Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Movin' On...Area 51...UFO's

I crossed into California and within a couple miles I came to the aggriculture checkpoint.  I was a little worried going into the Socialist Republic since right off the bat I knew I had a couple violations of California law.  #1- My GPS was attached to my windshield along with my radar detector.  That's a no-no since nothing is suppossed to be attached to the windshield.  #2- My dog was unrestrained.  All animals riding in vehicles in California must be restrained by seat-belt or cage. #3 I forgot to bring her vaccination records. But I pulled up and the 2 state government inspectors looked like cleaned up hippies and only asked where I came from, if I had any fruit and any other animals besides my dog. Thanks dude, have nice night. I finished my westward drive on Route 66 in Needles, California, a small Mojave desert town that I always wanted to drive through.  So I did.  Then I left.  And headed north through the desert.
 The sun setting on railcars in Needles.
 Remnants of the Route.

And these prices were before fuel spiked a few weeks later!

Finally off Route 66.  I had already been to the end of the route a couple years ago at the Santa Monica Pier.  Now time to head north and loop back home towards the midwest.  

The Mojave desert is a neat place to drive at night, though somewhat spooky.  2 lane highway with nothing, and I mean nothing, out there.  I saw a car about every 25 minutes.  It was just me, the dog and K-LOVE on the radio.  I crossed the border from California into Nevada and started thinking about a place to pull over for the night.  I came upon the town of Searchlight, Nevada and pulled into Terrible s Truck Stop.  Sounded like a good place to stop.  Surprisingly it was.  I parked next to a wash (a ravine) and walked the dog around for a bit.  There were only about 15 semi's there and it was not crowded at all.  The truck stop itself was clean and folks were friendly and there was a McDonald's inside the building where I could clog my arteries with a McMuffin in the morning.  That next morning I headed towards Las Vegas and decided at the last minute to head towards Area 51, the home of top-secret military testing and where the government keeps our captured aliens and UFO spacecraft.  Or so they say.
 OK, I admit I did see aliens and here is proof.
 Otherwise it's very, very lonely out there.
 Looking toward Area 51.  So quiet.
 Ruby enjoyed hunting out there.

 Great places to pull off and eat and enjoy the quiet.
 The town of Rachel, Nevada in the distance (above).  The only town on the road and home base for the UFO hunters, conspiracy theorists and movie producers that use the area.  Closest gas stations is either 50 miles away or 110 miles away.  Rachel's abandoned gas station is below.  It still has a picture of an alien on the above ground tank.

 The Little Ale'Inn is the towns bar, restaurant, motel and gathering spot.  If you've watched any shows on TV about UFO's, Area 51, secret aircraft or the like you may have seen this establishment on the show. The food is decent and they don't gouge you on price considering there is no where else to go for miles and miles.  And they have convenient parking if you flew your saucer into town.

 Government monitoring of radioactivity (above) in the area due to past testing in the region.  This was part of a large setup along the highway that took air samples.  Hmmm, interesting considering for years they never even acknowledged a base out there.

One thing that was a mystery to me (above) was that every few hundred feet along the highway east of Rachel there were these pile of stones like pictured above.  Don't pay attention to the cow leg laying behind it.  Or maybe that's connected somehow, don't aliens come down and eviscerate cattle?  But anyway, the stone are a mystery, why and who would do that for miles and miles?  Someone thinking they can communicate and leave messages for outer space visitors?  Someone bored and thinking they can make inquisitive people like me wonder about why stones are placed in that manner?  Probably the latter. Ha!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Arizona Route 66

Many folks consider Seligman, Arizona the heart of Route 66.  This trip I just quickly passed through since I spent time there on the last trip but I still had to stop at a couple places.
The Stagecoach 66 Motel is a relic with a great sign plus I love that the sign says its Norwegian owned.
A very popular stop and always seems to be busy.

Yucca, Arizona is just a few miles from the California border and has fallen on hard times.  If your a car guy you probably have heard of Yucca.  It is the home of the Chrysler Proving Grounds where they test prototype cars for hot weather desert testing.  Of course, a person can get only as far as the gate because the place is very secretive and there are guards roaming everywhere to keep the prying eyes of the public and the automotive press out while they are testing future versions of cars.   But most of Yucca is in ruins at this point.  Hard to say why since Chrysler is still there but admittedly on shaky ground as an American company anymore.  The bar across the highway seemed to be the busiest spot in town. 

The Honolulu Club. The busy spot in town.

Ruby keeping her ears open for the next stop.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Grants, New Mexico

I rolled into Grants, New Mexico at the height of a storm and waited it out in a local park in the RV before exploring. It was a miserable gray day in the high desert in this region but it cleared up once I left.

Grants has about 10,000 residents and a lot of roadside history still remainingThere is a great collection of googie style signs still in town, often outlasting the building or business they were advertising.