Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Happiest Ghost Town on Earth

Theo and I spent the night miserably shivering under our thin sheets, each worried about shutting off the air conditioning and bothering the other person. We got some sleep, but not of the highest quality.

Since we'd gone to bed early, we got up fairly early anyway. We packed up and set out, driving through Needles on our way out. There were some quaint leftovers of time gone past, and to add to the atmosphere, trains going by. But in the end there wasn't a whole lot to see, and we got on the freeway.

After a few minutes on the 40 and then the 95, we got ourselves onto historic Route 66. If I'd ever been on this road, I don't remember. The first part of the road wasn't so bad, with parts that had been recently paved. There weren't too many other people driving it, so we slowed down and took pictures of the ghost-houses and structures that we'd pass from time to time. When we couldn't see any signs of life in the area we questioned the even meager population count of a few of the signs.

I have a soft spot for modern ruins, and they kept the desert interesting.

We stopped at Roy's Motel Cafe in Amboy and filled up. According to wikipedia Amboy has a population somewhere between 4 and 8, and we saw a few lively looking palm trees in the area. At the cafe we each picked up an unabashedly tourist, and amusing, Route Beer, as a souvenir from our trip.

Next stop was the Amboy Crater. In theory we could go climb it. But it was hot, and the two Ravens hovering nearby were looking a little too eager. We got back into the car and traveled further along.

Next stop was Calico. I didn't have high expectations for Calico. I'd read up and knew that most of it was reproductions build by Walter Knott (of Knott's berry farm). We paid our fee and walked up the paved road through the scattering of shack like buildings, and since we were hungry, went to the restaurant. We sat outside swatting flies, and when I saw the little train go by, I pretty much knew that my low expectations would be met.

I don't want to be mean to the theme-park like ghost town. For certain people, those who are actually afraid of ghost towns, and those that need to entertain small children, Calico might be just right. But it was cute. And I don't like my ghost towns cute. I want to be creeped out. And having already been to Bodie, which I would return to in a heartbeat, Calico didn't have great chances of usurping it's place in my heart anyway.

But the food was very good, though we worried about what it would do to our insides. After wards we made a brief trek through the little town, but didn't linger too long. We noted with amusement that we seemed to be the only people who spoke english, a majority of the visitors were from tour buses.

Luckily the car wasn't too boiling hot when we got inside and headed for Barstow. It was still early afternoon but we decided to take it easy. Theo had been talking about taking a dip in the swimming pool, but two things got in the way of that. One, it was the size of an enlarged kiddy pool. Two, it's location as centerpiece to the parking lot.

Still, we decided to go in anyway. But Theo's days of gleefully jumping into frigidly cold water are apparently over, and he daintily sat with his feet in the water for a few minutes. I made it up to my belly. We'd had enough.

We relaxed for the rest of afternoon, knitting and listening to Penny Arcade's D&D podcasts, letting our legs relax. Though somewhat traumatized by the heavy meals we'd indulged in, Barstow didn't have a lot to offer in the way of light, salad dining. We opted to go to a local place well-reviewed on Yelp, Lola's Kitchen. After feasting on delicious and cheap tacos and quesadillas, we went back to the hotel to take it easy for the rest of the evening.

We made a vow that if either of us were freezing in the night, they were allowed to turn the air conditioning off.

1 comment:

Meggish said...

I do like those towns where the population is allegedly 54 or whatever, but you look around and it's just a gas station and one closed restaurant surrounded by open desert. Where are they hiding those residents?!