Mojave Mojo

My complimentary earplugs worked a treat in blocking out the howling winds of the Mojave Desert last night and we wake up refreshed and ready to go for the final leg of the drive through to Las Vegas.

Breakfast of waffles, maple syrup and a strong perculated coffee sets us up for the day of driving through the desert and parallel to Route 66.

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Good Morning Mojave

With only a three hour drive today, we decide to take it easy and stop regularly for petrol, drinks and snacks.  Whilst driving along the highway we notice advertising for Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner, we decide to take a detour and come across an absolute gem on Route 66.

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Desert Highway

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More desert!

Peggy Sue’s is an original roadside diner, built in 1954 with nine counter stools and three booths. Located near the Calico Mountains it was built from railroad ties and mortar from the nearby Union Pacific Rail yard and was reopened in 1987 with an attempt to restore and preserve it in its original state. Packed with 50’s memorabilia it’s almost overwhelming as everywhere you look there a photos, trinkets, advertisements and the attention to details for the 50’s decade is amazing.

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Doesn’t Look Much From The Front

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Danielle … Our Waitress

We ordered 50’s inspired meals and again the size of the meals have us beaten … you literally can’t eat that much food.

There is also and souvenir shop which they call “5 and Dime” which has a little bit of everything, in fact it’s overwhelming with the pure volume of trinkets, t-shirts, clocks, movie memorabilia and souvenirs.

After lunch we power through to Las Vegas but make a shopping stop at a random retail outlet at a town called Primm, we find some bargains and then we head straight to a hotel, the Hilton Grand Vacation Suites in a drive up to find availability.  We have found that picking a hotel and doing a last minute drive up is saving us heaps of money.

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Hilton … our Hotel For Next Five Days

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View From Our Window

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Well Earned Beer In The Bar

Barstow or Bust

Road Trip – This time we leave our San Francisco budget inn for the wide open spaces via Modesto, Fresno, Bakersfield with good intentions of staying in Barstow for the night as it is about half way to Las Vegas.

We cruise through rural California only to stop for petrol, food and drinks and of course to stretch the legs and change drivers. Our lunch stop was at a road house / diner in a town called Gustine.

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Denny’s Dinner – Gustine

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What’s For Lunch?

Some research on Gustine – it was established in the early 1900s as a station on the Southern Pacific Railroad and named after Sara Miller, nicknamed “Gussie”, the daughter of Henry Miller, the “Cattle King”, an early California land baron and Agricultural pioneer. Little Sara, always getting “gussied up” with fancy clothes, was killed when she was thrown from her horse when she was eight years old … poor Sara!

Also Gustine was the site of the first 9-1-1 system in California, installed in March 1970.

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On the road again we head towards Bakersfield and on to Barstow however we decide to keep going and head to some random town we’ve never heard of, Mojave.  We new it would be remote because it is right in the centre of the Mojave Desert but the wind takes your breath away.  We pull into the Best Weastern Dessert Winds and it lives up to its name with the car door nearly being blown off the hinges when we got out of the car.

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Dessert Winds!

Dinner tonight is Maccas as there is fast food or fast food in this town and earplugs are needed to drown out the rattling freight trains and constan wind overnight.  The hotel even supplies ear plugs.

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Mojave at Sunset

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Mojave at Sunset

Mojave is a pretty interesting town too. Established in 1876 as a construction camp on the Southern Pacific Railroad and was the western terminus of the 266 km twenty-mule team borax wagon route originating at Harmony Borax Works in Death Valley.

Also located near Edwards Air Force Base, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, and Palmdale Regional Airport it has a rich aerospace history as well as a general-use public airport, Mojave has three main areas of activity: flight testing, space industry development, and aircraft heavy maintenance and storage (the plane graveyard).