Trip Start Mar 20, 2006
Trip End Sep 09, 2006

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Sunday, September 3, 2006

We had been heading this way to drive through Barstow (tipping our hats to Hunter S Thompson as we pass - "We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold") and follow fear and loathing up to Vegas (without the suitcase however). But as we peruse the free map in the hotel other plans take shape and the day takes unexpected twists and turns into one of the best days ever.

Tehachapi it turns out is famous for the "Tehachapi Loop", a 4km railroad loop that allows trains to climb through the mountains. The trains are so long that they cross over themselves. We have to see this! So we go trainspotting and when we find the loop it is proudly marked as "one of the 7 railroad wonders of the world". Still chuckling to ourselves we wait for a train. One every 20 minutes we were promised, an hour later we leave without seeing one.

Our drive takes us past the worlds biggest windfarm (4000+ turbines) and on to Mojave where we gaze at the only private spaceport in the world (spaceShipOne launched and landed here). Also at the spaceport are hundreds of jetliners, stored in the dry of the desert. Its a weird sight seeing all these planes just parked in the sand. We continue on to Palmdale, skirting the edge of Edwards Airforce Base (you can't visit the flight museum due to national security). In Palmdale we see the Lockheed Martin Skunk works where they made the U2 and Sr-71 spy planes. Sure enough, parked on a corner on the edge of town are two really real SR-71 Blackbirds and a U-2. 2330 miles per hour in a sexy black number, nice, unless you were a Russian.

On we head to Victorville where we pick up the old Route 66 across California to Nevada. Route 66 isn't on any maps any more but the road is still there, mostly running parallel to the freeways. It is simply incredible blasting down these old two lane roads, dead straight for as far as you can see and not another car in sight, apart from the cars on the motorway next to us that we're flying past. The mustang has incredible acceleration but she struggles to keep going faster above 110 mph, chuckle, 55 limit my arse. Route 66 in a fast american convertable, top down, Dave Pearce banging some hard old tunes out on the radio, girl beside you... living the dream baby. We thunder across the desert, stopping to take photo's and racing the now ever present trains to the next crossings. The 200 miles or so that we follow along Route 66 are just an amazing drive.

To finish we did plan to head to Vegas but after such an experience on '66 we decide that neither of us can be arsed with it and so hole up in Primm Valley Resort, a hotel and casino complex just over the state line in Nevada. It is certainly different and could be called a poor mans Vegas if you were being very, very generous. Finishing where we left off in our homage to Hunter S, we find out that drink is complementary if you are gambling. We slowly gamble through $5 dollars, 16 Buds and too many tequilas before retiring, very very happy, to bed.

It is difficult to condense days like today into a short snappy soundbite that covers it all in your teabreak. When we stopped last night we knew of nothing of what we have seen or done today. Quite simply, it doesn't get much better than this, apart from the train thing of course.
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