Beacon Station, CA

Beacon Station petrol stop since 1924


This place reminds me of Radiator Springs! I was wondering around and met Paco. Paco has been here for 20 years now. He drives the local tow truck (yup, Mater). He told me the place was founded in 1924 by a family who ran it until 1980. Back then there was no I-15. Highway 93 (maybe) was the route from Barstow to Vegas and it was a bit more bendy and followed the curves in the desert. Paco said back then there were gas and repair stations about every twenty miles. He said that was because twenty miles was as far as a car could go before needing repairs.

Not to scale
Looking up runway toward the gas station

Now there are three families living and working at the Beacon Station Shell gas store. The current owner also has a plane which occasionally lands here. There use to be two runways, but now it looks like only about half of one runway is still useful. They got a water well when the new owners took over, before that they hauled water in.

Looking down runway at the useful part

A walk around the desert was a trip back in trash-time. There are cans strewn about the desert many of which are oil cans from a time when oil came in cans. There are drink cans which were opened with a church-key, drinks opened with removable pull tabs, and modern cans too. Some of the vintage cans are all-steel, while other have an aluminum top. The aluminum top lasts way longer than the steel can.

The wind-sock has seen happier days

It’s amazing how long trash lasts. I hope a hundred years from now people will be as interested in old starbucks cans as we are in old oil cans. On the other hand diapers from 1930 decomposed long ago. Not so diapers from the 21st century.

It snowed two nights ago. Now the grass is growing so fast you can see the difference from morning to noon
Smokeless tobacco is known to the state of California to burn semi-trucks to the ground
All the brown spots are piles of old oil cans
Drink can on the left, Oil can on the right, floating in a sea of beer-bottle glass. Multi-media circa 1940
Old-style drink can opened with a church-key
Steel can with aluminum top. Old pull-tab style
Modern aluminum can with captive pop-top. Thanks Starbucks!

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Truck wash = Fail


I stopped overnight near one of those semi-truck wash places and since Truck 2.0 and trailer were covered in failure from our attempt at Donner pass I thought a clean slate would be good. Truck washes are too brutish for RV’s!

Broken door latch from the truck wash

I had been told by other RV’ers that a truck wash was an okay place to get clean, but I guess they went to the kind one.

I covered the fridge opening, but it got wet anyway. I taped up the things I though were sensitive and I missed the fresh water door. The latch got busted. They also blasted dirt & water into all the door locks and the furnace vents. I had water on the floor inside from the furnace.

And they didn’t get all the crud off. There is still salt gunk under the side panels and wheels. To their credit Truck 2.0 looks nice. And even at that the $70 didn’t last but two days before we drove through more nasty roads and picked up more salt gunk

Speaking of failures. The outside temperature sensor didn’t survive a months worth of wet CA weather, though the rear-view camera has dried out now that we’re back in the desert


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Donner Pass = Fail

Too much snow!

We made an attempt to climb over the mountains before the storm. Started out at 05:00 and ran into the snow around 06:00. Ran into chain laws around 07:00 and since I don’t have chains for the trailer Cal-trans said no go Reno

Since I was apprehensive about the northern route I decided it was a message from god and we turned around and headed back west and then south at Sacramento. Adds a couple days to the trip and I’ll miss driving on america’s loneliest highway, but I get to see Barstow and Vegas – YaY!

We also scored another entry in our worst roads list: Hwy 99 through Merced CA is another concrete shit-storm. Thanks again Cal-trans. My experience with Hwy 99 is mostly a continuous ribbon of traffic passing a nearly endless supply of commercial and residential development. Just north of Fresno we started seeing fruit trees in bloom. That was nice
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Early June = Mid-August

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The wind has settled down since last we were on Colorado’s Front Range and that’s a nice experience. Yesterday’s clouds gave way to sunshine and still air today and the morning sun is baking the earth like a pizza as I write this. Not a cloud in the sky! The idle chit-chat I hear is often about how “we could use some rain” and “there sure is a lot of pollen drifting around”.

Since I’m staying at the foot of Green Mountain I went for a bike ride on it. I made a second-best choice of trails and ended up with a hike-a-bike adventure. I saw a lot of wild flowers and the audio scene was dominated by meadow larks and crickets. The ground game was populated by rabbits darting every-which-way and a lone buck eating spring grass from a meadow. Delightful!

Once I hike-a-biked to the summit I was able to ride around the top and came down box-o-rocks trail and back to the campground.

 

 

 

 

Head Wind

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The Court House in Boise City, OK

Boise City, OK

I had planned to make our next stop near Sanford Texas at Lake Meredith, but the wind was wreaking havoc on that plan. A 60 mph headwind slowed our forward progress to just under 100 miles after three-and-a-half hours on the road. The prudent choice seemed to be stopping and waiting for the tailwind forecast in the following day’s weather to materialize

In the mean time I went for a walk from the Love’s Travel stop to the court house in the center of town and back. The wind tried to blow me off the sidewalk a dozen times yet I managed to make the round trip without falling! Back at the RV I tried to boil water but was thwarted by the rocking motion of the coach. The pot kept sliding across the stove top! I wish I had a gimbaled stove from a sailboat!

Mike’s BIG adventure!

IMG_1704I decided to sell the house and go on a big-fat road-trip! I will be traversing the American West hiking, Mtn biking, and visiting friends. And yes I’m taking the cats with me – they are going to love it!
We begin our epic adventure in mid-April and plan to follow the perfect temperature north and south – east and west. I look forward to meeting friends new and old along the way
Happy trails!
Mike