Live From the Roach Motel

location: Burbank CA
time: jan 7, 2007 9:32pm
~~ lba ~~ -prev

Last night's sleep was lacking all the comforts of horizontal positioning. I slept in the passenger seat of Jamie's Honda Prelude. Not the most gratifyng of beds. Better than the train track rocks I slept on a few times in Newfoundland. But alot worse than the grass i should've slept on last night. See i got lazy and didn't want to get all my sleeping gear out of the trunk. Instead i put on all my sweaters and slept in the seat. It was Cold in Weed. Freezing in fact. Weed is pretty high-- elevation wise. It was below freezing when the sun set. There was snow on the ground. COLD.

I spent the first few hours of the night shifting in half sleep. I am pretty sure my body would've liked to be cold blooded, and able to shut itself off for a while. But I am a mammal and am cursed with needing to retain body heat. I caved half way through the night and busted out my sleeping bag. It was a shame. I was forced to tear apart my backpack in the middle of the night. Once I had the bag on me it was no big deal. Body heat was trapped by the duck feathers and kept my warm blood from cooling. I slept better after that. The non-horizontalness was a nusiance but it didn't really impeed the onset of sleepy-time.

We woke up at 8:00 am to fog. All the world was mist. So there wasn't much to see of the probably cool scenery. So I sauntered over to the informative plaques to read about what I should be seeing. The area around Weed is almost steppe like. There were a few gnarled trees. Not exactly steppe, but close enough.

We hit the road. In no time we descended enough to clear the fog and were exposed to the View of Mt. Shasta the giant. It is a former Volcanoe. The information I gleaned from the plaques told me it played a huge role in the terra-formation of the area. Spewing the earth's molten core all over the place as volcanoes do.

snow-capped and marvelous Mt. Shasta

We stopped in Weed for breakfast. I had some yoghurt, some water, and a cigarette. James opted for a sandwich from subway. I humoured the girl behind the counter with some inquiries about the name of the town. She had heard all the jokes. In fact one person was silly enough to think that Marijuana was legal there. Stupid tourists.

The scenery around the I-5 was gorgeous. There are snow covered pines this time of year, as well as pretty white mountains. The interstate kind of destroys some of the prettyness, I have to admit though, if it wasn't there, and if it was a little 2 lane highway, the journey would've taken for ever. The terrain is pretty slopey. Difficult for road builders. Unless you happen to be in a country that prides itself on massive highways.

Down the hill from the Weed there is a giant lake. I am in the belief that it has something to do with the valley that is down the road. As it was clear that it was a fluctuating resivoir. I have heard all about the water crisis here in California. Judging by the level of water that was missing from the lake i would have to agree that California is in some serious trouble. there was a 4:1 slope at the side of the lake that was devoid of trees. it was about, and this is just a guess, 20 feet long. Fairly indicative of low water levels. Worriesome indeed. Especially when you consider what that water feeds.

The Valley opens up pretty suddenly just before Redding. At least when you are travelling at 75 miles an hour. It starts off as ranch land. The smell of fart factories is the most noticable accents of the area. The i-5 flattens out considerably here.

As we headed out from Redding evidence of cash cropping replaces some of the ranchland. Somewhere around there is the Olive capitol of California. Olive trees are pretty. Today was the first view i have ever had of these arbours. They look ancient. The trunks are all full of folds and ripples, and the leaves remind me of willow leaves. There were other orchard as well. I am not sure as to what type of tree they were. I suspect that they were some type of nut tree, as they tend to loose their leaves in winter. All the orange trees we passed were fully leafed and mostly loaded with oranges.

Where ever there wasn't irrigation there was grassland. This was mostly designated for cattle, but there were patches which were definately wild. I saw my first true tumbling weed here. The Terrain was very similar to Osooyos BC. I believe that this area was formerly part of the Senora Desert. Before it was irrigated of course.

As we got closer to LA a cloud of smog became more and more apparent. The amount of cars on the highway increased as well. Slowly the horizons disappeared. the mountains obsceured by the haze of heavy Carbon. It made me wish i was walking through, and not contributing. There will be plenty of time for non-participation later though.

orchards and sunsets

We entered the pass out of the Valley just before dark. There was a light dusting of snow on the hills. There was heavy traffic. And the car part of the journey had almost come to an end. The pass itself was quite high. higher than i thought, 4000+ feet. the lights on the otherside were fairly bright. As dusk descended I was overcome by the feeling that I was entering a place where I am a nobody. Just another person.

I didn't really plan my depature from the security of the car and the fellow Canadian driver. Perhaps if i was a better planner and not a doer I would've anticipated this event. As I usally just flow with the sequence of events I got a little worried. Paranoia is a good thing though and i usually trust my gut. In the past I would've easily just gotten out of the Car at the off ramp and waved good-bye. However this time i felt that it was nescesary to get set up proper. My naivity of a big American city got the best of me and I got James to drop me off at a hotel.

We used his laptop to get the internet and found out where the hotels were. We stopped at the first one we found. They wanted $87 for the room. I hesitated and the clerk advised me of another place. It was called “Econo Inn.”

We found it. it was down the street in the Arts district called Noho. A roach motel. My initial Suburban reaction was that it was no place for me to spend the night. But my Dutch nature told me that it was $30 cheaper. I went with it. The clerk was a bit sketched out by my BC ID, and wanted $60 initially, after humming and hawing He said he would give me $5 dollars back when i returned my key.

Here I will sleep. On a bed that i wouldn't trust to an enemy. I have my scummy sleeping bag though so won't be touching the disease ridden sheets. I haven't had any troubles so far. with any luck i will be safe here all night. If my paranoia gets the best of me then i might barricade the door. I think its safe though. Its better than the alternative of sleeping in park. That would be a horrible idea. I probably wouldn't sleep if i did that. I may be crazy enough to walk 1200 miles but i am not stupid.

James on the left, and me
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