A family emergency caused me to take a 5 week road trip recently. The destination was Southern California.

My dad (“The World’s Greatest Living Cubs Fan”) and I have talked about going to Mesa, Arizona for Cubs Spring Training. Since I was going to be passing right through Arizona on this trip, the only question was whether I would visit the Cubs Spring Training Camp on the way out, or on the way back, or both.

I left Chicago (following Route 66) in late February during a snow and ice and wind storm. In Springfield, Illinois, I noticed no more snow on the ground. In St. Louis I noticed the snow on the truck (on the mirrors, etc.) had all melted. Missouri was sunny with blue skies.

In Oklahoma City people were wearing shorts, and people were riding motorcycles. The turnpikes in Oklahoma are great, but there are no rest areas. I found one 7 miles before Texas, but it was a dump and the dog couldn’t walk with all the stickers on the ground.

I did stop at a beautiful, scenic rest area in Northern Arizona between Winslow & Winona.

I decided to head straight to Orange County, California to see how my uncle was doing, thus passing up Phoenix and the Cubs Spring Training Camp on the way out.

Southern California was as I had remembered it, only more so.

The County Social Services people are ready and waiting to charge you with neglect if you don’t get your eyebrows waxed regularly.

For the most part, the people in Southern California were beautiful… looking, and the vast majority of them were very nice to me also.

A gallon of diesel fuel cost me $4.29 in Needles, but I thought the price would go down when I reached civilization. In Orange County diesel was going for as much as $4.49 a gallon.

The family crisis (my mom’s hanai older sister had passed away, leaving my uncle all alone) required me to remain on station for 4 weeks, much longer than I had anticipated.

Here’s a good news/bad news situation:
- Good news: I stumbled upon a 24 hour jazz radio station out of CSU Long Beach to keep me company;
- Bad news: they started their 2 week pledge drive the day after I arrived.

As I headed back East, it was chilly and wet with snow on the ground at Barstow, CA. The temperature dropped to 24 degrees Fahrenheit at Flagstaff that night. It was warm and sunny in Texas and Oklahoma, but there were stickers on the ground in Arizona and New Mexico and Texas and early Oklahoma.

We found green green grass (which Bowser loved) in Eastern Oklahoma.

Actually, I never quite got to Phoenix. Maybe next year.

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I'm a third generation cubs fan, living in southeastern Wisconsin.