Jun 11, 2012
KIT™ Day 17
We knew that today was going to be a long one, scheduled for 175 miles - one of the longest of our KIT. So we set the alarm, and because there was not a fitness facility, I went for a swim. I can attest that swimming is more work than an elliptical or a treadmill! I did fifty pool lengths, showered, and then we headed for a bit of breakfast. Once we were on the road, the immediate agenda was to finish up in Needles, so we found El Garces, built in 1908, and being renovated by the city. It will be gorgeous when it is complete.
While we were attempting to leave town, we interpreted the directions and headed North to soon. The only redeeming feature of this misdirection was that I did get a picture of the Colorado river, which is an amazing picture of lushness in this desert environment.
As we were driving through the Mojave desert, we knew that there were supposed to be public art displays on the banks to the North of our road. There were maybe 20 miles of this, and it was very unique.
Danby, while we were looking at an abandoned station/cabins, presented a distant view of the trains that we have been seeing for days. It was really cool to see one train heading east, and one heading west, and combined, they consumed the entire horizon.
Next stop was the mountain pass between Needles and Barstow, named Cadiz Summit. There was not much left there, but it was another public art opportunity, where graffiti was welcomed. I love taking pictures from the inside looking out, and here you can see one looking back, one looking out, and one from the road looking forward as well. This definitely looked very post-apocalyptic.
As we headed west, we were just shy of Amboy, and there was another Shoe Tree. We did our part by putting some of the fallen shoes back into the tree.
The site of Roy's has become an icon for a lonely desert gas stop due to multiple appearances of Roy's in movies. Amboy has it all: airport, garage, cafe, school, church, graveyard. Currently the town of Amboy is owned by Albert Okura, purchased in 2008 for approximately $400-500K. Fortunately he is dedicated to preserving Amboy in a 1950's look and feel and will try to restore the site to it's former glory. I say that he has a tremendous start. The office has been restored and they have started on the rooms, you can see how they look, and also how someone has already decided that it looks inviting. Out front, the cacti landscaping is amazing.
After Roy's, it was the Amboy Crater, where in previous times, there have been volcanic eruptions, and the Mother Road goes through the edge. It was spectacular and unlike anything we had seen. I climbed to the top of a small flow to get you these other two shots, because that is just the way I roll :o)
Once we got into Amboy proper, we rolled up upon Roy's. Take a close look at the first picture, the character sitting outside is William (Bill), from Plymouth/Argos area more than 50 years ago. We bought him a beer and head about the buses that come through, about the original BagDad Cafe, about the movie with the same name, about his family and an unfortunate accident, about his daughter, and about his blue eyes. It was a fun part of the day, but luckily we departed just prior to a tour bus arriving...
Next up was Helendale, and the Polly Gas mascot that showed how "cheep" the gas prices were back in the day.
Also in the Helendale area was the location of the Sagebrush Inn, now gone, but a residence has been built with the stones of the original Inn, and a facade has been built that shows the rumors of ill repute :o)
On the west side of Helendale was the Bottle Tree Ranch, probably my favorite of the day (I was ready to be done with desert). This was very unique and creative.
As we approached Victorville, we came across a huge Riverside Cement facility, it was spectacular. Other aspects of Victorville were not what we hoped, so we headed onto Hesperia, and checked into a Springhill Suites by Marriott. When we got settled in, I went to the Marriott site and booked a room in Santa Monica in the Marina area using Reward Points. It will be fun to say for almost nothing... Sad, but tomorrow is the last day of our KIT :o(