Friday, August 5, 2016
Travels on the Mother Road, Route 66 - Part 4, the Mohave Desert East
In the central Mohave Desert of California, Route 66, also known as the National Trails Highway, runs several miles south of I-40 on its way to the Arizona border. Although 66 seems to be out in the middle of nowhere, when I was there in early April, there was a steady stream of tourists cruising along. Still, be prepared, make sure your car is in good condition, and carry a lot of water, especially if you will be driving this stretch in summer.
Continue east from Amboy, and soon you reach Cadiz Summit. There is not much there other than an abandoned tourist complex.
Essex, now we are in a town. Well, maybe the ambitions of riverfront property exceeded the reality of the river. The Route 66 Adventure Handbook says General Patton's troops trained here in 1942 to prepare for the invasion of North Africa.
The National Trails Highway loops north and passes under I-40. Goffs is at the edge of the Mohave National Preserve, but there is not much left of the community. Soon you need to rejoin I-40 and drive to Needles to cross the Colorado River. The old Route 66 bridge no longer exists. We will continue our tour of the Mother Road in Arizona in the next installment.
Let's take a minor diversion. There are weird things not on Route 66. If you are driving on I-15 from Las Vegas to the Los Angeles area, the interstate passes through a lot of dry, empty country. But stop in Baker, and you can eat at the Mad Greek. Really, a little piece of the Greek Islands is out in the Mohave Desert. The owner may have been mad to build a Greek restaurant in an area where ethnically it must have been about as foreign as you could imagine, but he made an amazing success of the business.
I stayed in a modest motel, not bad at all. It was basic, clean, had hot water, and there were no bugs. And the car was ready for a quick getaway.
But thanks to the Mad Greek, for breakfast there was baklava and genuine Greek coffee - health food! Opa! (Ώπα!)