Thursday, 27th December
Left at 8:15, south along Highway 99 through the big cities of Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield and stopping for lunch at Tehachapi which had 6000 people. We drove through fruit growing and fairly populated areas. We could see snow capped mountains to the west. The landscape was very dry. We had lunch at Taco Bell which we enjoyed – a fast food without fries! There was also a choice of about 10 soft drinks from the machine. After Bakersfield the landscape became more arid – no tress, low scrub – the Mohave Desert. We passed a boron mine and Edward’s Airforce base. This stretch of highway has been featured in movies – Westerns (Forest Gump ran along it). The nuclear bomb was tested in this desert and it’s an alternate space shuttle landing site. We looked through an antique shop at the junction of highway 58 and 395 (coming south from Sacramento), where there was an abandoned motel. We saw a number of car/machinery/RV graveyards and some rather derelict homes. We also saw lots of holiday makers with huge RVs, often cars towed behind and one with a boat trailer with extras including a Christmas tree.
We arrived in Barstow and found a nice motel ($69) after enquiring at one which was $109 but when I said I would talk to my husband, he (a little old Mexican) lowered the price to $89. We arrived at 3:30 and watched TV and read local news and brochures and relaxed after our 6 hour drive. There seems to be a lot to see around Barstow (route 66, older silver mines, ghost towns and caves) but we return from Vegas to San Diego through this town so we will see more then.
The hotel has two cacti at the front which are 2 storeys high.