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Mojave Desert


Day 12: The Outlying Areas of Barstow

I spent two years of my life living in Barstow and I’m still fairly familiar with the area, but I never really did much photography of the outlying desert communities….which are really just houses scattered here and there with lots of abandonment in between. So that was my mission on this trip. I had some idea of the locations where I wanted to go so I headed in that general direction and just drove around for a while.Although it’s so easily recognized and I’d been there before, I stopped to take the token photo of Peggy Sue’s Diner.At this point, I already had to use the bathroom so I thought I’d drive to Newberry Springs and visit my next stop: the Bagdad Cafe. Why I didn’t think to use the bathroom in Peggy Sue’s is beyond me. The Bagdad Cafe was the set location for the movie of the same name. I’d never been to the cafe so I decided that I’d check it out since it was along my route. Of course, I stopped to photograph a few things along the way there.

I was quickly reminded that I needed to use the bathroom when I left so I made a quick escape to a gas station not far away. The gas station had a convenience store and a grill where you could get food made to order (keep in mind that this IS the desert). When I left, I spotted one of the female employees who had no front teeth. She smiled and continued to play with the huge gap with her tongue. Gross. I continued my journey…mostly along Route 66.

I reached the town of Daggett where I took some photos of buildings, but also paid a visit to a Pioneer Cemetary. I had known (and forgotten) that it existed, but I don’t recall ever being there in the past.

I could have stayed out taking more photos, but I really wanted to pick up my new prescription…and I hadn’t really eaten much all day. I wasn’t feeling too great that night and had a little fever so I decided to stay at the hotel one more night. I’m glad that I did and I felt much better the next day.






Day 11: Off to the Desert

I left Morro Bay in the morning.  I didn’t sleep to well due to numerous trips to the bathroom, kids laughing and yeling at 2am in the campground, etc etc.  It was cold, but I stayed pretty warm in my sleeping bag.  But I seem to have developed a rash all over my arms and legs…possibly from the antibiotic that I was prescribed.  I stuck it out and hoped it would go away.

Though I love the central coast in all its beauty, I was starting to get fed up with the colder weather and looking forward to the warm weather in the desert.  I drove for 6 hours…through rolling green hills, hills covered with wildflowers, through the San Joaquin Valley orchards and farms, through the Chevron oil pumps, and finally onto Route 58 that leads to the desert….through Tehachapi with the wind generators, past Edward’s Air Force Base, and the airplane graveyard in Mojave.

I stopped at a rest area where there were only restrooms…and this little brown van selling espresso and coffee…in the middle of the desert.  I talked to them for a while.  I bought some hot tea from the Cruzin’ Coffee truck and then hit the road again.

I stopped at Four Corners where Route 58 meets 395 and took some photos of an abandoned hotel.

I arrived in the Barstow area and decided to drive around for a while scoping things out and seeing what has changed.  Let me just say that there’s a Home Depot now!  I stopped and took some photos of more abandoned places before I decided that it was time to find a place to sleep for the night.

I thought about staying at another campground, but really wanted to be close to a bathroom and have a good night’s sleep and a hot shower.  So I stopped by a Motel 6 where I thought I found a bargain room for $37/night.  I should have known better.  When I got to my room, it looked like the bed had been slept in, the towels didn’t look clean, the sink was dirty, there were dead bugs floating in the toilet, but the icing on the cake that made me leave was finding hairs scattered throughout the room.  Not to mention that there seemed to be sketchy characters lingering around.  So I went to a hotel down the street that I knew was good and I had stayed at in the past.

The whole hospital ordeal really seemed to rain on my parade for this trip.  It is such an inconvenience to have to always be close to a bathroom.  And let me tell you that it ain’t fun when you’re driving around in the desert where there are no bathrooms.  Anyway, I relaxed in my room, contemplated what I’m going to do about the rest of my trip, looked at some photos….while I also felt an earthquake.  I wasn’t sure if it was one or the building shaking and there was no data on USGS for it until yesterday.  It was a small 1.2 (according to USGS)…not very strong, but I did feel it.

The rash still hadn’t gone away and I was itchy.  I decided that I was going to stop taking the prescription and call my Philly doctor the next day for a new prescription.