Needles, California - January 14, 2007
We spend all day cruising north and east on back roads though the Mojave desert. The roads we choose have no gas stations or services.
At 29 Palms Mrs. Phred says turn right. I think straight ahead is the right decision. After five miles, we top a hill and the road suddenly ends and turns right. I brake hard and skid the RV and Toyota to a stop 20 feet into the desert. We both remember the first National Lampoon "Vacation" movie with Clark Griswald and family. We back out and turn right twice find Mrs Phred's road.
We finally hit Amboy. It's in the middle of a huge dry salt lake basin. Amboy is on the old Route 66. It became a ghost town when Interstate 40 was built 40 miles to the north.
There is a 6,000 year old volcano just outside town. The "Amboy Crater" is a National Landmark. A ranger runs a visitor center. Lonely duty.
Perhaps more interesting is the closed Roy's Motel, gas station and cafe. It has a 1950s look and is now owned by a preservationist. He also owns the first MacDonalds opened in San Diego, which he runs as a museum. You could have blown though here in 1957 in a a black Chrysler with tail fins and a big hemi V-8. Nostalgia.
We drive into Needles on the border for the night. London bridge is nearby. We buy green chili marmalade and a bottle of merlot at the camp store.