After a jump in the Colorado river and a stew in the bath water that was the motel's pool, we enjoyed all that Needles had to offer and skiddaddled. (For fun, try googling food or lodging in a town whos name is also drug paraphernalia.) As we left, we were concious of the fact that today would be our longest stretch through some of the roughest and least-traveled land. We were also conscious that I needed to get home to San Francisco sooner than I'd planned. To be sure, my body has held-up admirably, being as it is without lower-intestine or gallbladder. The diet and climate alone should be taxing and the fact that we hiked in Grand Canyon was a thrill, but it's decided that that's enough so I'm headed to my doc for some checking up and home to my cozy bed. That'll do, I think. That'll do.
Man it's hot here. How hot is it, you ask? It's SO hot, that at the gas station, they'd taped a dish towel to the door-handle to prevent burns. It's so hot, white lizards dart across the road to spare their poor toes. It is hot. But, of course, it's the Mohave desert!
We stocked up on water but stopped at every available rest stop we encountered. We can pretend that the stops were for the future cycling readers, but....well, we stayed very hydrated. Many of the towns were mere graveyards, memorials of the places they once were. Some were worse off than others. One was simply a stone wall and foundation.
When we came across the Bagdad Cafe, which we should have left to photography subject status, we instead, like so many French and Japanese tourists (we're told) went in. The place stank of rancid grease. This was similar to the nasty cafe we'd encountered in St. Clair, MO. It reeked and was the only place for miles. Ivo ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and potato salad (he still seems well enough) and I had a pop and tried to organize my plane ticket home. I was spared grilled cheese yet again, thanks to veggie snacks in the back-seat. (I could be a girl scout, I'm so durned prepared.)
I hadn't slept much last night (a side-effect of my body's need of a tune-up) and was a bit punchy. Ivo had done the first leg of our journey and once I was positioned behind the wheel, there was sillyness. There was singing with the radio, conversing excitedly to the few cars we finally encountered once we hit and passed Barstow. There was reminiscing about the towns, people and times we'd seen, met and had along the road. It was a good day.
Around the time we started seeing LA smog roll over the San Bernadino mountains, things had soured. We were tired and hungry and the approach to Rialto was so uniquely unlike any of the others we'd experienced. Where we'd limped along small streets in towns with nary a stop sign in the past, we were now zooming and edging and curving past train tracks, strips of businesses and cars, cars, cars. Strange that we were so put-off by cars on the last day of our Rt66 roadtrip. More than anything, the sense that it would soon be over got to us. It wasn't ending with a bang or a wimper, but with pollution and honking horns and an unexpectedly early separation.
But wait, it's not over, we're not at the finish line yet! Our bathing suits hanging in the bathroom are wet with pool water, not the salty water of Santa Monica! (Note, they won't be tomorrow either, I will only commit to toes in the water, thank you.) We still have tonight and the last short stretch to go.
I'll probably write tomorrow's entry from San Francisco, so for now, in a cement wig-wam in Rialto CA, the adventure goes on.
Tomorrow: Los Angeles.