“There’s a long, long road before me… “
Leave Willcox/AZ along I-10: counting clouds and mountains… lots of both.
At Blythe/CA, after crossing inviting Colorado River, turn onto US-95, and pass uncultivated and cotton-cultivated fields along this flood plain, before ascending into glacial mountain hardpan on a winding, undulating, narrow-shouldered, near-empty road which, in fading dusk arrives in Needles. Get onto I-40, but, outside Ludlow must bow to reality: night-driving skills are not what they used to be.
Head along I-40 into Barstow, before switching onto CA-58, and, as dawn lights this desolate desert, continue through windy, windy Tehachapi Pass and into Bakersfield. Continue west, and pause in McKittrick… a town right out of “Bad Day at Black Rock”. (For those with a historical bent, this area has a special place in American history: it is this general area in which the infamous “Tea Pot Dome Scandal” materialized).
Stop in Santa Margarita, before slipping onto familiar US-101, detour briefly to checkout Atascadero’s gorgeous City Hall, and try really good pizza… but, with a name like “Fatte’s Pizza”, dare it be otherwise?
From there on, “the horse knows the way”.
(A special word of thanks to all those unheralded Chrysler employees who made this 1993 Dodge van capable of surviving my ridiculous demands, and friendly folks at Chris’s Smog Shop, whom, tho warning me it should be scrapped, nipped and tucked with spit and baling wire to get us from coast-to-coast!)
(And a special “Arigato” to those remarkable engineers at Pentax for creating a camera capable of deluding people into fantasizing about the quality of my photography skills.)