I had planned a birthday beach getaway for Kathy's 70th birthday party way back in February. Now, after the pandemic and the fire, we debated whether to cancel, but a no refund on the beach rental ultimately tipped our decision in the direction of California.
Our First Pandemic Road Trip
We left at five in the morning and easily cruised through West Phoenix on the 303. I have not seen these levels of low traffic in perhaps twenty years. It was both a relief and a reminder of just how crowded the Valley has become. When we hooked up on the I-10 there was much more traffic but even there not as bad as pre-Covid-19. When we got into California we encountered a problem I never dreamed I would live to see.
We got gas in El Centro at a Standard Station ($3.50 for regular unleaded!) and when I went into the office to use the restroom, I was told that their bathroom was closed to customers. Kathy went next door for breakfast burritos and when she returned she told me their restrooms were closed as well. What the hell are we supposed to do? I suddenly felt like a homeless person.
When we asked the masked clerk where there was a bathroom we could use, he told us, "Maybe Home Depot." So we drove five blocks and found the Home Depot and ran into this.
Business Is Bad
With stops in Yuma, El Centro, El Cajon, La Mesa and finally, our destination in Mission Beach, it was really painful to see first hand just how bad all the business areas are suffering. Not a total surprise given all the bad news, but it's still shocking to see all the plywood.
Still, given California's rabid mask fever, social distancing and anti-urination measures, it is a little shocking to walk by a party on Mission Beach and see this.
One upside, at least for us, is the beach is pretty much deserted.
—The most misunderstood lyric in the history of Rock: Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising"