Day 5 – TheDesert and the Mountains

The most fun day yet! This is what I imagined when I started thinking about this trip. We spent the night in Victorville

This is where we would join the Mother Road when I was a child. We’d head out of Palmdale down Highway 138 and take the cutoff to Victorville. A trip of maybe 50 miles? This driving is what I remember: lots of open desert with nothing but telephone poles to mark the miles.

We left Victorville at 7:30 in the morning and headed back to Emma Jean’s Holland Burger for breakfast. What a kick. The waitress is the owner and she was a blast.


There were a bunch of locals in having breakfast. We tooled around Victorville a bit but the museum was closed (a recurring theme we were later to find out). Outside of Victorville is the bottle forest. We stopped in, took some pictures and met the owner. Retired from Manhattan Beach in SoCal; he’s been working on it for about 8 years now.


Then up through the desert into Barstow, where we stopped at the depot but found the museum to be closed. We got a couple of pictures though!
Also in Barstow is the El Rancho Barstow hotel. Built completely of railroad ties when the old Tonopah railroad went defunct.


We also saw the “66 Motel”; the name alone demanded a picture.


Then, the serious lonely desert through Amboy. We lost sight of I-40 for miles but ran next to the railroad tracks. The temperature topped 112 degrees. When we stopped for pictures, it was quick clicks then back to the air conditioned comfort of the car. We came across the shoe tree, where people leave shoes on some random tree .
Then we went through Needles, crossed the Colorado River into Arizona and headed up to Oatman and Sitgreaves pass. This alignment was bypassed in 1952, so we never travelled it when I was a kid. Oatman is a little burb up in the mountains and it has burros roaming the streets. We bought a beautiful purple bottle that will go in our new kitchen cabinet when we the remodel is done.
The road was NOT built like they build roads today; lots of dips; narrow with steep drops and no guard rails. Carla drove this stretch and had white knuckles by the time got to the valley. When I told her I was a little worried, she said “do what I do and close your eyes!” Here is a picture looking east just after we crested the summit.
We passed Cool Springs on the way to Kingman.

Kingman is TRAIN CITY. We pulled into Kingman at 6:15 (that’s more than 9 hours of driving) where it was a relatively balmy 103 degrees. We relaxed in the pool and headed to a really great Mexican restaurant for Margaritas and dinner. This was a much longer day than we had anticipated, but we wouldn’t have changed a thing.

About howardwthompson

I'm a person who likes to travel, read, cook, and eat
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7 Responses to Day 5 – TheDesert and the Mountains

  1. Fletch says:

    Looks like you two are having a ball. It also looks like you had that poor waitress/owner laughing her butt off; typical of you Howard. I hope that air conditioning is working well in that car because I dont believe there has been a day in your trip that hasn't reached 100; ok maybe the first day. The towns you have passed through look quaint and sorry to hear the museums have been closed. As for the missing guard rails on a windy road, isn't that standard SOP for roads way back when. Keep up the posting and keep cool.

  2. Fletch says:

    Howard, your slacking and having to much fun on vacation. Today is July 6th and now you are two days behind in your posting. Come on, where is the geek in you that should stay up till wee hours in the morning just to get your blog up to spec… OK, guess I'll wait till tomorrow and see if you catch us up. 😦

  3. Anonymous says:

    WOW!! Looks like you guys are having a blast…and a HOT one at that. Good train pictures. I assume you're in Winslow today. Aren't you doing family things? And isn't this the great hotel room place?

    Your breakfast place looked perfect. So jealous!! Yea for you, Carla, for driving on dangerous terrain.

    It's been fun following your trip. Looking forward to the next post. Maybe I'll do something like this when we go to Montana. I know how much you like camping and all….Dianne

  4. bud says:

    Great pics, How! Keep them coming. The landscape is beautiful. The trains are also very cool. Maybe you could talk your way into the cockpit of one of those babies at one of the depots – that would be a major score! — Keep pushin' on – Bud

  5. Fletch says:

    Ditto of my July 6th comment πŸ™‚ Hope all is going well.

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