Sunday 13 August 2017
Day Seventeen - Barstow to Las Vegas via Kelso - 189 Miles
Well, the gods decided to punish me for a moment of hubris on the final day of my road trip. I congratulated myself on my personal organisation as I packed up in the last motel of the trip. I hadn't lost a single thing. It wasn't until I was over an hour out of Barstow I remembered that the chargers for my phone and my laptop were still plugged into the walls. That meant an expensive shopping trip when I arrived in Las Vegas.
Instead, I took the interstate to Newberry Springs and joined there. Newberry Springs, another Route 66 ghost town, contains an important place of Route 66 pilgrimage - the Bagdad Cafe.
The cafe is famous because of the German 1988 movie of the same name. It's not in Bagdad - as I discovered yesterday, it's nothing more than a tree in the middle of nowhere. The remaining buildings of the town having been razed in 1991. The movie was filmed at the nearby Sidewinder Cafe in Newberry Springs, which has since renamed itself to capitalise on the movie's popularity.
From Newberry Springs they're resurfaced the road, making for a fast, easy drive back to Ludlow. Sometimes (although I shouldn't admit this) I found myself going faster than the cars on the nearby interstate.
Back at Ludlow, I stopped to take a look at the Crucero Road that goes deep into the Mojave desert - it's just a dirt track, and I know my Jeep wouldn't be up to it. I'll save that for another day - and anyway, I had a much easier drive into the desert coming up.
It was an important stop on the Union Pacific Railroad as it was one of the few places to get water in the Mojave desert. The depot expanded to include a restaurant and other facilities in a grand station in the Spanish Style.
After Kelso, it's more desert road, surrounded by cactus, until picking up the main road into Las Vegas - and the end of my road trip! 2,960 miles later ...