What might have been.

Sharon, my deeply Texan Applebee’s bartender, early 50s with a drawl as thick as spun honey, straw-colored beehive piled high atop head and immaculate pink fingernails giggled when I opened my older model MacBook Air to continue documenting this most epic quest.

I have two stickers affixed to its lid. One, BeachGrit’s mascot Cryin’ Jordy surrounded by the oft-repeated phrase “I want my Beach Grit” (buy car air freshener version here). The other, a black bar that reads “I peed in Kelly’s pool” featuring Surf Ranch’s iconic brand in white.

“Do you know who Kelly is?” I asked, immediately perked, assuming Cryin’ Jordy wasn’t eliciting any laughs.

Had I finally found her, the non-surfing World Surf League fan, here, in Amarillo mixing up Electric Lemon Crushes, an invigorating vodka lemonade made with ultra-premium Grey Goose, premium lemon sour, blue curaçao and lemonade?

Was this the reason the Volkswagen went into limp mode?

To bring me to Sharon?

“No,” she drawled. “Why don’t you tell me, honey?”

Lightly defeated but hope still bubbling I responded, “Have you ever heard of Kelly Slater?”

“Nuh-uh. Who is he?” she wondered, genuinely curious.

All the way defeated I told her, “He is the world’s greatest competitive professional surfer.”

“Oh,” she said enthusiastically. “I guess I’ve peed in his pool too then,” and repeated the same giggle.

I didn’t have the heart to explain that Slater had created an inland surfing experience in a place not unlike Amarillo so just giggled back.

Still waiting for status update from the Volkswagen dealership.

More as the story develops.

Surfing Los Angeles