Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 1 - Morgan Hill, CA to Barstow, CA

[Morgan Hill, CA to Barstow, CA] We left home at something near 6:41 a.m. on November 14, 2009. We made our traditional breakfast stop at the Daily Bagel Cafe in Tennant Station, then we hit the road. Check out the short video below which sort of documents our departure. (A helpful suggestion: Start the video, then pause it. It will continue to download while you read the rest of today's posting. Then scroll back up to the video and play it.)

John said that driving on I-5 is "boring". Linda didn't think so, but then again, she wasn't driving! (except from the back seat). Something over 120 miles of 'straight as an arrow' road, and our "flat broke" state can't afford to keep the Rest Areas open. We reported this on our Washington State road trip.

Nonetheless, as we passed Coalinga, John began making up a song about being kidnapped and buried in Coalinga on your school bus. Linda piped up, "Honey, I think that was in Chowchilla". A $1 wager was laid on the outcome and John paid off later that evening. Along the way, Linda had noticed some bright yellow signs in the many empty areas interspersed with orchards along the interstate. Each one read, "Congress Created Dust Bowl". We must have seen at least 50 of them.

We did jump off I-5 at Kettleman City for a rest. There is so little along I-5 that there were lots of gas stations and food places at Kettleman City. After "resting", John bought a Snickers bar and we left. On our way out, we found another couple of signs in the same vein as the yellow ones. Here is the message: Congress is in the pocket of the wealthy in Southern California. Never mind the Central Valley being the bread basket of our country. Just go ahead and send the water they need for the bread basket to those down south who are lining your pockets! Can we have an "Amen"?
About 30 miles later, we took off going east on CA46 toward Wasco. Now, it got exciting! Immediately after exiting the interstate and turning east, We were overtaken by a fire truck running code 3 (red lights and siren). A few short miles further and we came upon the accident. It appeared to be a one car accident where the car left the road and rolled down a steep shoulder embankment into a ditch. The top was crushed and the windshield was caved in. The firemen were just unloading a backboard to take down to the vehicle. About five miles further toward Wasco, we met an ambulance coming code 3, obviously headed for the crash scene.

Shortly after passing through the burg of Wasco, we hit Hwy 99 and went south to Bakersfield where we picked up CA58 going east to Barstow and beyond. We went through the Tehachapi Mountains and actually took another rest stop in the town of Tehachapi at a friendly Jack-in-the-Box. John felt guilty about our using their restroom, so he got an Extreme Sausage Sandwich for lunch.

Once you come down from the Tehachapi Mountains, you know you are in the Mojave Desert! We passed Edward AFB and the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. We went past the town of Boron and right by the Borax site where they mine that stuff for Twenty-Mule-Team Borax. It reminded John of Ronald Reagan hosting "Death Valley Days" on TV with Boraxo as the sponsor. After John shot his photos of the Joshua Tree Cactus (another name we bet on) and the Borax Site he returned to the car. He no sooner sat down, than his cell phone rang. Wow, were we puzzled and curious. It was Tim, from Trader Joe's in Petaluma. Someone had found our son's Blackberry in the parking lot and turned it in. Tim found Johns's cell number in the Blackberry and called it. John then called Jay at work and left him a voice mail telling him we knew he lost his phone and if he would call him back, John would tell him where to find it. Haven't heard from him yet. Thing is, we can't call him at home because his home phone is his cell phone! But we did send him an email with all the information he needs to get his phone.

In the Mojave Desert, there is certainly a lot of nothing. Lots of dirt roads running off the main road. You just know there must be hundreds of bodies buried out there.

Our last stop before getting into Barstow, was Kramer Junction. It's an intersection of two two-lane highways: Hwy 58 E-W and Hwy 395 N-S. One traffic light. Tons of traffic and loads of trucks. We did stop at an antique store there for Linda to look for a birthday present for her sister, whom we are visiting later in the coming week. Sadly, she said she wasn't able to find anything older than her sister. Perhaps she'll have better luck tomorrow!

Checked in to our lodging (Quality Inn) at 2:30pm, unloaded and began working on the video to upload and our blog posting. John asked Linda to see if she could find a Long John Silver's. She found one and dutifully wrote down the address. When it was time to leave for dinner (5:00 - they're seniors, remember?) John just as dutifully entered the address into Wilma's GPS. At the end of the motel parking lot, Wilma set up the route which was showed that Long John Silver's was 900 feet away! Hilarious! We could have walked there! And, wonder of wonders, Long John now has quite a few menu items that are broiled instead of being fried. Aarg! Linda had a broiled salmon platter that was quite tasty.

Tomorrow we have a long 400+ mile 6-hour drive to Holbrook, AZ. Wish us luck! Sleep well.

You can view today's photo gallery at by clicking here

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