After I thought about it for awhile I got to wondering if Beacon Station was part of the Air Mail route between Salt Lake and Los Angles. Not far to the south west is an Air Mail Arrow and if Beacon Station had a runway back it 1924 maybe it was part of that system. I googled it and didn’t come up with any evidence to support my hypothesis
We packed up early and headed north. Got thru Las Vegas while everyone was still in church so no traffic. When we crossed the State Line into Arizona the highway warning sign said,
“Don’t stop on the side of the
highway to play in the snow”
I had to read it about six times before I realized what it said. I guess snow around here is so rare that it is a tourist attraction. A few miles down the road I saw a family pulled over on the side of the highway playing in the snow
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.
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.
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.
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.
Still in California We left About 8:30 and headed up the hill towards Mojave. It started out green, turned to white, and then transitioned to brown. We stopped for lunch at the rest area near the Borax factory. We could see the planes flying from Edwards AFB – Zoom! I was going to visit the Flight Test Museum, but it’s off limits to muggles (It’s on-base and behind many gates and guards)
After we got back on the road a B-1 Bomber buzzed us! I heard it long before I saw it and it was loud!
This was our 5th day in a row on the road so Plan A is to spend a couple nights here in the desert south of Vegas. I picked a spot where the boys can go outside and play with rocks if they want to
There is good solar access here; no trees to block the juice-making photons!
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!
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
The State of California is beginning to seem a lot like the song. I tried to leave going to Reno but no. I’m trying to leave by going south, but that is also problematic! This morning CA 58 was closed due to snow, I-5 is closed (ish) due to snow, I-15 is closed because of an over-turned semi-truck. I just want to go where it’s dry and gas is cheap! Is that too much to ask?
If not getting to go to Reno was gods way of saving me from something, and if this is better than I-80 then wow! Just wow. This path out of the state was been a pain in the tucus so the northern route might have been super-no-good-bad-to-the-bone
On the plus side I got to see some tree blooms and hear some birds sing . . . ॐ
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
After more than a month hanging out near the coast and the big trees it’s time to head east to Fruita, mtn biking, and camp hosting for the summer. The boys are going to miss stalking gophers and playing with baby potatoes in Jim & David’s garden!
The trip from Cotati to Loomis is a back-track for us. We planned an o-dark-hundred assault on Donner Pass to beat an incoming snow storm and our base-camp-one was Loomis, CA