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Last Sunday, Mother's Day, found us in the high country of Eastern California in the town of Benton (Pop. 164, Elev. 5317) when lunchtime rolled around. In honor of Mrs. G's many years of outstanding and resigned mothering to me and our pups, I decided that nothing was too good for her and blew her to a big feed at what I can positively guarantee was the finest restaurant in town. Reservations were not necessary. I had the Ortega Burger with Swiss and Fries. Mrs. G went for the Mushroom/Swiss combo and shared my Fries. Damn good burgers, cooked by the Native American lady who owns the joint. Her husband and I discussed real estate prices and other man stuff while she did all the work. I think them Injuns are onto something there!
As so often happens when I am enjoying myself, the cops showed up during our meal. There must have been something big afoot of an interstate nature, because there was a Mono County (CA) deputy and one from Mineral County (NV). They chatted awhile and drove away. You have to be big and strong to be a rural cop. These guys were carrying enough personal gear to wage a small war. I guess they have to be able to hold the fort by themselves in case of trouble, as their backup might be an hour away.
The cafe had a "Convenient Store" (that's what it said on the sign) attached. Small, but you could live out of it in a pinch. Not much junk food, but enough first aid supplies and auto parts to get you to civilization. Biggest jars of jalapenos I ever saw. A pretty good Native American jewelry selection as well. Mrs. G loves that stuff. I'm thinking of installing a winch on the pickup to get her out of those places...
The joint was obviously the town meeting place, where we were privileged to overhear the news of the day: "There was a shooting in Chalfant last night. Deputy so-and-so turned off his lights and the guy walked right into the side of his car...". Honest. I couldn'ta made that up, I swear!
Speaking of "reservations" and "holding the fort", there is a Native American presence and heritage all around this part of the country. There is a Paiute-Shoshone Cultural Center in Bishop, which was closed while we were there, as well as a popular local attraction, which was open.
After the way fun and interesting lunch we did stuff too, but enough for now.