... going down historic Route 66
So, now that your eyes are full of the lovely green of Aberdour ... Off to the desert of Southern California.
In the summertime, when it is a blistering 120 degrees, I can feel my eyeballs desiccating, rolling around in their sockets like raisins in a cup.
We took a trip this summer to Las Vegas and I took a few pictures on the way. As my husband says, it is a trick to find someplace that is actually hotter than home, but we managed it.
We traveled down fabulous Route 66. The name should conjure up traveling down the highway in the 1950's, wind blowing through your hair, big sunglasses and all.
Nowadays, it is a little less glamorous. We are traveling to Las Vegas. I decided to take my husband there for a romantic weekend of sleazy casinos and Spamalot!
I love Monty Python. Just to let you know, I don't like to gamble. I find casinos a little scary, as people look a little like rats in Skinner Boxes, pressing the bar on a variable-ratio reinforcement schedule ...
Every so often, when we are in Las Vegas, I will gamble.
About a dollar.
And then I get bored and wander off to do ... well ... almost anything else. What I do like about Las Vegas is the beautiful view at night, and the hotels, and the way all of the big hotels have a theme. I love the Luxor. Especially at night. I don't know who thought up the UFO attracting beam, but I find it delightful.
And I love lowering the air conditioning to about 50 degrees and sleeping under a pile of blankets. That is probably my favorite part.
So, I surprised my husband with tickets to Spamalot, which was very nice. However, one must travel through a whole lotta nothing to get there. Join me for a virtual drive down Route 66.
We head up Highway 62, and turn right at the Marine Base. The day (as usual) was clear and bright.
You can see the faintest of little white boxes in this picture -- the landscape is dotted with them.
I am not exactly sure about this, but I think that these are old homesteads, back from the time that, if you put a house on the land and lived on it for some period of time, you got the land.
Here is the same thing, a little closer.
The houses come in all sizes and colors, and some seem to still be inhabited, but all are tiny.
Some have been abandoned for years. I wonder what it was like to live here in the relentless heat of summer. No running water. No air conditioning.
Some have been lived in more recently. I wonder how much water you would get in a year -- not enough to even fill one cistern, I would think.
We stravaig on, toward the salt flats. The road curves and we begin to see some hills.
The salt flats are ahead.
This is a genuine salt mining operation. There was also a former borax mining site here.
The official name of this stretch of desert is The Devil's Playground.
It does seem otherworldly. Whenever we drive through here, we get out and walk on the salt. It is like walking on panes of glass -- it crunches and splinters underfoot. I usually cannot resist looking for a piece to taste. There is something beyond salty, and this is it. The minerals make the salt bitter. You can only taste it for the briefest second.
Did I mention the extinct volcano? The Devil's Playground, indeed, has it all. You can just see the crater in the distance.
We head to Amboy -- which has a wonderful history. It has been an Army depot and a railway stop. It has been abandoned. More recently, someone bought the whole town and is trying to preserve it. As you drive into town, looking through the back view, the first thing that you see is an old church.
On the opposite side of the street, is Roy's Diner. I love the quintessential 50's shape of the sign and the building is just wonderful. You can buy shirts and batteries in what used to be the old gas station and cafe. It is now a store. A lot of bikers sit in the shade.
The post office is open.
But I don't see any customers.
A view of the church from the front. The steeple has a bit of a list to it.
This used to be a school, I think.
Now totally abandoned.
As we leave town, we pass a tree and it first looked like there were a bunch of birds roosting. As we passed, I saw that they were really pairs of shoes.
I had my husband stop the car, so I could really look. There is one pair of little tiny shoes.
I asked my husband if he had a tender sentiment that he wanted to immortalize, but he just looked at me. He was not feeling the romance. However, we did have a lovely time in Las Vegas -- despite the suffocating heat.