Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity, Jig

Trip Start Aug 25, 2008
Trip End Sep 2008

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Although I could basically follow I40 almost all the way home, I decide to vary the route.  I leave Flagstaff and have breakfast at a Route 66 diner in Williams where the waitress asks me if I want the booth with the ocean view.  While I'm eating I read the local paper and learn the famous steam train from Williams to the Grand Canyon is being sold and the steam train is being retired... to be replaced by a diesel.  Purportedly for environmental purposes.

I stay on I40 until I reach the Oatman Highway, a lengthy section (probably about 50 miles or so) of the old Route 66.  I turn off I40 and onto Route 66, passing through the long, flat Sacramento Valley before I reach the Black Mountains.  I40 detours around the Black Mountains.  Probably a wise choice if you want to make good time, but Route 66 went right through them.  I'm amazed that a narrow, 2-lane road with numerous 10 or 15 mph switchbacks was such a major east-west highway.  If you look to the right of the picture of the Black Mountains you can see the road snaking up the valley.  There were many places I woud have loved to have stopped and photographed but there was simply no place to stop. 

Oatman is an old mining town that got its start in 1915 when prospectors hit gold and about $10 million of the metal was pulled out of the hills.  The gold the town gets now is in the form of tourist dollars.  It's remade itself as a tourist trap for travelers interested in Route 66 and makes the most of is Old West character.  I happen to get there as a humorous "gun fight" is being staged.  The actors stop a tour van trying to drive through town (yes I'm sure this was impromptu and not staged) and make everybody get out and watch the show.  Tourists are pulled into the show and here's a picture of one.

The hotel in town was the honeymoon stop for Clark Gable and Carole Lombard after their marriage in 1939 and, of course, the town still makes much of that fact.  Wild burros, the descendents of pack animals turned loose by miners, roam the town freely.  I had to take a picture of a couple who chose to rest in the shade of the Classy Ass Gift Shop.

After leaving Oatman, I get back on I40 for a short distance then take Highway 95 south through the Chemeuevi Valley then to Highway 62 across the Turtle Mountains and into Twentynine Palms.  I'm back in the Mojave Desert and it's hot.  The "mountains" are more like hills but clearly of volcanic origin and provide visual relief of the otherwise "sameness" of the desert.  It again amazes me that human beings crossed and settled in this area traveling on foot.

I choose to turn south to go through Joshua Tree National Park and appreciate the explanatory signs posted by the side of the road.  I learn that the granite boulders that I associate with the Park were formed by volcanic activity then covered over with a different kind of dark volcanic rock (Pinto Gneiss) which, when it eroded away, revealed the underlying granite.  I also learn that the Joshua Trees for which the Park is named, only occur in the northern half of the Park because that part of the Park is in the southern end of the Mojave desert.  The Mojave has a higher elevation than the Colorado Desert, which dominates the southern half of the Park.  The cholla cactus pictured are in the lower, Colorado Desert. 

As much as I'd like to linger, it's getting late and I want to get home.  I exit the Park's southern entrance and get on I10 which takes me past Indian casinos, out of the desert and back home to Riverside.

Trip Statistics:
Total miles traveled - 9,102
Average miles per travel day - 364
Average miles per gallon - 40
Highest Priced Gas (Premium) - $6.435Canadian/ gal at Saskatchewan River Crossing (I converted the litres to gallons but didn't convert the Candian dollar to US dollar because I'm not sure of the exact exchange rate but it's in the ballpark of $.95 Canadian to $1 US)
Lowest Priced Gas (Premium) - $3.519 in Oklahoma
Lowest temperature ridden through - 2C Banff National Park
Highest temperature ridden through - 111F Chico, California
Biggest teperature range ridden through in one day - 62 degrees F (46F in Flagstaff, 108 in Indio... at 5pm!!)
Total Days on the Road - 31

I hope you had half as much fun following this trip as I had taking it.  I rode through rain and snow, heat and cold, sunshine and fog; and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  I learned a lot and am left with the overwhelming feeling of being blessed.  I'm blessed to be able to travel like this.  I'm blessed with the health, strength and time to be able to explore this beautiful world; doubly so to be able to do it on a motorcycle.  I'm especially blessed with amazing friends and relatives who took me in and added immesurably to the joy of this trip.  Thank you to all of you.
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graybeard on

It's good to be back, Kathy. Thank you so much for traveling with me and for all your support and prayers.


bondie1266 on

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your travels. My family and I will be following your very path this Summer, and I was doing a little research. I'm hoping we have as pleasurable a trip as you did. Thanks so much for sharing.

graybeard on

I'm sure you will enjoy it, Bondie. Glad you enjoyed reading about it. Take your time and enjoy the route!

Linda on

Well that was fun, I just went through all your pictures and adventures. Thanks for the mini vacation today.

Linda Davidson on

I just finished reading the whole thing. Thanks for sharing, I had a great time, :D

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