I couldn't help but wonder what the meaning of the sign was. Do they think that people still need to rent horses for labor? Or were they simply advertising for horseback riding purposes, in which case it just was a strange way to phrase "Hey horseback riding for a cost here!", because who in Hesperia (or the 21st century for that matter) needs to rent a horse for labor?
When I made it to the DMV the line was shorter than it had been the week before, but I was still able to bypass the line because of my appointment (kind of like the fast-pass system at Disneyland, except unlike the magical kingdom the DMV is not the happiest place on earth). I was called pretty quickly, even before my appointment time. I had to pay $177 for registering my car and $31 for the license. Things kind of went downhill from there. I didn't think I'd have to take a written test for the license and found out that I would have to take an 18 question test. Before I took the test, I decided to get my car "verified," This involved driving my car to a certain spot so they could see that the car I was claiming was really the car I owned (why anyone would pay to register a car and then lie about what car it was is beyond me, they couldn't get away with it anyway). When I pulled into one of the spots for this purpose, a man was looking at a car in the "driving test" zone for people wanting their drivers license. At this time I was the only vehicle in the verified zone and assumed that when this man returned, I would be serviced since I was next in line. Instead, I waited 15 minutes for him to return and have him rudely tell me that someone else was in charge of this area. After vocalizing that this was ridiculous I went back inside the DMV to ask just who exactly was responsible for verifying my vehicle. I was told it was the rude man I had just spoken to. Once I told the woman what he told me, she said she'd tell someone I (and 2 other cars) was waiting, but the look on her face suggested she doubted anyone would come out. Thankfully, just 3 minutes later a nice woman came out to assist us. I told her about the rude man and she did not look surprised that he was a jerk to me. I said, "I know the DMV isn't about customer service but he didn't need to be a jerk." To this she said, "But they really are!" She said it with such belief and conviction that I didn't have the heart to remind her that we all know the DMV has the attitude of "You need us, we don't need you." Unfortunately she told me that I wouldn't be able to take the written drivers test that day because the DMV was about to close. I was also told earlier that my car was due for a smog check before I could get my California plates. This all means I have to return to the DMV for my written test and to prove my car passed smog. The only good news about returning to the DMV is that I have time to study for my 18 question test, and I don't have to wait in line to take the test or to get my plates.
Relatively satisfied with how everything went, I left feeling somewhat accomplished. I needed to fill up my gas tank for my trip to Whittier the next day to see my friend Laura and to catch a ride with her the day after to Union Station to get to Salinas, the area I am originally from. I wasn't exactly on empty so I was done quickly, however an Escalade (the most POINTLESS vehicle ever created) was in my way. They must have been on empty because they started pumping gas before me. What really set me off was that they were older, why did they need an Escalade? (and come on, no one, and I mean no one NEEDS an Escalade). They are not that cool, and they're horrible for the environment. I really really wanted to know what these people thought they needed an Escalade for. But instead I took a picture of their horrible SUV along with their backs. (side note: should anyone read this and happen to drive an Escalade, my apologies)
My drive to Whittier didn't have any hiccups, which surprised me because the slowest drivers are on the 210 going West. Seriously people, you can go 70! As someone who usually goes 75, I'm dying when people are going 60/65. Before I reached Whittier I stopped off in Glendora to get a smog check for $15 bucks, only to find out that the guy who does the smog checks is on vacation. I found a different place to have it done, paid double the amount of the place with the guy who had the nerve to be on vacation :) and then proceeded to wash my car in two different car washes (it needed it). Finally, I was in Whittier with my dear friend Laura. Laura is my friend from Maryland who had the good sense to stay in California after visiting for the summer two years ago. This pleased me greatly as it was my intention to end up in Southern California at some point. Knowing she was there made me very happy. We went and grabbed some lunch at an animal friendly grocery store (no dead animals treated cruely are sold there folks!) Later we prepared food for a picnic dinner next to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) to listen to free jazz. On the walk from the car to the museum on Wilshire, we passed the La Brea Tar Pits, a cause of great excitement for me because I've never seen them.
While the jazz stage ended up being too far away to hear well enough to enjoy, I still had a great time conversing with Laura and her lovely boyfriend Mike. We even got to check out a huge rock (see below). We also had a great time eating our friend chicken, guacamole, and other yummy treats. When Laura and I left, I was finally able to see the beautiful lights stationed near the entrance to LACMA.
We left before Mike so we could have some girl time. I rocked out to music while Laura navigated us through terrible traffic. It was a Friday night but there was narly roadwork going on. Towards the end of our journey on highway 60, I exposed Laura to Kevin Hart, a comedian that helped me feel better during the flu, and who my brother had told me about. Thankfully, she liked him. I had shown her and some other girls Jeff Dunham's Achmed the dead terrorist bit and none of them laughed once. Towards the end of our trip back to her place, Laura said we should drink wine and watch Kevin Hart when we got back. And that's exactly what we did, for about fifteen minutes. Then I paused it and read her the prologue to my book, and then spent the next.... well I'm not sure how long it was because wine was involved but we laughed and had girl talk for quite awhile. It was wonderful.
Getting to the train station went smoothly, being ON the train did not. I've ridden the train once before and it went fine, (other than arriving late to pick up the passengers in Salinas). This train trip however, was stop and go. The train would stop on the tracks for no apparent reason several different times for intervals anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes at a time. I fell asleep shortly before we arrived at the San Luis Obispo (SLO) station, but heard the conductor say we would be stopped at that station for an undisclosed amount of time. When I woke up we were stopped so I assumed we were still in SLO. However, the conductor informed us that we were stopped because the train did not have enough horse power to get over the mountain and we would have to chug backwards to the SLO station for a different engine. About a 20 minute train ride back to SLO and 2 or 3 hours later we were on our way. I was supposed to be in Salinas by 6:40 and didn't get in til 11:30. But my lovely brother brought me Jack in the Box and all was well with the world again. Between Horses, automobiles, and trains, I think I'd take the horse, it's the only one out of the three that hasn't been an annoying experience :)