Friday, October 22, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 17

We left Williams, The Gateway to The Grand Canyon, at 9:36 in 43 degree temperature (after breakfasting at Pine Country Restaurant) headed for Barstow, CA. We switched off drivers every 60 miles which made the 317 miles go faster. Yes, Fannie Mae is an excellent driver. If you have forgotten, refer to the photo gallery on Day One.

Stopped at Starbucks in Kingman, AZ so Buzzard #2 could get a mocha. Apparently Kingman is also very proud of being on Old Route 66. Their motto is Kingman: Heart of Route 66. John recalled that we had been to this very same Starbucks on our previous Arizona Road Trip. Just out of Kingman we passed by Holy Moses Wash (a dry creek bed under a bridge). Also went through Lake Havisu, the new home of the Old London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. But we didn't stop to see it or sing the song (until now).

Arrived in Barstow at Quality Inn around 2:30 and had to wait about an hour because of their computer system problems. Then when we got to our room they had just started to clean it. We had leftovers from last night's dinner for our lunch.

Barstow, California was founded in 1888 when the Santa Fe Railroad arrived. Located on the Mojave River, the area had already become a thriving mining center when silver was discovered six miles north in the Calico Mountains in 1882.

Named for the president of the Santa Fe Railroad, William Barstow Strong, Barstow thrived along with the nearby successful mining towns of Daggett and Calico. However, as the silver began to play out in the nearby mines, Daggett and Calico began to die, but Barstow grew as it became a busy rail center. At the turn of the century, rail travel was considered glamorous and in 1911 the Fred Harvey Company opened up the Casa Del Desierto where gourmet cuisine was served on fine china to the many travelers along the rails.

Comfortable, luxurious rooms rested the weary rail travelers as the Harvey Girls served food and provided information. The Harvey House had a reputation for friendliness and hospitality and became the focus not only for travelers but for locals. Barstow's Harvey House was equipped with a full ballroom and was the site for many of the town's dances and social events. At one time, Barstow's main street was right in front of the train station and the Harvey Hotel. However, in the 1920's the Santa Fe Railroad literally bought the whole street and moved it to where it is today. The grand opening for the "new" Main Street was July 4, 1925. Today the town's motto is Barstow Crossroads of Opportunity.

When we left our lodging to pick up our pizza from Route 66 Pizza Palace we noticed people lined up on both sides of the street like they were waiting for a parade to start. All the traffic lights were blinking red and there were more and more police and military vehicles manned with uniformed service people in place. Soon we discovered that they WERE waiting for a parade to start – a military parade – and we were headed towards where the parade was lining up to start and the road back to our motel would soon be blocked. A nice policeman told us to get our pizza and then get on the interstate to get back to our motel. We did that (Linda had to get out and move a barricade at one point). And when we got back to within a block of our motel it was blocked off. But we found a way through a fast food parking lot to get there. Whew! The pizza was still warm and was most delicious.

This was strictly a day of travel over old territory. No photo gallery

Today's Good Earth teabag philosophy is in honor of our military men and women: “A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882)

John did grab a random Pot-Shot for today.

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