On Saturday morning we rolled from the driveway just a few minutes later than planned but it was still early enough for us to clear the Colorado River before the first faint light of dawn painted the Mojave Desert with that washed out grey that precedes sunrise. This provided me with an opportunity to savor the stark beauty of the desert transformed by dancing shadows as the sun cleared the eastern horizon at Kelbaker Road, the road that connects Kelso with Amboy.
The break was a short one as the ever persistent schedule was calling and so after five minutes or so we saddled up for the rest of the drive to Barstow with a slight detour to photograph a few locations in Newberry Springs, California. As much as we would have enjoyed a cruise into Daggett, I had to forego the luxury of Route 66 but the knowledge that our time spent speeding along the sterile interstate highway would be mercifully short served as a balm for the soul.
As I had promised to sign books for Debra at the Barstow Route 66 Mother Road Museum when we were in the neighborhood, we surprised her with a visit. Then we took the time to photograph this architectural gem accentuated by beautiful flower beds and colorful trains emblazoned by the American flag.
After topping off the tank we set our sights on a hearty meal at the Summit Inn, a little something to hold us over until dinner time. Immersed in our pleasant time capsule cocoon we paid little heed to the modern world that whizzed past the window and instead focused on coffee, laughter, friendly banter between the waitress and regular customers, and an opportunity to simply relax.
As we again joined the fray on the interstate tension quickly eroded the mellow embrace of the Summit Inn and soon we were caught up in the rush toward anywhere and everywhere that spurs the modern world on. I, however, refused to succumb so easily and at the Cleghorn Road exit we immersed ourselves in the serenity of a drive along Route 66.
The original plan had been to follow Foothill Boulevard (Route 66) from Upland to Colorado Boulevard at Arcadia. However, as often happens with a Route 66 adventure, time slipped away without notice as we made one stop after another to photograph flowers, to watch trains, and to simply enjoy each others company on a journey through the Cajon Pass.
As a result we skipped to plan “B” and played the game of rush to stop on the 210 all the way to Pasadena. There we rejoined the old double six masquerading as Colorado Boulevard.
Of course seeking out the wonders of Route 66 in a harried urban atmosphere is not like an adventure to the Painted Desert Trading Post or even like a little urban exploration with friends in Tucumcari. To compound the problem, my dearest friend and I are simple, small town folk. As noted on many occasions, I began to feel crowded in Kingman about the time the city added a third stoplight.
But we have an adventuresome spirit and so we crawled through the city and over the stunningly beautiful 1913 bridge suspended above the Arroyo Seco. I wonder why we don’t fill our urban landscapes with such artistic renditions of the mundane any longer?
Then we again joined the battle on the 134 as we turned our sights on Burbank, a surprisingly delightful small town hiding behind generic urban sprawl.