Thursday, November 04, 2010

Ghost Real Estate

I think we both slept better in Barstow, due in no small part to not being freezing cold all night. Since we'd gone to bed early we both woke up fairly early and after consulting the internet on various important issues, packed up and said good-bye to the tiny little pool. We were bound -- for IHOP!

Theo had the evening previous stated that he wanted a real breakfast, not Sara's 'eat something, whatever, come-on, let's go!' routine. Our choices in Barstow and the surrounding area seemed to be between Denny's and IHOP so -- there we went to enjoy pancakes and hashbrowns. Theo got a crepe with fresh fruit, one of the few non-fried things he'd had in the past few days.

Next we got onto the 58 freeway and started out for California City. The sky was dark and ominous in most directions, and we saw lightening in the distance. There really wasn't much else to see except for broken old houses doing imitations of Stone Henge.

We came upon California City boulevard and turned right, traveling through more nothing. Another ten minutes and we'd reached our ultimate goal.

California City was strange. Very strange. We'd read about it in an article some month's ago and both been determined to come out and see the endless empty lots that made up the third largest city in CA -- geographically. At first all we saw was the actual city -- but something wasn't quite right. Street signs marked streets that weren't there. There were strange, double, one-way streets and we made a wrong turn and went down one going the wrong way, not that it mattered because no one was there. At one point in the middle of the city, only a dozen yards from a Rite Aid, we drove around a winding street with dead-ended off shoots, ending in a circular spot of asphalt. There were no buildings being served by this road.

We got out to the edge of town and found the lots. Debris and motorcycle tracks littered the ground. Weeds had forced their way up through the cracked roads that led past dozens and dozens of empty real estate signs. Others still sat in the weeds, hopeful that maybe someone would be interested in some local property. Strange metal pipes stuck up at even intervals and we found a fire-hydrant parked out in nowhere. Here and there we caught sight of houses and trailers without any nearby neighbors.

I looked at Theo and around where we stood and knew these empty lots went on and on and on. It was strange, and surreal. I dubbed it standing amidst ruins that had never come to be. Really, it was the ruins of one mans fantasy. We'd come out here to look at nothing, and it was pretty creepy.

After a little while we'd had enough, and got back onto one of the main roads to take us out. Even out here we caught sight of a few more strange, endless roads going nowhere and some of the strange, naive charm of California City. We drove on out through all the empty lots.

After that we made a pretty straight/circuitous trip back home. We'd talked about going through Angeles National Forest but it was raining so hard and we were pretty tired, so we took the 14 down to the Los Angeles Area, and were home in time for a sushi lunch.