Ah this is the drama you've been craving ...
Trip Start Jun 29, 1999
29Trip End Dec 04, 1999
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Where I stayed
Santa Barbara, CA - This city is an urban planner's dream. The whole of downtown along State Street appears to have been developed by the same architectural firm. It is actually quite pleasant but I know somewhere there is probably a million ridiculous municipal laws decreeing that buildings have to look this way. I think my Uncle George and Aunt Helen, the yuppie nazis that they are, would love this town.
Joshua Tree National Park - Unfortunately I missed the big earthquake by one day. I was so disappointed! I got something just as bad my first night though - a windstorm
29 Palms, CA - This city, at the northern entrance to Joshua Tree NP, exists solely because of the Marine Base. This means you are likely to find many tattoo parlours and liquor stores before you ever stumble across a grocery store.
Between 29 Palms and Shoshone - Along the most direct route between these two cities is some of the most desolate landscape I'd seen yet
Shoshone, CA - Population 100 and that's being generous. The campground here was excellent and cheap. I couldn't remember the last time I actually camped on nice lush grass. The reason this town has water is because of a natural warm spring nearby which feeds the campground's pool and keeps the temperature a constant 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The local diner, The Crowbar Cafe, was pretty good too.
Death Valley National Park - The bottom of the valley is a chemical desert. Someone dying in it would never rot. You'd be preserved and mummified by the salt which is six feet think in places like the Devil's Golf Course. At 282 feet below sea level Badwater is the lowest place on the continent and is definitely worth the look. In fact everything in this park should be seen. What really stands out is the colours, not of the vegetation but of the rocks and minerals in the canyon walls
Las Vegas, NV - Kudos go out to Sharmile de Silva and my sister Sue for being brave enough to meet me in Las Vegas for 4 days. Since none of us are high rollers the gambling was kept to a minimum while we enjoyed other things such as the motion rides at Luxor, Excalibur and Caesar's. We also checked out the Coca-Cola museum which is worth the price of admission just to see the old Mean Joe Greene commercial if not for the all you can drink area. Another highlight was the Liberace Museum which was a real hoot. I officially declare that the Harrah's Fresh Market Buffet to be the best buffet on The Strip (I visited it 3 times). Another good place to eat is the WCW Nitro Grill in Excalibur - yes, a wrestling themed restaurant - where the big boys eat! You can be entertained by merely reading the menu. I really wanted a Goldberger but it was a full pound and I had just visited the buffet a couple of hours earlier so I went with the Hogan Burger over the Crippler Crossface Cheesesteak
Needles, CA - The best thing about Needles is the strip of motels that are cheaper than getting a campsite. Not only to you get an actual bed but you also get the Playboy channel.
Old Route 66 - Now what remains of The Mother Road between Needles and Barstow is called the Old National Trails Highway. I followed it westward to Barstow and along the way I ventured again into the Amboy Crater. There are many interesting abandoned buildings along this deserted stretch of road. Look out for the huge RoadRunner Restaurant sign and building out in the middle of nowhere.
Barstow, CA - This city sits at the junction of I-15 and I-40 which means that the McDonald's on East Main Street in the busiest one in North America
Victorville, CA - Fifteen miles out of Barstow the grease took hold... that's where my Hunter S Thompson tribute ends. I headed into Victorville to see their fine Route 66 museum which supposedly has a lot of the old Hulaville artwork in it. I say supposedly because the museum is not open on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Instead I ventured into Victorville's other museum - The Roy Rogers Museum. This place is actually quite odd as while there is a glut of pictures, memorabilia, artifacts, recordings and film there is no text provided to put anything into context. It's all just there. My favourite single piece in the collection is the autographed photo of Lee Majors but the real highlight is the Animal exhibit. If Will Rogers is the man who never met a man he didn't like then Roy Rogers is the man who never met an animal he didn't shoot and then stuff. It's an animal rights activist's nightmare - stools made out of elephant's feet, an ottoman that uses zebra legs, a monkey rug, and his NRA membership card. He also had Trigger and Bullet The Wonder Dog stuffed as well. I'm surprised Roy himself isn't in there.
Los Angeles - The city of Los Angeles has never really captured my imagination. On my way through town to Joshua Tree I could see the Hollywood sign and the Capitol Records Building from the freeway and that's all the sight-seeing I would have done if not for my Jeopardy audition
Well, I guess I have to tell you about Jeopardy now.
I must say that the audition was tougher than I expected but I did pass. There were 64 people writing the test and only 16 passed. This is considered well higher than normal
Hopefully, I get on so I can win some cash to keep this trip going.