Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sometimes when life keeps throwing curve balls, you just throw one back -which is why the Ditchman family got in the truck and drove to Vegas Monday night after work. There was something that only slightly made sense about it, which was enough justification for us. You see, the family business had a Spring Special! (Those are some sweet beverage carts, right?) Unfortunately for the marketing and planning department, we didn't brace ourselves with the inventory, leaving us at Spring's end unable to find any beverage carts less than three hundred miles away.

But a Las Vegas merchant had 14 in stock! We needed five or six of them, so we trucked out there with the trailer and picked them up Tuesday, stopping in at the manufacturing plant on the way back to load up on some more materials and introduce the aluminum workers to the clan. And we have some family out in Sin City, so we were able to stop in for a bit there and say hi. On the way back we pulled the truck off the highway in Baker, California to get some garlic-stuffed olives at ALIEN FRESH JERKY -just down the street from the Bun Boy, and across from the world's tallest thermometer:

It read 98 degrees when we were there.

Head north out of Baker on Highway 127 and just before Death Valley you'll find yourself skirting the fence of AREA 51, the nation's repository for crashed flying saucers and preserved alien specimens. It's a hot, empty landscape out there -so don't go without jerky! Year's ago, some genius decided to capitalize on the UFO enthusiasts passing through and just started selling jerky and nuts and honey and the enterprise took off (though, not literally.) Mrs. Ditchman and I made it a point of stopping every time we drove past, back when it was just a shack and an alien mannequin, back before the billboards read BEST JERKY IN THE UNIVERSE for a hundred miles either way.

Now, the place is a success story, the entrepreneurial spirit of roadside America in full swing! There's more than a few alien mannequins and flying saucers in the parking lot, some informative placards with UFO facts (California has twice the UFO sightings of any state in the union!) and you can get all things "alien" at the store. (I've had my eye on an "Area 51" mug for some time. Next time, I'll buy it for sure.) There's a whole building for the place now, and another building going in next door, complete with "Alien Fresh Coffee" and a "Galactic Cyber Cafe" for passing Vogons. The place is pretty funny, with people always stopping by to get snapshots. I wish I'd thought of it! (But on second thought, I couldn't handle the commute.)

Why jerky? Well, what do you think the aliens do with all those abducted cows, anyway? But the garlic-stuffed olives are good and the bathroom is clean. It's really all about the bathroom, I think, because when it's all said and done we're not capitalizing on the local alien population, but the boring length of the highway in proportion to the average earthling bladder capacity. If you build it, (a clean bathroom) they will come (and pee.) It's America.

It was a crazy idea, and it worked. Dropping everything and going to Vegas to procure a truckload of beverage carts worked, too, as it was just the distraction needed to jump-start the stalled interest in the current overwhelming workload, even though we're another day behind schedule, now. My sister was meeting with some friends in Cabana 5, poolside at the Marriot, so after we did our business we thought we'd join up. It took me all of a minute to unwind.