The sun can do the job in the day time, but the moon ain't quite bright enough.
You'll attract more bees with honey, and you'll sell more beers with neon.
Neon is what drew me in to the watering holes of Bakersfield the past two nights.
Bakersfield is home to all kinds of neon signs. In a world where these signs are fading into history, to be replaced by LEDs, I give extra appreciation for their not so subtle contrast to the setting sun.
Bakersfield is also home to some great dive bars, great food, and great people.
On Wednesday night I had dinner at a carribean themed restaurant named Mama Roomba's (ironically owned and cheffed by Mexican men). They did not have a neon sign. What they did have is food that knocked my socks off.
I was lucky enough to sit next to this young couple beaming with positive energy. I ordered the tri tip and sweet potatoes fries paired with habanero ketchup (insanely good). The couple, Tyler and Jen, were singing the highest praises of the menu and let me sample their prawn and salmon plates as well.
At the end of the night they picked up my entire tab and went on their way. I had a blast sharing dinner with them.
After Mama Roomba's I was digging the sounds of Vince Galindo at Sandrini's. By God, like the sign said, he plays real country music, probably better than the original artists in some cases. There's a 100% chance I'll be back if I find myself in Bakersfield on a Wednesday night.
On Thursday night I was minding my own business at Bootleggers when Lenny walked in (great restaurant by the way). I was actually in the middle of writing this very blog post that needed to get pushed back a day.
The blog post needed to get pushed back because I couldn't keep up with the margaritas Lenny was throwing my way.
Lenny is from Hawaii of all places. He's on the main land this week to take his son to a skateboarding camp in Tehachapi.
He's a second generation bakery owner with a lot of life left in his smile. I had a blast sharing drinks with him for a few hours. The commercials he showed me for his bakery were great. Definitely stop in at Leonard's for a malasada the next time you're in Honolulu. I know I will.
Neon comes with a price though, and I'm not talking electricity, or environmental reform.
There's a thin thin line I almost crossed on the bus ride out of Bakersfield. I'm talking about a hangover that nearly compelled me to pull the "stop bus" cord in the middle of a nowhere canyon.
This ride back to the trail was so rough I'd swear Mad Max was on board. I stepped off that bus without even uttering a word to person blocking my way. The thought of speaking required too much energy.
PCT Mile 652.