Saturday, February 24, 2007

Day 16 - Barstow to Holbrook

There was a large billboard sign welcoming me to Barstow, California, the "Gateway to Opportunity". Well, it's a gateway alright. But opportunity seemed a little questionable to me. I stopped at the McDonalds in town only to discover that it was a major bus stop for tour buses. About 20 of them had stopped to let their 1500 or so passengers try and all use the restrooms and order breakfast at the same time. What a zoo! Most passengers looked like poor inner-city hispanics and african-americans on their way to Vegas for the day hoping to better their luck.

As I drove out of the parking lot, I noticed a bearded man wearing an Army camouflage jacket digging through a McDonalds trash can. He discovered a half-eaten Egg McMuffin and devoured it in a few quick bites. I sure hoped to God he wasn't a war vet. How incredibly sad.

I was happy to finally leave the Gateway of Opportunity and get to drive the longest stretches of remaining original Route 66--- the drive from Newberry Springs, CA to Kingman, AZ. A couple hundred miles of pure 66. This sign on the road in the Mohave desert even proves it!

Here's the Bagdad Cafe of movie fame:

Along with another big 66 landmark, Roy's Motel and Cafe in Amboy, CA.

I watched a freight train travel along side of me for about 30 minutes through the Mohave desert, until the tracks passed over Route 66 and forced me to stop. Nothing else to do but take a picture!

The weirdest rocks I saw were also in the Mohave desert. These looked like chunks of torn up asphalt roadway, but they were actual black rocks, rather porous in texture, and almost volcanic looking. I had to laugh when I spotted this Century 21 sign in the middle of absolute nowhere out in the desert. It had to be a joke!

After stopping for lunch in Needles, CA, we crossed over the border back into Arizona for what was undoubtedly the most fun stretch of old route 66 for the entire 6000 miles! It was about a 90 mile segment from the border to Kingman, and it travels up over 3000 feet through a mountain pass.

Without a doubt, my favorite Route 66 town was Oatman, Arizona, an old restored gold-mining village where 66 becomes incredibly narrow with buildings edging the roadway and scads of tourists walking in the road. I was stopped for about 10 minutes waiting for a mock Cowboy gunfight to finish up. Then, as I inched my way through town, I was stopped again by....

an ASS IN THE ROAD! Well, actually, an adorable little white burro. Oatman has a dozen or so of these "wild" burros that roam through town being fed carrots and who knows what else all day long by the tourists. These little guys got it made!

East of Oatman, Route 66 hugs the moutainsides as it makes it's way up to the pass. It was a really fun drive.

On the other side of the pass, is a cute little restored gas station called Cool Springs, owned by a real estate man from Chicago. A neat retired lady was running the store and asked me to come inside after I shot my pictures. I was thinking she wanted me to come buy something in return for the pictures, but she actually wanted to find out more information about my trailer! Turns out, she and her husband used to RV with a big 5th wheel, but he died a few years ago and she hadn't been RV'ing since. But seeing my little trailer made her feel that she could easily manage something that size on her own. I took her out and let her look inside the trailer and gave her T@B's website address. She was so excited! My little T@B seemed to be opening the door up for her again to explore the country and get back to RV'ing. It's so fun to have a trailer that does that for people!

After getting to Kingman, I decided to continue on another 90 miles of old Route 66 to Seligman, Arizona. This stretch wasn't nearly as fun as the previous one, but it still had a few neat things to see like this old car with a sign that pointed to both LA and Chicago, and the old truck next to it.

And this neat old gas station in Hackberry:

As the sun began to set, a straight stretch of native 66 made the perfect photo to cap off a really fun day.

No comments: