The loudest noise in Shady Lane RV Park last night was a barking dog and a very early rising Eurasian Dove. Temps drop quickly after sundown and the mornings are quite chilly, but recent experience has shown that warm up comes quickly. Our camp was not very far from the bike route, so I was on the road earlier than the first several days. Barstow is the home of the Marine Corps Logistics Command, and they cover hundreds of acres with every manner of USMC gear, from portable potable water points to 8 inch howitzers. Lots of tanks! Lots and LOTS of tanks! Route 66 is neatly tucked between Interstate 15 and the mainline of the BNSF, which I’ve decided is the busiest freight line in the USA.
Both I on my bike and Cathy in Bridget, the RV, have been happily surprised by how little vehicular traffic there is on this road this time of year. That happenstance makes it easy to quickly exit the highway when something of interest pops up, like the Bagdad Cafe.
Marcella from Atlanta, GA is the current owner and has been part of the Cafe in one form or another for “too many years to tell you”. She was a sweetie, and invited me behind the counter where her equally charming great granddaughter, Halo (how about that for a unique name?) took our picture. I felt bad that I didn’t have any of my Pilgrim Farmer John cards to stick on the wall for her. There are no “choice” spots left, but I could have found something. While I was there, a congenial couple and their two young daughters from Paris, France stopped to look around and have a morning coffee. Such is life on the side of The Mother Road.
Route 66 crosses back and forth over Interstate 40 also in this part of the desert. You need some judicious pre-planning for fuel-ups to avoid paying these “middle of nowhere” prices. Not really clear in the pic, but Regular is $4.79 per gallon! Cathy had filled up in Barstow yesterday, and though high by midwest standards, the price was much better than this.
This may not be the Exact “Middle of Nowhere”, but I’m pretty sure you can see it from here. 🙂 When we were stationed at Twenty-Nine Palms Marine Corps Base (about 50 miles south of where we were today), the saying was “This Base is Miles and Miles of Nothing but Miles and Miles”.
The line in today’s title about Roads not fit for Riding, refers to a twenty plus mile segment that literally was NOT fit for a bicycle to ride on. The cracks and ruts were so severe that my odometer reader could not be kept from sliding all the way down the spokes to the rim of the tire. And the brake tensioners would pop off their pegs and effectively set the brakes. And that’s just the effect on the Bike. The effect on PFJ’s posterior was a little too graphic to describe here in a public forum. Usually, I can find a rideable track somewhere in my entire lane, but not so today. Yeah, I called Cathy, and she picked my sorry self up. The road was a beast on the RV as well, but it has lots more springs and shocks than my bike.
The DOT tried to make up for that stretch with a silky smooth section of 20 some miles. It was like heaven! You knew there was going to be a “but”, didn’t you? At the end of that section was a very bold and unmistakeable Road Closed to All Through Traffic section that we hadn’t known about. So, loaded up again and set off for another of the “must see” stops of the Route.
It was a three mile hike through the desert to the Cone, and we set out afoot see what we could see.
It was a most excellent adventure, and well worth the effort. Seeing the miles and miles of basalt lava rock that had spewed from this one opened vent in the earth is something that the kids would never be able to experience on a screen or in a book.
Izzy was the “Star of the Day” here, and I’ve given her a “Special Edition” of the blog to memorialize it.
Thanks for being here! Tomorrow gets us out of California and on to Sunny (we hope!) Arizona