Thursday, July 7, 2016

Route 66 - Day 10: Kingman to Barstow

I woke up in Las Vegas so first thing I had to do was get back to where I left off. So I got on the highway to Kingman. I could have easily gone from Las Vegas to Barstow; it would have been more economical. But I didn't want to miss any of the Route 66 experience, so I back tracked. I'm so glad I did.

Once I was in Kingman, I got some food for River, ate some food myself, and filled up my gas tank.

As it turns out, the street my motel was on, Andy Devine Ave, was also Old Route 66. I didn't know that when I was staying there earlier this week.

So I got back on that road and followed the signs out of Kingman, headed west.
Kingman is the third 'heart of Route 66' I've come across.


Out of Kingman, Route 66 runs concurrent with AZ-10. It is a winding mountain/desert road that's picturesque and fun to drive.


An American flag flapping in the wind caught my eye from a big turn out in the middle of the winding road. I pulled off to check it out and it seems to be some sort of memorial.

There was wreckage from old cars, art work that people had left, stones carefully stacked up and grave markers.

In the background, you can see Route 66 snaking its way through the mountain.

This was just outside of a town called Oatman, which uses the tagline "Where the Burros Run the Town."  And it's true. The whole town is about a block long and is all decorated in the kitchiest Route 66 Tourism Fest.  Burros run freely in the streets.
Once I passed through Oatman, I was back to the scenic desert, but the road was a lot less winding.
The next town I passed through was Essex, but not much was going on there.
 Then, I passed through Amboy, which didn't have much more going for it than Essex, but it did have this very cool-looking motel. It looked like each room was a free standing bungalow. I couldn't tell if it was still operational, but I couldn't imagine why anyone would stay here in the middle of nowhere.

Amboy also had something called the "Amboy Crater" and what looked like fields of lava, although I didn't know we had volcanos so far south.

I kept following Route 66, even as the road became incredibly rough. When I hit Ludlow, the signs directed me to get back on the Interstate and the road ahead was blocked. I guess it got a bit TOO rough for a while. But I was only on the Interstate for a few miles before it let me get back on the rough road.  By this time, I was in San Bernardino County and I was driving on CR-66.

About 20 minutes before arriving at my final destination, I had to stop in Newberry Springs when I saw The Bagdad (sic) Cafe. I recognized it as the same one from the movie of the same name. I didn't realize it was an actual place, but here it was. They even had the airstreams in the back still.

I saw that they served Buffalo Burgers, and I was hungry so of course I stopped to get one. Unfortunately, a busload of tourists had just arrived, so I had to wade through the throngs taking pictures behind the bar before I found someone who could take my order.

While they made my burger, I fed River his dinner out in the desert where the kid in the movie played with his toy airplane. (I might be remembering the movie wrong; it was well over 10 years ago that I saw it.) By the time we were done, so was my food. They let me bring River to the outdoor table to eat it. By this time, the bus and the throngs had gone, so we got to eat in the desolate peacefulness that the place cries out for.

Unfortunately the burger was as dry as the town, but it was still fun to eat there. And I wasn't hungry anymore when I pulled into the Motel 6 in Barstow.

On the way into town, I noticed a place called Mega Tom's Burgers. Considering the last four burgers I've had were not good, I'm tempted to try this place. I'm determined to have a good burger!

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