Not that I'm a big chili fan.
Every year Keith wants to do something, anything fun for his birthday. And every year his birthday falls when summer is really gearing up to make us miserable and hot and also a time when we have just paid all the bills and there is not a lot of money left to do fun things. And then there is the fact that we live in Bakersfield which is just not a fun filled lots of things to do kind of place. Then there was the year he had a colonoscopy for his birthday, and then there was the year he scheduled two dental crowns and ended up being in the dental chair for four hours and his jaw was open for so long that he still has jaw pain from it. Yes, we fired that dentist.
So, most years he is a little disappointed in how his birthday vacation turns out.
I suggested that we drive out to the beach, but that is a long drive and we can't really plan a stay overnight kind of vacation because of the outdoor cats and how we can't leave any food out for them because of all of the stray cats that come and eat their food. Not to mention the bugs that get into the food this time of year if we leave it out. Someday we will take a real vacation and hire a pet sitter. Someday. But not just yet because like I said, we pay the bills right before his birthday and there is not much money left for things like pet sitters.
So, we heard on the radio that Tehachapi was having a chili cookoff and car show and it's only a 45 minute drive through beautiful mountains to get there, so on Saturday afternoon we headed off up the road. We should have left the house way earlier but you know how that goes, because by the time we got to Tehachapi, where we thought it would be a little cooler than the 103 in Bakersfield, it was getting VERY WARM up there and we were walking around on hot pavement on blocked off streets in a very hot wind. Because it's always windy in Tehachapi, that is why they have all the windmills on the hills there.
We looked around at the cars and craft booths and then went down the chili booth rows, where Keith grabs a chili sample without realizing he was supposed to buy tickets first, and then he needs a beer, so down to the 'beer garden'. Where nobody is sitting because there is no shade and did I say it was HOT out there? The line for the beer was a long one so I found a tree to stand under while he got his beer and then had to hold his beer so he could sample chili after he found the chili tasting ticket booth and properly paid for his chili tastings.
We had not had lunch yet and I was starting to not feel so good from being out in the hot sun and getting very sweaty and did I say it was HOT out there?
One thing I'll say for Tehachapi, when they put on an event they make sure there are places for people to go to the bathroom, unlike that other mountain town that won't let people pee and only provided one nasty outhouse for the thousands of tourists coming to their town. Yes, Kernville, I'm talking about you. Tehachapi did it right, with outhouses (clean ones!) right by the beer garden and in other strategic spots. However, when it is HOT outside, be very careful when you go into an outhouse that has been baking in the sun, because that plastic seat gets HOT.
They also have a permanent public restroom in the little park by the newly restored train depot. Good for you, Tehachapi!
Anyway, time for lunch and Keith was getting a little annoyed with me because I was getting cranky from being in the HOT sun, so we decided to go down to our favorite place to eat in Tehachapi, the Apple Shed. He suggested walking down there, but I reminded him that it's a ways down the road and I'm already extremely HOT so lets get the car and drive down there.
And there's another nice thing about Tehachapi, it was very easy to park right by the festivities because there is a big empty lot by the railroad tracks right as you are driving into the area and everyone was parking there and then we just crossed the tracks and one street and there we were at the chili cookoff.
We get to the Apple Shed where I start to feel better after splashing some water on my face in the restroom and sitting down to order our food and drinking some water and iced tea. I ordered my usual chicken salad sandwich and four bean salad but for some reason the chicken salad didn't taste as good as I remembered. Still good but a little disappointing. Keith had some kind of special burger and a couple of beers, so by the time we finished lunch we were both feeling better and decided to go back downtown and visit a few of the shops, Keith wanting mostly to go into the train store to get a new hat. He also found a book so he was happy at being able to buy himself a present and then we headed back down the mountains, taking the cutoff at Caliente to drive the lovely winding country roads back into town. It is a very pleasant drive.
Then, what about birthday dinner, which I certainly don't feel like cooking? We were talking about the Mexican restaurant downtown that we had always meant to try but had never gotten around to it, so The Mexicali it would be for dinner. They do have a great sign.
But the food was not that great. Edible, but not great. Maybe it's my tastebuds these days, but our recent forays into dining out have just been a waste of money.
So, birthday weekend so far was not quite what Keith wanted, but at least this time there were no colonoscopies or dental crowns involved.