1. About Erik Schat's Pumpkin Pie
I LISTENED TO the country music station coming down the grade. It was all I could get. The weather said 150 mph gusts over the crest by midnight. My trailer was already blowing all over the road.
The music was a little too modern for my taste, a little too contemporary, but it wasn't bad. Better than I expected. The DJ did a thirty-second ad for Schat's Bakery's pumpkin pie where he tried to call the ex-mayor on the air. Because the ex-mayor, so he'd been told, was an excellent judge of pumpkin pie.
But the DJ called his own number, by accident it seemed, with the clock ticking, and his assistant—he said it was his assistant; or maybe he said secretary—answered instead of the ex-mayor. He asked if she had the ex-mayor's number. No, she said. No I don't. Then he got out the phone book (we could hear him chunking his way through the pages), found the man's number, mis-dialed it, got the recording, ran out of time... started in on the next piece of advertisement. That was about when I hit the Paiute Palace Casino.
*Note to self: try the pie on the way home.
2. Where to Stay in Ridgecrest (If You Have To)
The Best Western China Lake has tastefully updated rooms (with new carpets, nice sheets, flat-screen TV's and dependable wi-fi) for about $40 less than The (green shag and floral bedspread) Carriage Inn.
For dinner, serve yourself a chile relleno (or six) from the copious buffet at Casa Corona, 1030 N. Norma ($8, all you can consume). Lively atmosphere. Decent margaritas too.