We have all fallen off our bikes more than once. A very easy way to fall off the bike is to have to stop suddenly and not be able to get out of your cleats in time. It’s awful because you KNOW you are going to fall and that second and a half seems more like ten right before you go down to hit the pavement.
A stupider and less necessary way to fall is from moving unintentionally into the gravel shoulder while trying to get a good photo as riding.
I had a bruise or two from that and since the charge for the campground and the hotel with the big bathtub was almost the same we opted for the Thunderbird Hotel.
Sometimes we are just so hot and tired we can’t go even a step out of our way to get a good photo and that is why I don’t have one of the huge towering pink and blue and neon sign. Picture it as a cross between the “Ahwahnee” in Yosemite and “The Jetsons” old TV show.
The Native American imagery was present even if greatly faded on every turquoise door .
The sign on the office was a torn price of yellowed paper taped from the inside and it said, ” ring the bell and wait”. The word “wait” was underlined three times so we waited, but for long enough we couldn’t help ringing another time.
Finally a middle aged woman answers.She is India Indian with an accent. She gives us room 21 and tells us if we want to swim we need to see the manager who will be here later. She asks us where we are from and we tell her the San Francisco bay area. She says “ahh yes . The bridge. Golden gate. Me too. I went to high school in San Francisco.” I say where? She looks confused because she’s already told me where, San francisco. Then she says “and college too” and goes on about how very very important it is to go to college and that she went. Of course we are wondering why that was so important if this is where she is.
We don’t say that but instead we agree with her but what I am more interested in is getting ice for my bruised parts. There is a large ice machine by the wall.
“Oh yes, that. But it is not turned on.” She will turn it on and the manager will tell when there is ice.
I am good with that and Sa and I go to room 21 and then to the grocery store “Albertsons”. Mostly we live out of that store. Every day almost the same things: bagels, avocado, hummus, yogurt and grilled chicken breasts from the deli. This plus the occasional comfort food (Pepsi fountain soda and chocolate milk shakes) and power bars and nuts.
This time I also get Epsom salts for my bath!
When we get back, I go to the office and ring and WAIT. This time another Indian woman answers, apparently the other woman’s much older mother. She is wearing the same half plastic brown with a flower print apron that the other lady wore. I get the feeling that the rule is: if you are going to open the door, you are going to wear the apron.
This woman speaks not a word of English so I hold up my ice bucket and smile a lot. She smiles a lot back and shows me how to open the ice machine door. At first I am confused, the ice box is huge and I am not sure what to do; then I see in the corner a pile of little ice cubes so I gather them up, smile again and leave.
As I am waking down the outdoor corridor from 1 to 21 (there is only one other guest in a dusty orange low American sports car from the 90s), I encounter the manager who is clearly the older woman’s husband. He sees my ice bucket and asks me how I got ice in sort of a domineering way. He explains that HE is the ice man and He makes the ice and that he called our room repeatedly and there was no answer and maybe he should come in to fix the telephone. I explain we were at Albertson’s and he wants to know if we want to swim which by now we don’t. Then he asks if SHE told us about the air conditioning and I say no so he comes in and explains in detail how the blue button turns it on and the red button turns it off and he demonstrates this several times as well.
Next he explains in detail exactly where to leave the key when we go. He is clearly Papa or Grandpapa of the place and I have realized this and we have warmed up to each other. I thank him and tell him we will do it all right and are so happy to be there. To which he responds that he is so happy to have us. Our eyes meet definitely as he closes the door to our room and I realize he is Bengali.