It was hot as hell in August of 1999 as I sat in my ancient pickup truck with the summer southern California sun beating down on me. I had sweat pouring down my back as I sat in my filthy 1985 pickup truck and I prayed, once again my Dodge truck would get me home to my small mountain town in the San Bernardino National Forest. The beach was less than ninety miles to the south from this mountain highway, sunlight searing the payment all around me. What I wouldn’t give to be frolicking in the waves of the Pacific Ocean and not sitting here with my windows cranked down, my arm getting more sunburnt by the second and I probably had to pee.
I had turned my ancient pickup truck’s engine off fifteen minutes earlier to save on gas and the chances of overheating on this summer’s day in the 909 (The Inland Empire; A desert area east of Los Angeles.) The temperature had to be close to one hundred degrees. Air conditioning would have felt like a dream right about then. But I couldn’t even drive up the fifteen miles of mountain roads with my air conditioning on if I wanted to in my what might be considered “Vintage” now in 2021, pickup truck.
Oh God, looking back at that hot summer day somewhere on a highway in the San Bernardino National Forest, the air conditioner probably didn’t even work in my first truck! I remember being sweaty a lot when I was eighteen. I also remember in the summertime, basically, any time I left our mountain town and drove the thirty minutes to the hellishly hot desert cities below, I would almost always get stuck in road construction traffic on the way home. But this was the late 90’s and we didn’t have iPhones to entertain ourselves. I might have had a library book on the seat next to me if I was very lucky. I definitely did not have a Go-Girl to pee in.
I have lived in a mountain resort town tucked back in the dense San Bernardino National Forest for ninety percent of my life and summertime is when our highway maintenance workers (Cal Trans here in southern California) do all their work on our mountain highways. If you have to go anywhere on our mountain highways from June to September, there is a good chance you will be sitting in traffic.
The year 2021; The Cry Babies in their Teslas are woke
For the last twenty-four hours, there have been a lot of cry babies on social media, all over our mountain Facebook groups. Yesterday Cal Trans was working hard on the highways of the San Bernardino National Forest to clear the dried once yellow mountain weed, Scotch Brush from the roadsides. This makes our roadways safer for California’s wildfire season, which, I mean here in this crazy-ass year 2021 is basically year-round. Cal-Trans workers are also working hard in the hot one hundred degrees sunshine to get our mountain highways ready for winter snows.
I was born in a small town…
I’ve lived here in a bucolic resort town my whole life and have never seen anything like the population explosion Covid has brought to our forest. Our home prices in the San Bernardino National Forest are at an all-time high. Everyone wants to get out of the cities and the germs and drive their Tesla straight to Big Bear Lake, Telluride or North Lake Tahoe. The population explosion in these idyllic areas was not expected.
Our grocery stores can’t keep the shelves full of supplies. There is always traffic everywhere and even our most isolated hiking trails are full of day hikers with off-leash unsocialized Pitbulls. These yuppies who have infested their once second homes in these times of Covid are making life not so fun for the locals who love their small town and yes slower way of life.
People like me and my family like living in relative isolation at over 6,000 feet above the cities. We don’t mind that we don’t have a Costco or a Whole Foods in our town. And we don’t bitch about six inches of snow on the roads on a January morning. But our new neighbors from the city sure as hell do. It seems like all these urbanites want to escape Los Angeles and move to Park City or Big Bear Lake
I mean until that first morning they have to put chains on their BMWs or sit in the line of traffic while Cal-Trans works hard to fix our roads. All of these yuppies are sitting in their Teslas with their air conditioning blasting, probably playing Mindshaft or whatever computer game is trendy and bitching and or tweeting on social media that they are stuck “Stranded on a mountain highway” for an extra thirty minutes.
Excuse me Bro, but do you remember the nineties?
I don’t want you to get your blonde weave in a snarl Tiffany in the Range Rover but do you remember a time without iPhones? Can you recall cars without computers in them? Most of the new cars today even have wifi. Why are all these whiny little bitches from the city sitting in their Hybrid cars in air conditioning and bashing these highway workers for basically not working fast enough?
I’ve got news for you Karen, when you moved your 2.5 kids to a rural mountain town at the start of a global pandemic, you moved outside of the city and the concrete jungle way of life. This is life in a small town in the San Bernardino National Forest. Deal with it, just like we did in the 90’s with no air conditioning and far fewer tears and social media temper tantrums.
Our grocery stores are swamped. Our mountain highways are insane with traffic even on a random Tuesday. These are our small town problems living in a resort town in 2021. I’m so tired of listening to the Karen’s and Tiffanies bitching on Facebook that there is another traffic delay.
Back in 1999, I put another Eve 6 CD in my CD player that was attached to my tape deck with a cord and prayed to Jesus that my truck would not overheat anymore. Just let me make it fifteen miles to my front door without turning on my heater in the one hundred degrees heat to cool down my engine.