On The Road: MacDonalds, Chico, California. 7.00am

Lionel Ritchie playing in the MacDonalds, trying to look for a breakfast under 500 calories, can’t connect to WiFi, haven’t asked for a password as I don’t want to line up again with the many bearded men in the queue.

Up and out before 7.00am, looked for the Starbucks I felt sure I saw last night but no luck. The seedier side of traveling alone, the places you don’t want to spend time in, but they have clean washrooms, cheap food, OK coffee and bad background music.

So many people living in so many places which you are oblivious of. What would it be like having grown up in Chico, amongst the fruit farms and then the strip malls. Hot summers and freezing cold winters. California Dreaming, but not quite.

Seedy hotel selected as it was getting dark and I needed to stop. Tolerated with a couple of glasses of wine so sleep came quickly and there is an avoidance of thoughts of itchy sheets (music changes to country, no big surprise there) and net curtains. Air conditioning is ratched up to prevent outside noises and the nylon bedspread thrown to the floor. Awake at 6.10am, no hair dryer, out in under thirty minutes.

Shades of my teenager travel years and no budget traveling times. But now I’m 55 and have money. Tattooed women in tank tops and skimpy shorts arrive to entertain the bearded men. “Baby baby where did our love go” replacing the country songs and suddenly MacDonalds takes on an entertaining life all of its own. I continue to itch, non-existent bites. Time to move on, designer hotel with pool tonight.


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