Year 1 Day 71 The Middle Of Nowhere

We drove about 285 miles today, taking about 5.5 hours including stops for lunch and buying some avocadoes from a little roadside stand. Our destination was Ludlow, California in the Mohave Desert. We chose it as it has a couple of large open parking areas, one on each side of the I-40 freeway, where we could spend the night as we make our way back to Tucson.

Ludlow is not much of anything, anymore. At one time, it was a small village that sprouted up around a train water tower. Back in the early days of steam locomotives, they needed to fill their water tanks before struggling to make it up the steep grade going west towards Barstow, California. Since the trains stopped there to fill their water tanks, some of the small, local gold and silver mines ran their ore car lines down and formed a juncture with the railroad. The miners would come to this junction with a need to wet their whistles, so a saloon and general store sprung up. When the mines ran dry, the village became a ghost town but was revived when in 1926 Route 66 was created and ran through the ghost town. The town hung on until I-40 was built in 1973 and most cars and trucks neglected it as they hurried by.

All that remains now are the abandoned ruins of a bye-gone era and two gas stations which cater to trucks waiting for night time before continuing on to Los Angles. They wait here in the two open parking areas for the LA traffic to diminish before continuing to their final destination. There is a Dairy Queen and a small café which offers the truckers food as they wait.To show you how desolate the area which we are staying in is, I have posted an image from Google Earth below. We are basically in a harsh, dry desert that is punctured by volcanic mountains and lava flows. There is a BLM area a little way north of Ludlow where we read we could stay but the dirt road is now washed out and it would take a 4-wheeled drive vehicle to get to it.

I did drive our little Fiat around to view the ruins of the old town and captured a view of the remains of the Murphy Brother’s General Store. I also found on the Internet a copy of a 1926 postcard showing what it looked like back in the “good ol’ days”.

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Route 66 In Ludlow

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Tomorrow we continue on with our journey back to Tucson. Our destination will be the Plomosa Road BLM site that we stayed at a couple of weeks ago, near Quartzite, AZ. I would like to drive over to the Bouse Fisherman geoglyph site that is just a few miles away. We did not get to see it up close and personal at that time and I am anxious to do that.

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