Seediest Motel in Fresno, no offense, non taken

Trip Start Sep 29, 2007
Trip End Dec 01, 2007

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What an afternoon. During lunch, I was approached by two really nice CHP Officers, who saw my bicycle out front and wanted to ask questions about the electric set-up. After a few minutes, they headed out telling me the only way out of town, North was to take Golden State Blvd. They also told me that the area does have a gang influence and try to get through before dark.
Cruising though downtown Fresno was great and I stopped at everything I thought was interesting. As 5pm approached, I planned to zip through North Fresno, taking the advice of the CHP. As I came upon Golden State, I saw 2 of Fresno's finest, standing in a parking lot, just looking around. This was lucky and I rode up, Identified myself as a former police officer from LA and asked if the Golden State Blvd. was such a big thing. I could tell there was sort of a veteran, overweight with what looked like a probationary officer. I could tell by his immediate, "position of advantage," he immediately took when I stopped. I probably looked like Darth Vader, in my full face black riding helmet. The older guy stated, "thats reallllll interesting stretching out the "L," intentionally to let me know he did not care who or where I was from. I thought I was being rather friendly, but his attitude was bad. The "rookie" sensed his partner's attitude like any good, "boot" would do and assumed the same tone of voice. I paused, took off my helmet and asked again. The older guy then told me to take my chances as he won't go that way. His ending statement was, "get the hell out of my city." Good public relations Fresno PD. By then I was really upset so I stopped at a mini-mart, got a confirming response about the area and stood by my bike to make a sprint through the area.
FPD made it clear that they would be of no help if something went wrong so I called the home of my old LAPD buddy Dan, and got his wife on the phone. I told her what happened and she proceeded to calm me down and told me that Dan was at work. I told her that I was going to make a run for it and I was going to put her number on speed dial and then ride up the street. I told her that if I called and did not respond, to dial 911 and report "an officer needs help" and told her the general area. To make a long story short, I rode down the supposed really bad area and I was met by people of color, who were generally tending their yards, and they waved to me as I passed. After I got through the bad area, I called Dan's wife back and told her to disregard.
Near the City limits, I saw the Sahara Lodge, an older motel that was obviously being repaired. I met the owners, Debra and Brian and asked if they had any rooms, as I was going to take the advice of a friend and slow down. Brian and Debra were really cool and told m they were finishing up room #6 and I could have it for $35 dollars. I paid the money, gladly. Actually, neither Debra nor Brian needed to introduce me as they each had the others name tatoo'ed to the other chest. I could figure it out myself. Brian's was more obvious, as he had his shirt off and the name DEBRA was prominently displayed.
The room I received had just been done with new carpets, and more importantly, a new air conditioner that Brian was just getting installed. I helped him hold it in the window and he seemed to appreciate it. Brian had beer on his breath but he was working very hard just the same. He continued by stating, "we have the seediest motel in town, but we are making a change." I appreciated his candor, and I noticed that by this time, most of the residents had made their way toward my bike and were asking me where I was from and what kind of bike I was riding. Now is the time I wish I had a camera as that would have made a great photo. An ex-police officer, surrounded by 20 people of different ages and ethnicities, and more bad jail tatoo's than i could count.
Right now I am sitting in a rocking chair writing my story, listening to the growing arguments outside, as more alcohol is consumed and the tensions of just getting by are released. I must be changing as I feel more at home and more appreciative than I have been in a long time.
I sure was glad it was Monday, as yesterday was murder, listening to all of the over the top preachers I found on the radio with headphones that fit snugly under my helmet. I was tempted to send in for some, "anointed miracle oil," guaranteed to bring me money in the name of Jesus? I still do not get it. It was either listen to that or the many cooking shows on the dial. Today was better as I found all the news channels, both politically slanted and the ones who try to do it straight. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. I eventually settled on two different radio channels on both extremes of the political spectrum. I love the the polarizing partisanship I find on both sides. My yelling at the radio seemed to bother no one, and it really made the headwind I experienced all day a lot more tolerable.
That should do it for today. I need to stop, as the taco truck is due by here any time according to Brian who said that he would let me know when it gets here. I don't quite trust that Brian will remember and I will poke my head out from time to time. Everyone else around here seems to do the same thing and I don't want to stick out more than I already do.
Cheers, Steve
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