Day 19 – Sunday
Barstow to Pasadena
Barstow is the home of the Santa Fe depot, which sits alongside the rail line. Like Needles, this town sits firmly alongside the railroad, and with the highways combined, it’s hard to imagine how you would get a goodnight’s sleep sandwiched between rail and road. But with the number of motels doing just that, plenty try, and many say this is a big part of the 66 experience!
Barstow has lots of lovely Route 66 signs and murals once again, but the highlight is Harvey House, one of the last remaining Harvey House hotel buildings, which operated from 1911 to 1971. This one is still the site for the Amtrak station of Barstow, and also houses the railway museum and Route 66 museum.
The journey between Barstow and Victorville us fill of surprises…. our guidebook hasn’t prepared us!
First up is a Wild West style sheriff’s home, just nestled by the road sure. Shortly after we reach the unique and bizarre bottle tree ranch, styled by an eccentric bottle man!
We soon pass our first concrete factory, which towers unexpectedly ahead, dominating the view and casting an eerie shadow. Straight after is the pretty collection of antique stores and eateries at Rio Grande – surprising collections of beautifully displayed antiques and bric-a-brac. No musty smells or dark damp stores – this is vintage, USA style!
As we leave Rio Grande, we spot what looks like a BA plane on the horizon to our right, and decide to take a detour to find out why it is there.
En route, we pass a huge correctional centre, complete with watchtowers. The plane turns out to be just the edge of the old Edward’s Air Force Base, and we can see there are several planes there as we approach. There doesn’t seem to be anyone around (Superbowl Sunday?) so we drive in along the perimeter fence. As we drive further, it becomes apparent that there are hundreds if not thousands of planes here. Turns out it is the ‘home’ for retired planes which are refurbed and sold on, to god knows who. Lots of BA planes here.
I got out of the car to take a few pictures, and I have to say, standing between a plane graveyard, a cement factory and a correctional centre, in the middle of the day, with not a soul to be seen anywhere, was a very odd feeling. There were lots of empty looking office buildings around – like a trading estate – and I would hate to imagine working here. The pictures really don’t do this justice.
San Bernardino is our next stop, or at least drive through. We are nearing LA and the traffic, road signs and navigation is becoming more difficult. So we push on to try to reach pretty Pasadena before it gets too dark.
[PICTURES FROM TODAY TO FOLLOW – LOADING ISSUES – SORRY!]