:

That's Ted, from Tennessee, second from left, who, by the way, pronounces his first name with two syllables. The dialogue among the four, went something like this:

"I got to get under the sink and cut the drain pipe today."

"I'll be changing carbs on Chevys all week."

"You ready for winter?"

"Ready as i'll ever be."

When I asked them about the scandalous politics of the town, Dick (far left) pushed his chin up with an over yonder gesture and said, "I don't follow politics but those people over at that table do."

Well, lo and behold, at a table in the middle of the empty dining room was the recalled Mayor, Ed Foster, and one of his town council members Pat.

I liked Pat because she has a high IQ (check out what she's reading). Ed gave me the Cliff Notes version of the scandal: He has found Good Old Boy networks with guys getting paid for doing little work and the power structure wants him gone. They tried to recall him and when that failed they still won't allow him to be seated at the council. Nasty, petty stuff. Made me glad I'm not in politics. But it did make me glad we stopped for breakfast in Quartzsite.

Had the oatmeal and the waitress forgot my toast, but hey, you couldn't pay for the amount of entertainment i received for $17.23.

I told Kathy as we motored on down the road towards Blythe, California that THIS is what I love about road trips and when I can't do this kind of roadside exploring any more, turn off the damn machine.

"We will not save this town wihtout a fight."

—Ed Foster

 I can tell you this: We will not save this town without a fight. As Mayor, I thought it my duty to tell you, while there's yet time.

Semper Fi!

Mayor Ed Foster