Monday, February 5, 2018

On Avoiding the Commercial Fest Disguised as a Football Game

Road Trippin’
with Steve McCarthy

Constant Reader will know of my disinterest in football, and general loathing for the Stupid Bowel. When the most talked about parts of a sporting event are the commercials, there is something wrong. As usual, we go for a drive. This year was no exception. 

We didn’t leave at the butt-crack of dawn, thinking a lazy start would be just fine. About 8AM, we hit the gas station to fill the Dart (yeah, I know, we took the Modern Car) and headed out the Broken Freeway (aka 210) east, up the 215 and negotiated the tricky bit to exit at Kenwood to take Old 66 up to Cajon Station, hoping to catch a few trains along the way. To do this, you must take the Truck Route part of the Devore Cut Off, as the Automobile Lanes bypass the exit! The signage is a bit confusing, so watch for it! 

Back on the 15, we headed up to see the remnants of the old Summit Inn (sigh), then on to D St. in Victorville to pick up Old 66 to Barstow. This is always an enjoyable drive, past the Polly Gas Station, the Bottle Ranch, and a few other landmarks of a forgotten era on a forgotten road. 

In Barstow we went over to the old Harvey House, El Deserito, and the Rt. 66 Museum. They didn’t open until 11AM, neither did the Railroad Museum.  That’s OK, we still looked around the outside displays of old RR equipment. Always fun. 

From there it was out I40 to Ludlow (since this stretch of road parallels Old 66 within yards, you may as well enjoy the smoothness of the Interstate) and from Ludlow, we were off to Roy’s in Amboy. They still don’t have any meal service, so a bottle of Route 66 Beer (root=route, get it?) and a chat with a few bikers and use of the “facility” were in order. 

WARNING: A section of 66 around Cadiz is closed for bridge repair, so, back up to I40 is required. 

Back on the I40, we headed to lunch in Needles and found the Wagon Wheel. It’s a great old Rt.66 stop with good burgers and nice staff. 

From there, we kept on 66 to Old Town Needles and the newly renovated Harvey House/Train Station, El Garces. It’s not quite finished, but will be great when they’re done. Needles has a good sized rail yard and there was an impressive line up of BNSF trains, waiting to head to LA. 

The best part of the trip was the drive south on US 95 to Blythe. This is a great road, lots of high speed sweepers, whoop-ti-dos, and scenery. At Old Parker Road, we found the “town” of Vidal. Once a water stop for the ATSF, it’s almost a ghost town, weathering away into the desert heat. There’s a great old stone building the Heacock Bldg on “Main St.” that’s worth a look at. It’s boarded up and lots of “NO TRESPASSING” painted on it, so stay clear. Folks out there are often armed! 

Another pee break in Blythe, then on to Indio for dinner. And where else but the El Mexicali and those killer grilled yellow peppers stuffed with shrimp and drizzled with soy sauce! nom nom nom. 

From there it was an easy shot home, but on the Broken Freeway, the Heading Home From the Stupid Bowel Traffic caught up with us. ugh. 

Still, not enough to ruin a great day out.