I visited Blythe, California, years ago. We’d started that morning in Las Cruces & headed west on I10. The sun began setting as we came through Phoenix–so the saguaros in the far western suburbs cast long shadows. After dark, the lights of the traffic indicated we were headed toward a pretty big mountain. Some optical trick made it seem impossibly steep. I’m a flatlander. A Houstonian. I do not do mountains. So it was probably good that I couldn’t see what I was driving through.
We got to Blythe & decided to find a motel. It was pretty basic but had a restaurant. Which served cheeseburgers with green chiles; we’d been in the Green Chile Belt since a few miles east of El Paso. And martinis–since we just had to walk back across the parking lot, they were welcome. (From the customers, I got the impression that this unassuming almost-dive was one of Blythe’s Fine Dining Establishments.)
We got up early. One last stop after packing the car–& the commode overflowed. We informed the nice Indian guy & headed to LA.
Much later, I read Larry McMurtry’s Some Came Running–the story of a retired screenwriter who finds his long-lost daughter. He recounts how he’d created the TV series that made him wealthy, after leaving a failed marriage & new baby back in Houston. He’d headed to Hollywood with high hopes but found nothing but hard times. Successive moves took him to less prestigious neighborhoods & eventually out of LA. He got the idea that made his fortune at the last possible minute, staying at the last outpost remaining before he headed back to Texas as a total failure:
“I was living in a motel in Blythe, California.”