We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.
First line of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson
PG, I never would have pegged you for a Hunter Thompson fan 🙂
In my youth, Paul. 🙂
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a hilarious book.
That’s one way to endure Barstow. I hate to admit that I live in the same county as that oven-roasted town, even if its almost 90 miles away. A decade ago, I had to visit there monthly to call on hardware stores. Lovely place, if you enjoy sand, scorching heat, and tumbleweeds.
Might make a good place for a writing retreat- no distractions and the weather extremes will keep you in your room with that AC blowing.
How close are you to Oildale, Eric?
Oildale, just outside of Bakersfield, is a weird place with a fascinating history. And not in a good way. But it made the perfect birthplace for my fictional series protagonist.
My wife gets angry with me every time we’re driving to SoCal or Vegas, and I divert us through Oildale.
She doesn’t see the value of writerly research. Or maybe she’s just worried we’ll get shot by meth dealers, punched out by a youth gang, or attacked by pit bulls.
They say the Kern River running through Oildale eats gangbangers. The only time the bodies turn up again is when searchers are busy looking for other bodies.
Not a very nice place…
I live south of Barstow and “down the hill” as the high desert dwellers say about all of us who don’t live up among the Joshua Trees, while Oildale is west and over the Tehachapi Mtns.
Your wife might be more supportive if you picked more glamorous cities for your protagonists. Might I suggest La Jolla or Laguna Beach? I’m sure then she won’t object to a research stop as much. 🙂
No doubt my wife would prefer La Jolla & Laguna Beach as research destinations. Don’t let her hear you say that 😉
But while quite lovely, those are awful tame places. It’s hard to imagine them giving rise to the kind of character, fictional or otherwise, that I needed my protagonist to be.
I have passed through Barstow many times and stopped every time. Nice folks there. Friendly.
You can’t stop there! It’s bat country!
“We can’t stop here, this is $CREATURE country!” was a pretty much constant refrain whenever we would see $CREATURE while going to lunch where I used to work.
I had never seen the movie, and didn’t understand why my colleagues often referred to me as “Doctor Gonzo.” When I finally found out I laughed and laughed and then had the name put on the company shirts whenever we got one. Never let it be said I can’t take a joke. 🙂
It’s either Barstow or Baker if you’re low on gas.
Don’t let their friendliness fool you. I hear they are cannibals. When they catch a straggler, they stake him out in the desert and then eat him once he’s nicely toasted by the sun.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. And self-publish.
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