Turning the Corner

Those from up north need to be careful what they wish for.  Several people have mentioned missing having a white Christmas.  Yesterday it snowed in Malibu, California.  Malibu!

We spent the morning doing chores.  Dave installed the cable cover things he bought at Home Depot to cover the black cable runs up the wall behinds his side of the dinette.  And I did a bunch more research since we about to head in a new direction.  And I learned how to order prescription refills online to be picked up a a WalMart down the road.

Which is likely to be a problem in the future.  I have four prescriptions I take daily.  The WalMart website only listed one of them.  Fortunately it is the one I need now.  But I need them to figure out where the others are before I need to refill them as well.

Looking out my window here at San Elijo State Beach I see the camp host and rangers shoveling sand off the roads and parking pads.  The rain moved things around a bit.  I’m so glad we aren’t workcamping someplace where we are expected to shovel wet sand!

This park has recycling bins, which I approve of, and the money they get from that supports their Junior Ranger program, which I also approve of.  The more kids we get turned on to nature, the better off our earth will be.  I remember when our daughter was a Junior Ranger and she still cares more for the earth than most people her age.

We drove by a beach parking lot with an interesting problem.  The dunes that keep the ocean off the pavement are also keeping the rain on the pavement.  There are still plenty of parking spaces for the people who go to this beach on a December weekday, though.

The bus stop at the corner had a sign on it saying, “Bike Stop.”  Dave’s guess is that is where buses with bike racks stop so you can load your bike on board to move you further along your route.

So what do you think of “Dexter’s Deli: Health Food for Dogs and Cats”?  In my time as a pet owner that was known as Purina.

Part of the road was flooded.  We drove slowly though the water.  Some people never slowed at all. Apparently four-wheel drive makes you nuts.  It doesn’t waterproof your engines, people.

We stopped at REI in San Diego to buy some collapsible water jugs that have spigots so you can set them on your counter and use them instead of water from the fresh water tank. We also bought some other stuff while we were there. The checkout clerk asked me if I had used my 20% discount yet and she looked surprised when I said, “Yes.” She thanked me for being honest about it. What type of world have we become where honesty is a surprise.

We needed to turn onto Convoy Street. I kept calling it Caravan Street. That’s what a convoy is called in the RV world.

The leaves in San Diego are changing color. Looks like Minnesota in October. Does not look like Christmas. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I don’t want snow.

In El Cajon, California, we stopped at Denny’s being careful not to run over the brown bag with the bottle in it standing in their parking lot. The staff there was amazing. One host/server, one cook, and one bus/dishwasher serving everyone cheerfully while joking with one another. The food was perfectly prepared. I would go there again. 

The staff was friendly at the Circle RV Resort in El Cajon, too. We stopped early enough to do some more chores. Dave caulked our leaky window and plugged in my Segway to charge it while I exchanged books. Then we both did more computer stuff. Alway, always more computer stuff.



Day 36 Route 66

As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve had some problems with timing our stops. Today’s third stop was for lunch so I didn’t want to get on the road too soon after breakfast because I knew Dave wouldn’t stop too early for lunch. So I talked him into installing the new Segway seat. Of course the battery has been discharging while sitting back there on it’s hitch mount, so now it needed to be plugged in awhile before I could test the seat. By then we were both antsy to get on the road so the seat didn’t get much of a test. We’ll have to do that sometime when we are parked for a day or two. Now, at 11:40 a.m. we need to get back on Route 66 and see how long today’s events take.

On the way to our first stop I saw a Stanley Steemer truck advertising air duct cleaning. Back in Minneapolis, Stanley Steemer was our carpet cleaning company. Maybe here, where there’s not all that winter muck to clean up, they need something else to do.

In Monrovia, California, we stopped at the Aztec Hotel. Interesting decor, huh?  It’s called pre-Columbian and it was built in 1925.

Then we tried to stop in Arcadia, California, for pictures of the Santa Anita Racetrack’s 1930s architecture but there are few places it is possible to stop and none of them are good ones so you have to settle for these pictures until you can go see it for yourselves.


Then we drove down Colorado Boulevard singing the few words we could remember of “Little Old Lady from Pasadena.”

In South Pasadena, we ate lunch at the Fair Oaks Pharmacy. This old fashioned drug store still has a “classic” soda fountain and what I’ve always known as “ice cream tables and chairs.” The food was good but the staff was very disorganized. A one hour parking limit should be enough for lunch, right? It wasn’t but we didn’t get a ticket. Also, note that they still sell the item in the second sign. I haven’t seen such a thing since I was a young bride back in the 1960s.


Here’s LA’s version of a muffler man type statue:  chicken boy.

3:30 p.m. appears to be the wrong time of day for sightseeing in LA. Traffic is thick and slow. But, maybe there is no right time of day here?

We drove by the Formosa Cafe but there was no place to stop except blocking driveways or red curbs and we’ve already been waved on by one traffic control officer today. Their sign was backlit by the sun so it wouldn’t photograph well anyway. I’d like to have gone inside to see some of the photos of famous people but it really was getting late so we kept heading towards the beach.

Dave stuck his head out the side window along the way to get this picture of the Hollywood sign. We’ll have to came back someday to get a better one.

We skipped the Peterson Automotive Museum.  If we’re lucky they’ll still be showing “From Autocamps to Airstreams: The Early Road to Vacationland” next time we are in town.  It would be a perfect ending to a Route 66 tour, don’t you think?

The ocean turned out to be a lot further down Santa Monica Boulevard than I expected and with all that traffic the sun set just before we got there so this pictue through the car window was the best I could do today. Palisades Park and the Santa Monica Pier will also have to wait for another day. They aren’t officially part of Route 66, they just seemed like a perfect place to end this trip.

It was full dark by the time we pulled into Malibu Beach RV Park so we said a mountain view instead of an ocean view would be fine. It’s not like we could see either one anyway. Tomorrow is another day but for now we are done traveling Route 66. I hope you enjoyed our trip.

The end.



Day 35 Route 66

Wow! I went into the library here to exchange books and found a huge collection. I didn’t have time to look at many of them so I just grabbed a bunch and hope they are good ones.

I just saw a local bus. It was turquoise with pink trim. We are NOT in Minnesota anymore.

The Summit Inn Cafe was our first stop this morning. Based on its name I expected something like the lodges in the Glacier National Park. Nope  It’s fine for what it is; it just isn’t what I was expecting.


Cajon Summit is the oddest summit I’ve ever seen. First, you start from the Mojave Plateau so you don’t climb much to reach it. Then you start going down 12 miles without going over the mountains you see in front of you. In fact you never go over those mountains; you go between them. So you don’t ever feel like you reached the summit.

At the bottom you turn onto Foothill Boulevard and drive forever. It is hard for me to write foothill as singular as if there’s only one but that’s the name of the road. Here’s a view from the boulevard.

Our first stop on Foothill Boulevard was Bono’s Historic Orange. I’m sure that’s not what it was called back in the day when someone spent the day inside this thing selling orange juice. I’m not sure why they don’t still do that, though. 

Our next stop was REI, where we picked up a month’s worth of freeze dried dinners/deserts. That was one BIG box. Fortunately, a clerk offered to carry it out to the RV for me. He was impressed with our little house.

Our next stop was the post office where we picked up our regular mail plus another new Segway seat. There was a really helpful clerk there who opened the General Delivery pickup window just for us. He was funny too. He made me swear that box was really for me.

While looking for the next Route 66 museum we stumbled on another beverage container recycling center so Dave got rid of our bag of cans and got a receipt that could be cashed in the store for $2.99. We are not used to being paid to recycle. We needed to buy a few things so Dave went in and collected.

We never did find that museum. There is now a winery/BBQ place at that address.

We did find the Sycamore Inn which has been there since 1848. The trees made it hard to get a good picture but you can see it looks more like the lodge I expected the Summit Inn Cafe to be.

We had planned to eat at the Buffalo Inn where I could have another Buffalo Burger but we never found it. We found a sign for what I think was their overflow parking but not the restaurant.

Then we stopped at what we think was the Claremont Griswold Center. It didn’t exactly match the address we had but it was at the right intersection and it did meet the description of an old school. I suspect this was one of the places where white men tried to “civilize” American Indians. It is now a business center that is being renovated.


Then we went looking for the Fairplex RV Park. Again the address we had wasn’t right. The GPS said we passed it so we took the next right and found the entrance to the fair grounds. A guy there gave us correct directions so here we are, safely tucked in elbow to elbow with lots of other RVs with time to do laundry and unpack that big box of food.



Day 34 Route 66

Dave finally persuaded me we can go north instead of south when we finish Route 66 in a couple of days so this morning he made appointments to get our solar panels and our anti-sway system installed in Oregon starting next week. Now we have deadlines to keep us moving. Still, by the time we got all that done, we didn’t depart Newberry Springs, California, until 10:45 a.m. 

Today’s train comment is about locomotive maintenance. The stack train had two shiny BNSF locomotives and a very dirty Union Pacific one. Does the BNSF not maintain borrowed power? Do they just want to look better than their competitors? I wonder why the difference?

There appear to be two items being harvested in this part of California. We went by an orchard with signs advertising pistachios for sale. Then we went by a field of solar panels with major power lines leaving it. I highly approve of harvesting the sun. We should be able to do that ourselves soon.

In Barstow, California, we stopped at the regional Bureau of Land Management office to see if we could get clarification about annual permits. The answer is no. Apparently each region is totally separate from the others and this region doesn’t have any permits other than charging $6 to stay in their official campgrounds. You can boondock (park off the road without any hookups) for free anywhere around here.  I expect to do more of that once we get our solar system.

Then we drove by the El Rancho Motel hoping to get a good picture of their sign. That didn’t happen either. A chinese restaurant has co-opted part of the sign which totally ruined the effect. And the really big sign way up in the air was backlit by the sun so that picture didn’t come out.

Then we went to the train depot hoping the Route 66 Mother Road Museum there would be open even though the literature said they wouldn’t be. They weren’t. But we did get these pictures of the former Casa Del Desierto Hotel, another former Harvey House.


Then we went to the Flying J and got fuel for the RV and for us. We spent time in their restaurant trying to blend my list of stops with Dave’s list of turns in the route. That should make things a little easier for me as navigator. Trying to bounce back and forth between the two lists has become too frustrating.

We passed a sign that said, “Buckboard Road” which made me wonder if the wagon seat known as a buckboard got its name from it trying to buck you off. We’ve been on some roads lately that tried to buck us off and those were “improved” roads.

We got to Victorville, California, in time to actually get into the California Route 66 Museum. They had a bunch of cool stuff including this teardrop trailer that was built by one of their board members from old plans. You used to be able to buy a kit to make these so the guy decided he should be able to build one. Inside the main body is all bed with a shelf at the head and a cupboard at the foot. The back hatch opens to reveal a kitchen.  Cool, huh?


We also saw this sign at the New Corral Motel. I’d like to see these neon signs all lit up at night but we like to be in camp and all hooked up by sunset so seeing them lit is not likely to happen.

We needed groceries again and there aren’t any WalMarts around here so we stopped at Stater Bros. in Hesperia, California, instead. They had a beverage container recycling center in their parking lot so we thought we were going to get rid of another bag of cans. But California refunds deposits on cans so the place is only open when it is staffed. Guess what? Right.

So now we are in the Desert Willow RV Resort in Hesperia where I plan to exchange my books before we leave. I hope they have some good ones here.



Day 33 Route 66

Dust storms can make for beautiful sunsets. This was taken from our campsite in Bullhead City, Arizona.

This morning was confusing. When I got up the wind was blowing and Dave was awake but still in bed. So, I was surprised that he got frustrated that I was not getting ready to depart. When I asked how I was supposed to know we were leaving he admitted he didn’t know. He’d told me the day before he wanted to go but he also said the wind was not supposed to be as strong and that’s what has kept us here. So we packed up and left about 10:30.

And went all the way to the corner. For fuel. Once again we are buying Arizona fuel before crossing back into California. It’s hot and humid from my morning shower in the RV but I don’t want to open windows while I wait for Dave to get fuel because it’s dusty enough in here. 

Finally, on the road again. We both have the urge to backtrack, Dave to see some bridges we missed and me to photograph a motel but we agree we need to be moving forward so we head back to Needles, California, and right on through it following the roads Dave has listed after studying the route.

For a ways anyway. When we get to the left turn at Mountain Spring Road we see this:

We decided not to turn there. Instead we continued down Goff Road which had Route 66 signs along it assuring us we made the right decision.

We are now driving, once again, on the National Trails Highway, a tribute to the old trails that the newer roads followed. Alongside us is a dike that channels the water to specific crossings. The local teens have developed a low impact form of graffiti here.

We stopped for lunch in Amboy, California, at Roy’s Motel and Cafe. In spite of the big signs, though, they no longer serve food here so we went away hungry.

Amboy also has a volcanic crater you can walk around if you have about three hours available to do so. It’s weird driving through the desert occasionally seeing volcanic rock. We don’t think of the U.S. as having volcanoes outside of Hawaii even after the eruption of Mt St Helens.

We saw a double-track double-stack piggyback train meet which was a lot more fun to say than it was to watch.

In Ludlow, California, we found a gas station with a DQ where Route 66 crosses I-40. It was doing a booming business. Apparently we aren’t the only ones who need sustenance along this empty stretch of road.

This section of Route 66 is frontage road for the freeway but there is nothing alongside it so it is not maintained. The pavement is so rough Dave is driving with one wheel, and sometimes both, on the gravel shoulder. The fact that the gravel shoulder provides a smoother ride than the pavement should give you some idea of the number of cracks and holes in this road. Dave was driving 15 m.p.h. and still we were jerking around so much my seat belt engaged so I couldn’t lean forward. So, when we found another freeway entrance ramp at Hector Road, we abandoned Route 66 as I gave a huge sigh of relief. That stretch wore me out and I wasn’t even driving!

We were back on a better stretch of Route 66 pavement when we entered Newberry Springs, California, where we saw the Bagdad Cafe, another famous place no longer serving food.

Then we turned north headed for the Twin Lakes RV Park. Wow! No wind noise. No highway noise. Shade trees. Ponds. What a difference from the last few campgrounds.  If the ducks and geese here sleep well, I should, too.