Saturday, April 6, 2013

Tuna salad and religion

When a menu has 4 kinds of sandwiches - and nothing else - you wonder if it's a good idea to move on. Find some other place for lunch. Where whoever's in the kitchen is aware The Universe of Good Culinary Things is much, much larger than 4 sandwiches.

And for a moment I do wonder. Right before ordering a tuna salad on rye with Swiss cheese and tomatoes...

It was during that beautiful 20-mile climb, rolling up to Panoche Pass elev. 2250. Persistent lethargy migrated to the stomach region and became a nagging empty feeling. Quick fuel check. In 6 hours and 100 miles I'd taken in a banana, a jumbo muffin, and half a slice of lemon tea cake. Oh, a (small) Gatorade at the Paicines Store. Hardly enough.

There were distractions! At Paicines, pure happiness to connect with the group. Conversation on the climb. Anticipation of hot springs and sweet relaxation and a dark sky full of stars. Approaching the pass I thought was that the last chance for food all day? After riding all morning did I accidentally skip lunch? What have I done?

As luck would have it not only is there exactly one place to eat on Panoche Road, but it's well-located and open. A Route 66 kind of place with dollar bills hanging from the ceiling. Larry Lopez will tell you he always dreamed of having a place like this. A local gathering spot.
Larry shows what the ceiling looked like, before it was repainted.
The sandwich is fresh, ample, tasty. With a root beer and salty chips, perfection. Two dogs are tussling on the floor. At the bar locals mingle with bikers and cyclists. Hanging is out encouraged. In fact it's required! A game of pool, 25 cents. Free roasted peanuts.
Jim attacks the peanuts.
Mic hangs out.
That's it, this is my new religion.

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