We left the Viking Trailer Park in Kingsburg by 8:00 or so and headed to McDs for Sausage McMuffins and wifi. Once we were breakfasted and all caught up with internet stuff, we headed off.
The first 25 miles were on 99 but then we headed east at Tulare and caught Highway 65 at Lindsay before turning south again. What a difference! Highway 99 had been narrow (because they’re working on it) and chuck-a-block with cars and trucks travelling near the speed of sound. This is what Hwy 65 looked like:
We passed miles and miles and miles of orange groves, most with trees just loaded down with fruit ready to be picked, as evidenced by the abundance of oranges lying on the ground. We passed through a few little towns. It was a much more relaxed trip than the day before had been.
We passed through the eastern edge of Bakersfield and got on Hwy 58 towards Barstow. The traffic thickened up a bit in B’field but thinned out nicely as we got further from town. We stopped at a fruit stand (more of a store actually) and bought some oranges and apples and I bought a jar of “Extra Hot Garlic-Stuffed Olives” which turned out not to be hot at all and had a decidedly more vinegary taste than the ones I’d sampled at the store. Ah well….
We decided to pull off at Mojave for gas and lunch. The country leading to Mojave was notable for having far and away the most windmills I think I’ve ever seen. Had them in various sizes as well, not just the super large ones we’re used to seeing on the Columbia Gorge. You might have to blow these photos up to get a good feel, but there are hundreds of windmills in them.
On looking at them now, I don’t think the photos even begin to show just how many windmills there were.
After lunch we pressed on towards Barstow. I had finally shed my flannel shirt for the first time in the trip and we turned off the cabin heater for the first time as well. As you can see in the photos above, we were also enjoying blue skies again. As we toodled down the road, we passed Edwards Air Force Base which, I gather and sort of recollect, was the site of lots of experimental flying hijinks as well as being intimately connected to the space program. We also passed a bunch of mining operations. From the names of roads and towns (Twenty Mule Team Road, Clay Mine Road, Boron, Soap Mill Road, etc.) we gathered that they probably mined borax, clay, boron and something to make soap out of. We also passed an old billboard that said something about “Home of Spaceship One” and then showed a picture of some weird spacecraft I’d never seen before. Looked sort of like what they probably would have imagined the space shuttle to look like back in the 60s.
Not sure where we’d be staying last night, we pulled off in the tiny town of Boron to get a few groceries, check out the RV park, and take in a museum I’d seen a sign for that, I thought, said it was dedicated to Borax and Aerospace. Turned out that was reference to two different museums. We stopped at the Aerospace one.
All in all, we weren’t that impressed although, had we been more into aerospace stuff I’m sure it would have been fascinating. We decided not to spend the night in Boron and pushed on for Barstow.
Driving down the main street of Barstow, the business names don’t let you forget that this used to be the famous “Mother Road”, Route 66. “Winslow, Arizona. Don’t forget Winona. Kingston, Barstow, San Bernadino….” “Route 66”. What a great song. Great TV show, too, or at least that’s how I remember it. Other than that, it’s just a great bit of Americana.
Barstow has a population of around 24,000. But driving down the main street we were beginning to think they all shopped at little convenience markets because we definitely were not seeing any kind of market that could be called “super”. But, finally we found a Von’s and stopped for more groceries. We’re planning on spending the next couple nights in Joshua Tree National Park so we’d need some provisions. As we were walking across the parking lot, it suddenly struck us that it was warm! It was in the mid 70’s, I was in a t-shirt and Lulu in a long-sleeve t-shirt and we were both quite comfortable. What a nice change. And it should just keep getting better.
After Von’s we went off in search of an RV Park. Dora led us to Shady Lane RV Park. The old coot who ran the place copped an attitude right off the bat. Just one of those geezer attitudes that sort of makes you not want to give him any of your money.
Geezer: “We have a discount for Good Sam.”
Me: “How about AAA?”
Geezer: “We have a discount for Good Sam.”
Sheesh! Then he launched into a story about how AAA had screwed over his old man three times in 30 years. Tried to tell him how to run his business, dadgummit!
Then, when we found out that the reported “wifi available” was provided by an independent company for an additional $5/ day on top of the $35 to stay, we decided to look elsewhere. We ended up cutting off our noses to spite our face as we paid $42 at a KOA a few miles east of town but, the wifi is included, there are tons of showers and bathrooms and there was a decided lack of ‘tude.
Later today, we’ll be pressing on to Joshua Tree National Park where we plan to spend at least 2 nights. So, there’ll be no blog updates for a couple days as the likelihood of wifi being available is pretty much nil.
BTW, just opened the curtains (8:00) and the sky is BRIGHT blue and nary a cloud to be found.