Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

Posts in category High Desert

Small Towns with Big Hearts

Rural Towns Grow Big Hearts

I love small towns.

In small towns, families tend to stay in one place and raise generations. Extended families and extended friendships can grow. Interaction and traditions become second-nature. I love it when the trends of today become the traditions for decades and beyond.

Where else can you drive through a small town and wave to a handful of regulars you recognize and appreciate every day.

Burger Depot

The First Business you see entering Lucerne Valley

You can also see the same store owners and clerks managing the storefront business with the bonus feature of actually knowing you when they say, “Is there anything I can help you with?”

In the small community of Lucerne Valley, we have the basic needs covered. You’ll find schools, plenty of churches, two shopping centers, a bank, thrift stores, barber, salon, and fire department and sheriff sub-station. We have an active library, senior center, chamber of commerce, local weekly newspaper, museum, and two parks.

Just one of everything.

Small towns know how to play nice together. Even though we can support many restaurants, each one offers a specialty: from Chinese to Mexican to American cuisine to fast food, pizza, and deli … even a doughnut shop arriving soon. Very little overlap in menus makes this an accommodating community.

And where else can you go to Burger Depot, our one drive-thru, and get personal service? While I was making my order last week the voice on the intercom asked, “Is this order for your daughter, too?” The owner, Laura Mount, recognized my voice.

Railroad themed drive thru

Inside Depot Burger you are surrounded by railroad and train photos and clocks that toot and whistle

I answered, “Yes, it is. The first burger’s for me; the second for her.”

“Well, she doesn’t like anything but ketchup, lettuce, and cheese on her burgers.”

“Really? I didn’t remember that.”

“Do you want me to change it for her?”

“Yep. You know best.”

When I continued driving up to the window to pay, I smiled at the owner and commented, “This town is so small that you know nearly everyone’s’ choices. How do you do it?”

“They’re regulars. It’s easy.”

 

And there ya go. Small town living has its perks. With or without pickles.

You can enjoy yummy burgers, burritos, shakes, and sodas plus much more.

Phone (760) 248-6576 · Burger Depot has been in this one locale for over 35 years at 31337 State Highway 18 (near Custer Road intersection.) Monday thru Friday only 10am – 6pm.

Rusty LaGrange

now with three generations living and thriving in Lucerne Valley, CA

follow me at www.RustyLaGrange.com

 

Take the Time to Read a Book

Read More Books

High Desert, CA bookstores

Hi Desert Book Oasis

Digital or Paperback?

Digital books may be easier for you to read because of convenience. But when is the last time you read an actual paperback or hardback book? Allow yourself the pleasure of spending an hour browsing in a bookstore. Notice the different sections instead of gravitating only to your favorite interest.  READ MORE »

How Can You Hate Halloween Bats?

Halloween bats are not your biggest fear for tonight.

bat rescue babies on clothesline

How Can you Hate Halloween Bats?

Bats are night fliers, sure, but they don’t really bite humans, they only come out at night to eat bugs that bug you. Aren’t these cute? In a rescue clinic down in Australia, they place them in little mini-sleeping bags and hang on a clothesline while they grow up. Ah … how cute!!

Bats Get a Bad Reputation

Yes, I did have a friend who freaked out when a bat got stuck in her hair. But she was getting out of a pool at dusk when the bats love to swoop down over water surfaces. They use their radar-like aerial system to fly fast and avoid hitting objects. She got out of the pool just as the bats were arriving to dinner hunting time. They didn’t know she was a dinner guest.

Not a Halloween Bat in sight!

Then in a panic, she swatted at the bat that got tangled in her hair even more. Panic of the other gals screaming while exiting the pool just caused more hysteria. And sure enough, the little scared bat bit her. I won’t go into the details here — but she survived. Although she does avoid pools … at night … in the summer … in the desert.

They weren’t even Halloween bats.

Like I said, your biggest fear should be those smelly, lurking zombies.

What’s up with that?

 

Rusty LaGrange

The Burger Den–Site of The First Del Taco

Most High Desert residents know that Barstow was the home of the first Del Taco restaurant, but what they may not realize is that the very first Del Taco wasn’t in Barstow Proper.  The very first Del Taco was founded in Yermo in 1964.   This was when Arrowhead trail (also known as U.S. route 91) was the main road to Las Vegas.  During that time, Yermo was home to multiple gas stations, motels, and restaurants.

When interstate 15 opened in 1968, the town of Yermo was bypassed and,  like many small towns across America, a large number of the businesses which relied on the patronage of travelers closed.   The first Del Taco was one of those businesses, but while Del Taco closed, another business rose in its place.      On the site of  the original Del  Taco stands the Burger Den.

Burger Den at the site of the first Del Taco READ MORE »

Cyber Crooks Hope You Make a Typo

Geneaology

A typo can lead you to Cyber Hackers and danger

Cyber thieves, ransomware, typosquatting– “om” my!

The latest ploy cyber crooks are using to spread ransom-ware and other types of computer malware to provide them with remote access to PCs and Macs or to steal log-in credentials, is to catch you making mistakes. After buying domain names with a missing or misplaced letter in website addresses belonging to well-known companies, they simply wait for you to make a typo. READ MORE »

“Forever Wild Sanctuary” Unscathed from Blue Cut Wild Land Fire

From Out of the Ashes

If you sat spellbound watching the news as the devastating wildfire raced into the High Desert, you were most likely wondering how any thing could survive.

The good news is that many homes and ranches in the Oak Hills and Phelan areas were spared. And where fire encroached deeper into the neighborhoods, fire fighting units deployed men and equipment to stand fast against the blast furnace-like flames. One critical non-profit business that I wondered about was Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary  — their close proximity to the fire and ash.

Defending the Sanctuary

Ready to Defend, a unit of fire equipment is stationed in the neighborhood.

READ MORE »

El Tropical Adds a Breeze of Latin Cuisine

A Nice Hide-Away Spot for Breakfast or Lunch

El Tropical sits in a hide-away spot near Nick’s Pizza and Stater Bros in Apple Valley on Bear Valley Road. You may not see it the first time around. Follow the strip of stores beginning with Nick’s and at the end you’ll find the cafe.

You can dine outside like a bistro or head inside to comfortable large booths.

Cafe in Apple Valley

El Tropical Coffee Shop and more

 

READ MORE »

Great Footpaths in the High Desert

High Desert Blogging publishes guest posts by High Desert residents and entrepreneurs. Interested in submitting your article? Contact us at hdblogging@gmail.com.

Guest Post by Beverly Prine

My family and I called Hesperia “home” for twenty-one years, but a little over one year ago we moved to Victorville. I loved our years there, nestled between the Church of the Nazarene and the new soccer fields.

California Aqueduct

There’s that old saying, “You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone” and it keeps ringing in my head because for twenty-one years I was able to bounce out my front door and reach the California Aqueduct trail in a quick ten-minute walk. Once I hit the Aqueduct trail, I could get lost in my mind and walk, run, or stroll along the waterway.

I always headed toward Main Street and made it a point to touch the chain-link fence before turning around. The route from Maple Aqueduct to Main Street and back was approximately 3 miles. Many times my walk was paused to stop and admire the ducks in the water, or to take in the pink clouds as the sun dropped into the west, or to stop and stretch out the muscles.

California Aqueduct in the desert

An aqueduct runs through it

Once I interrupted my walk to yell at some teenagers who had thought it was a good idea to walk out onto the concrete crossing over the Aqueduct and then jump into the swift-flowing water. They only laughed at me, and thankfully no one drowned. But that was a scary thing for sure, but to the kids, they saw it as funny. READ MORE »

Summer Frozen Treats by High Desert Community Food Bloggers’

Summer Frozen Recipes by High Desert Food Bloggers

July is the time for summer frozen treats! Popsicles have been “popping” up like crazy in blogs lately. And no wonder. Hot days call for cool refreshments for little kids and adults big kids. READ MORE »

How Does One Write Non-Fiction?

Guest Post by Ann Miner – Author and Freelance Writer

High Desert Author

Ann Miner

 
Some people tell me they have lived an uneventful life. I often think that would be like a dream for me.
My life may sound like fiction, but, as the saying goes, you can’t make this stuff up. I write non-fiction because when I tell about my experiences, people say, “You should write a book.” What do they mean?
Let’s see, born in a farmhouse, neglected, adopted at one year. Lived the good life for eight years with two wonderful parents; lost Daddy when I was nine; new father, died when I was 14; mother died when I was 18.
In addition, I had my first and last names changed over the years. Let’s see, first and middle names changed twice, last name changed seven times. Good grief, no wonder I don’t know who I am!
Lived with manic depressive, abusive husband; lived with schizophrenic father-in-law, (loads of stories from both of these); divorced, ex-husband died a dramatic and tragic death (not suicide); went back to college at age 52, went bankrupt because I couldn’t get a job at age 56, 57, 58.
Then, after 22 years of single bliss, married again, lost that husband nearly ten years later, married again, lost that man a year later. Was a caregiver for my mother when I was 18, for my manic-depressive husband, and for my last two husbands. One had Parkinson’s disease for years. Never wanted to be a nurse, but God had plans he disclosed on a need-to-know basis.
Was despised and mistrusted by step-children of both husbands, and those stories alone would make a novel. But not a fun one.
Did I mention that I have moved more than twenty times?
So, what’s not to write about in the non-fiction genre? Just write what you know. Begin with a pencil on paper. Don’t stop the pencil until your brain stops. You can go back later and correct any spelling or grammar, or change phrases.  If you stop writing while you are thinking, you will forget the words that were flowing through your mind. Some of them never return, trust me.
An important thing that I have learned is to make an outline as your thoughts come. What stories do you want to share? I have remembered so many events after I have finished a chapter. Where do they fit in now? Why didn’t I write them down?
If you feel that your life has been uneventful, lacking drama, look at it again. How did you interact with family members? Brothers, sisters, cousins. Did you argue? Play pranks? How did those work out? What vacations did you take and what happened? Was there one that stood out because it was so wonderful or so fraught with disaster?
Everyone has a story to tell. In fact, you – yes, you – have many stories to tell. Just start making notes and then see how they fit together. You can make a complete story describing one vacation. I know I can. I have one about a trip to Acapulco when I was seven. Car trouble, high jacking by a truck full of Mexican marauders, that sort of thing. Not fiction.
My two children’s books are actually based on non-fiction. Polly Possum’s Wandering Path, and Buddy Finds a Home. Polly was actually a little possum that was wandering around my back yard, never looking up. Buddy was a cat that came to live with us. Everything in Buddy is true.
My adult inspirational books, I Lift My Eyes and Bugs in the Baptismal, are short vignettes of my life or someone else’s. The book I am working on now, A Cow is a Cow, (I’ve known that I was adopted since I’ve known that a cow is a cow), is autobiographical/memoir/documentary. It is filled with true stories about my life growing up adopted (twice), and the accounts others have shared with me about their experiences of being adopted, adopting a child, or surrendering one for adoption.
A caveat: even non-fiction may need some research. That can be frustrating or fun, interesting or intimidating. But you want your story to be as authentic as you remember it. Then you can go back and take a bit of license if it would be more complete. Or just add more true detail.
For instance: “My granddaddy taught me to play dominoes and also played the fiddle.”
Okay, but the reader may want to know more. How about:  “When we played dominoes I was fascinated by his big hands with long, slender fingers.  He could hold all his dominoes in his hand.” Actually, that is not embellished because it is true. But I could further describe what he usually wore at age 88, how his voice sounded, and so on. The audience wants to get acquainted with this man that you adored. Oh, did you say that you adored him and why? License could come into play here.
Then there was my grandmother who killed a chicken for fried chicken dinner. The chicken tasted good.
Or: When Grandmother planned to cook chicken for dinner, she went to the backyard in the afternoon and chased down a hen. She grasped it around the neck, and swung it in a short, tight circle until the body and head were separated. Then she let it hop around, headless, until it was still, after which she hung it on the clothesline to let the blood drain. After a good soaking in a bucket of boiling water, she held it by the legs, plucked the feathers, and singed the pinfeathers over open flames. Now it was time to take it into the house and finish the cleaning. A delicious fried chicken dinner followed.
The part I like best is this:
Her two daughters – Daddy’s only sisters out of the seven siblings – told the story, years later, of a time when their mother was ill and they wanted to fix her some chicken soup. So the young girls went out to the backyard and cornered a hen. One of the girls took the hen by the neck and started swinging it in wide circles, like a lasso, over her own head. Somehow the hen got loose and ran away. I can just picture that hen clucking loudly as she flew around in a circle at the end of the girl’s arm and then, literally, running for her life. Oh the trauma! Needless to say, there was no soup for dinner that night.
So, that’s how I do it.  Take notes, make an outline, write it down. Good things will happen!
Never at a loss for words.

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