It got hotter than this. Imagine my
enthusiasm panic as I drove into the desert.
Just before the Grapevine, when things were still mild enough for humans.
Today I made the drive from Elk Grove to Rancho Mirage for residency for my MFA program. I decided this time I'd leave earlier (read: 5:00 AM, yikes!) so I wouldn't hit Southern California traffic--or as much of it--and freak myself out like last time at the end of my 9 hour drive. I made it here by 2:00, so, much better planning. But I can't confirm that I was any less freaked out by all the other people who decided to be on the freeway with me once I got off I-5. At least I have until tomorrow to put myself together after that. I think I'm just not well-suited to aggressive driving. At least that's what I tell myself when I keep almost jumping out of my skin every time a semi wants to pull up next to me.
The hotel is, as I saw when I visited last residency, very nice. The grounds are spectacular and I'm sure once I have time to explore tomorrow (before the heat of a thousand fiery suns decides to shine on me again) I will get to see even more of it. There's a lot in the surrounding area, so maybe a walk? You know--go crazy.
Chowchilla Starbucks moments
I have a lovely, very private balcony overlooking the golf course. (I'm sitting on it right now, listening to Johnny Cash's Cry, Cry, Cry--the Starbucks where I stopped in Chowchilla had a Johnny Cash thing going on this morning. I am 100% sure that it is going to remain a very private balcony, as no human being could stand this weather to golf. (Unless maybe one golfs from midnight to 2:00 AM? In which case, I'll be sleeping, so no big.) My room is huge--king sized bed, couch, desk area. Not as much "wow" factor as the room at the Riviera, but I'm sure that had more to do with the color scheme and the giant print of Marilyn than the quality of the hotel. So far, other than a minor mishap with a non-operating fridge (which was replaced after a reminder phone call) everything is cool (get it? TEMPERATURE PUN).
I got here just at the worst part of the day--the local news said it was "unseasonably hot" and that it got up to about 115 degrees. Basically it felt like that thing when you open the oven and your face is too close to it and you wonder if you lost your eyebrows. Only all over. Tomorrow is supposed to be the same. My plan is to get out early and then to make like a (what kind of thing hides in the dark all day? A mole?--yeah) mole (or a really sullen penguin?) and find me a dark, cool place.
I did my standard grocery-shop today so I'm all stocked up. Don't want to be gettin' hangry in front of the school folks who still don't know me too well. I have a good supply of produce, sweets, and pickles to tide me over like a toddler. Tonight I was going to try something nearby for dinner, but I was worried about how quickly my groceries would spoil in the heat so I came home. It was a good call.
The best thing about today was the swim I decided to take just as the sun was setting behind the mountain, at about 7:30. The heat was still well over 100 degrees, but I didn't need to worry about sunscreen. The adult pool is near a patio where they had live music playing--one of those bands you'd hear in Hawaii that doesn't seem to know if it's country or a Jimmy Buffet rip off--but in the thick air of the evening, it worked. I swam, I floated, I sat and listened to Sweet Georgia Brown (yes, they worked in Globetrotters and The Country Bear Jamboree, FYI), and I read the first little bit of Grapes of Wrath. Somehow, it feels appropriate to be reading one of Steinbeck's love letters to California when I just spent the day winding my way through it.
I have big plans tonight to paint my nails and watch the last episode of Downton Abbey, Season 1 on Netflix. So, you know, stay tuned for an update on how that goes. Also, this just happened:
Tomorrow this all kicks off. Trying not to be nervous... excited to see my friends again. (Related: Glad I have friends now. This is so much easier after the first time!)