Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: western New York State
while you were working (or whatever) part 12
Trip C (continued) March 4th to March 11th, 2012 12800 to 14815 trip miles
remember: <wow> = fill in your own superlative, we’ve run out : )
We headed southeastward out of Death Valley, using Route 190 until we hit Route 127. Not much here except more desert, but we eventually came upon Baker, CA, an exit off Interstate 15, and thought that it would be a good place to replenish our food supply. Wrong! Marti named it Appalachia in the desert. “I do not like green eggs and ham”, or rather green ham and eggs. There was no fresh meat in the small store (it was all 2 months past its “best by” date), but she WAS offered fresh “weed” at the counter. The whole town was very well past its “best by” date, and perhaps it should be called Baked instead of Baker. We felt sorry for the kids playing around while we were there; don’t think they had much of a future ... We continued southward on what might still be Route 127 or Kelbaker Road, through the Mojave National Preserve where they had some Joshua trees. Good because we weren’t going further south to the Joshua Tree National Park, and the trees were a “must see” on Marti’s list.
“Getting our kicks on Route 66” (but no Buzz and Todd). Rather than just taking Interstate 40 eastward, we decided to take what parts of the ancient Route 66 that we could find; it is no longer an official US highway, so signs are few and far between. We got to the first section due south, and headed west a few miles to look at the Amboy Crater. It appeared to be a large meteor crater with a tall, steep rim, and from a distance it didn’t appear to have a way to drive up there, so we turned around and headed back east; we’d done enough hiking in Death Valley. We passed through Chambliss, and then passed tens of miles of dikes on the north side of the road, apparently built to prevent flash floods from the mountains on that side from washing out the road. The dikes are perhaps 5 feet high and are sloped, and people with too much time on their hands “write” names or messages with stones on them. This entire section of Route 66 has nothing to give anyone a reason to drive it, unless you want to read or write some messages with stones. There are no farms or other industry that we could discern, however: “Psst: What a deal”: 238 acres of umm “farmland” (hey, that’s what the sign said) between Essex and Fenner at a mere $1200 an acre. Heck, I wouldn’t pay $1200 for the whole thing; heck, I wouldn’t take the whole thing if you gave it to me. Eventually we had to get onto I-40 to cross into Arizona (perhaps Arid-zona would be a more appropriate name).
The only section of Route 66 we felt was worthwhile was from Topock, AZ (I-40 AZ exit 1) to McConnico, AZ (I-40 AZ exit 44). It is moderately scenic, and along the way you get to Oatman Arizona. It is quaint old (but defunct) gold mining town that has now gone all touristy. The signs greet you with “15 MPH”: the narrow, winding street through town is not only crawling with tourists, but also wild (but tame) burros, descended from the mine burros that were abandoned when the mines closed during World War II. The “Eeyores” approach everyone looking for free food. You can hitch your Roadtrek (or car) to the old western hitching rails in front of the stores if you like. The road from Topock to Oatman isn’t bad, but after Oatman (going east), it is narrow, steep, and winding, and goes over 3523 foot Sitgreaves Pass. I liked it, but YMMV (your mileage may vary). On one of the Route 66 sections there were Burma Shave signs, but I’m not sure exactly where. We met up with some friends in north-central Arizona, but didn’t stay long, nor did we do any sight-seeing.
“No dessert for me please” (er, I mean desert). By this time, Marti had lost her early love for the desert; I had lost mine some 40 years ago. Marti’s nephew, a Major in the Army National Guard, who trained in the desert just south of Death Valley and had been deployed overseas said: “Yeah, it is amazing and desolate and smells like dirt. If you like that, you might like southern Afghanistan ... Little vegetation, rocks, rocks, heat, rocks. Did I mention it has rocks?”
So we decided we’d had enough desert, and headed out of Arizona. We had a BIG choice to make: head east and see some sights we missed last year and/or wanted to see again in the southeast, OR head back to Oregon coast to resume house hunting. We chose the latter and headed west, then north up I-5. We stopped in San Francisco for a couple of days for more CC’s (clam chowder and cable cars), then headed up Route 101 again, eventually getting back to Newport, Oregon.
Dick, Marti, & Glen RT09/10C190P “no more deadlines” Allegany NY