1) I think it's swell and understandable that the State of California rest stops have a separate depository for cigarettes and cigars (safety's sake with the fire and such if these were deposited in trash containers) but why does it need a lock? Is there a risk of thievery?
2) Ate in Bakersfield at Salty's BBQ (can't imagine they used consultants to get a name that would appeal to the health conscious). Just as the honkytonk in "The Blues Brothers" had both kinds of music (country and western), Salty's has the best of both worlds - smokin' and grillin'.
4) In Barstow, you can see one of the original Harvey Houses (the 19th century fast food oasis for the locomotive set, and landmark for fans of a certain Judy Garland musical western Judy Garland "The Harvey Girls" ). There you'll find a Railroad Museum and a Route 66 Museum (either one could both double for Ramshackle Museums).
5) For cheap travelers, have we got exciting news for you! Motel 6 now has a high speed Wi-Fi option! (It's extra, of course, but then so is the slower Wi-Fi option)
6) In Needles, we asked about the front desk clerk about the Wagon Wheel restaurant because we're suckers for anything involving wagon wheels. She told us it wasn't exactly a "refined" dining experience, more Southern country cooking. Yes, we ate there. Bonus: the place is located on Route 66.
7) Those of you who are fans of the comic strip Peanuts will be happy to hear there is a dog park in Needles named in honor of Snoopy's skinny, mangy brother.
8) Kind of cool to see the netting covering this bee transport truck. I suppose crashing into a hazardous waste truck would be worse, but this is one of those vehicles you want to give a lot of space on the highway. We wondered if the bee that attached itself to our car between Needles and Big River had escaped from here.
9) Driving along in the desert, we began to notice a number of bridges over washes (areas subject to flash flooding) with a great variety of names. Here are names of the washes bridged between Barstow and Needles: Iron, Ogata, Astrid, Hawes, Turtle, Ambose, Marble, Willow Springs, Macdonald, Haller, Hoff, Rojo, Neprud, Mustang, Clipper Valley, Fortress, Providence Mountains, Blind Hollow, Halfway Hills, Black Canyon, Newton, Southfork Piute, McGinley, Crestview, Woods, Homer, Watson, Fox, Lemming, Buzzard, but our favorite was the Chuckwalla Wash Bridge. (Wash bridges are not to be confused with the ditch bridges such as Ardis, Tank Tower and Arbol.)
10) Driving through the high desert, every turn is likely to present mountains or a rock formation presented in light and color with fierce, gob-smacking beauty. To our friends who believe that all nature is a product of random chance, as is our perception of it...well...let's say we just don't see it that way.
-- Dean and Mindy