Bakersfield, CA

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Having embarked on a train voyage from fair Portland to the mountain village of Flagstaff, AZ — where I will spend nearly a week alone — we decided to take a solid day’s rest at LaQuinta Inn, Bakersfield, California. The summer has been squeezing record sweat out of Americans all across the lower 48, but arriving in Southern California and heading into the desert, the heat finally broke into degrees we Pittsburghers are rarely treated to. “Treat” being a subjective and highly debatable word for sure.

Bakersfield as a town is very spread out, quite suburban though seemingly adequately served by it’s local public transit. Our hotel, especially given it’s high affordability, was immaculate; fingery palm leaves silhouetting shadows across brilliant yellow stucco walls reflected in the crystal blue waters of the pool. Near the hotel was a sushi place that was dissappointingly closed on a Sunday, but Benji’s Basque French Restaurant just down the street didn’t let us down. Expensive, for sure, the food came out in droves: baked beans, cabbage soup, stewed tomatos, not-fried calamari and so much more.

We’re now in a cab, headed for the bus that’ll shuffle us off to LA where we’ll catch our train to Flagstaff, Bakersfield was a great one day respite from our otherwise non-stop trainery.