Not everyone’s cup of tea – blog 22

The Holiday Motel, Los Banos, CA is not everyone’s cup of tea.  It is the cheapest place I’ve stayed and for $35 a night you don’t expect much. But I don’t want much – wifi, a shower and a bed will do it.

The wifi works, the shower works (I’ve washed myself and some clothes in it) and the bed looks like it will work too. It’s right by the road but that won’t keep me awake, I’m sure.

And Los Banos has nothing much to recommend it on paper – but it does have the 6th St Diner which is a very lucky find.  I left Yosemite earlier today (no bears) and was pretty hungry when I got here mid-afternoon.  I found the Motel and the guy here was very friendly, and then I did a bit of a wander and came across the Diner (which also has wifi).

I have been drinking a lot of Cola (but very little alcohol) on this trip.  I started by asking for a Coke each time – and had a run of ‘Is Pepsi OK?’s. so I switched to asking for a Pepsi and today was my first ‘Is Coke OK’.  So I had a Coke with my green salad, steak sandwich and sweet potato fries.  Very nice they all were  too and excellent value at $13 with large helpings.

I’m in the San Joaquim Valley, which I have learned to pronounce ‘Whackeem’, and I’m here because I have booked a place on the coast for a few days but that starts tomorrow night – so I needed a stopover.  I saw that there is a National Wildlife Refuge, San Luis, near here so that’s why I am here.

I called in at the visitor center and was given lots of help with leaflets maps etc.  The people I spoke to couldn’t have been more helpful and they were a bit apologetic about the fact that this area is lifting with birds (geese and cranes)  in winter but is a bit quiet now.

But like the Holiday Motel and Los Banos, San Luis is giving me just what I need despite its unpromising first impression.  I’ve already seen a dozen new species for the trip in a short look around (including greater yellowlegs, white-tailed kite, black phoebe) and I have been typing away for a few hours after dark in this motel room.

For a birder on a short stop, or for a bunch of birders on a winter trip with birds at the top of their list, then the Holiday Motel, 6th St Diner, San Luis combination would be ideal for cheapness, proximity and birds.  But they wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

I haven’t had tea for weeks.


3 Replies to “Not everyone’s cup of tea – blog 22”

  1. Mark,
    Thanks for an entertaining month of blogs during your road trip, especially in diner accounts! Reading about passenger pigeon extinction was certainly one of most powerful foundations of my teen conservation education. Looking forward to reading the definitive account. Best wishes for the rest of the trip.

  2. San Luis looks amazing Mark. “National Wildlife Refuge” is an interesting choice of words for what, I assume, would be called a ‘nature reserve’ in the UK?

  3. IF you’re that desperate for a cuppa surely there must be some ex-pat run pub/cafe etc that a quick search on net could locate for you failing that is there not a Starbucks etc.
    I like the sound of a White Tailed Kite though an image of one would be even better, what do they look like, though I figure it might have a white-tail 🙂

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