Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kingman Arizona to Mission Hills California

First off, for those who aren't VROC folk, we have had a parallel blog going for over a week. If you want another perspective on our travels, check out Sherm's blog.

The day started nicely. No sign of the rain clouds now that the the Canadians were leaving. We were ready to get underway about 7:00 AM and, after saying our goodbyes to Pat and thanking her for the kind hospitality, we were on our way.

Waiting to leave Kingman - I hate wide angle lenses

Sherm checking some final details

Goodbye to Pat

The first stop was a Circle K in Old Town Kingman where we found the rest rooms were off limits. It seems that because they were not wheelchair accessible, the Health Department said none of the public could use them. Bureaucracy at its finest. We made a second stop at a Chevron on the way out of town.

Old Town Kingman

The first few miles along I-40, as it took the big dip south before going west, there was no wind and the truck was happy. Soon, a stiff south wind hit us in the face and the engine started working.

Starting out on I-40

Odd coloured cliff face

Rocks just stick up out of the desert

We stopped at Exit 9 in Arizona to top the tank up with relatively cheaper Arizona gas. The price here was $3.49 while over the border in Needles, California, the posted price was $4.79. Across the Colorado River in the Golden State, the roads got rougher and construction signs abounded. We were cut to one lane as we approached the obligatory Agricultural Inspection Station. Once the inspector heard we had motorcycles in the trailer, he waved us through without looking inside.

I think this was a natural gas pipeline near California border

Crossing the Colorado River

Into California

Same as Arizona Time in the summer

California agricultural checkpoint

Desert plants

Lots of straight highway

But mountains around us

More mountains

And still more

And more.....

Lava beds

We stopped at one rest area but two tour buses were there and the rest room line was long. After talking to a young Oregon trucker who was hauling 45,000 pounds of dog food to Sacramento, we moved on. The rest areas are few and far between out here. The next one wasn't crowded so we made use of the facilities. The temperatures were, surprisingly, only in the low 90's.

Birds seeking shade at Rest Area

Our rig is dwarfed

Arriving in Barstow, we stopped for lunch at the strangest McDonald's I have ever seen. The Mickey D's shared a building with a lot of other shops and restaurants and had a number of tour buses parked out back. It was one busy place. From there, we caught I-5 south to Victorville.

Marine Corps Logistics Base - Barstow California

McDonald's Barstow

Buses at McDonald's Barstow

Near Victorville, we saw a large sand hill and wondered what it was. Google searching revealed nothing but, using Streetview, I was able to navigate to the access road where the sign told us it was a landfill.

Victorville County Refuse Disposal Site

From Victorville, we headed due west on SR 18 aka Palmdale road. It went up and down as if they had just paved over the existing terrain. The route went through a huge area of Joshua trees that I remember from last time. This road eventually changed its name to the Pearblossom Highway, a misleading name since it was mostly dry and desolate.

Along here, I stopped at a gas station for a pit stop where we were informed that the rest rooms were out of order. Sherm went next door to a Chevron that he detests because they charge for using the bathroom. He was told by a surly lady that he couldn't even pay because they were out of  order as well. I won't say what Plan C turned out to be.
Joshua tree forest west of Victorville

Eventually, we left 18 and got onto SR 14, aka the Antelope Valley Freeway. This was a multi-lane highway that left the flatlands and started through some pretty steep hills. Sherm hunted around and found a reasonably priced motel in Mission Hills, so I changed the GPS destination.

The house on the hill - SR 14 near Santa Clarita

CHP was all over the place

We switched from 14 to I-5 and, very soon after, I-210 joined in. Suddenly there were multiple lanes and cars were going every which way. I managed to get through and take the I-405 exit, arriving moments later in Mission Hills.

14 meets I-5 meets I-205 - just like the start of the Indy 500

The motel was OK. In its day, it must have been quite the place. The pool and palms in the courtyard were still quite nice. The downside was that, now that I have decided to sell the trailer, I scratched up the right side trying to park next to a line of trees. I got too close and they scraped the entire length.

Pretty trees

Scratches go the whole length of the trailer

Outside our hotel patio door

For supper, we walked a few blocks to the Bear Pit BBQ. I tried to share a dinner with Sandy but that went sideways when she had four large baby back ribs while I ended up with a beef sandwich on sourdough, coleslaw, fries and two large side ribs. It was good but not great, except for the sandwich.


After supper, we walked back to the motel where we worked on the ever demanding blogs and other chores.

We'll be at Cat and Jim's in Fillmore for biscuits at 9:01 and will then head on for Solvang.

Today's Route (329 Avalanche/trailer miles):

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