We drove approx 300 yards down the road from our RV park in Bakersfield to find the Camping World service centre. So that was easy! We had to wait for their lunch break etc. but service was good and fast. We're all right, jacks.
With everything in working order, we were ready to start our journey to the high desert. We still weren't sure exactly where, but I had it in mind to head back to Joshua Tree National Park. We had driven through on a previous trip, but didn't stop (it was summer, and the airco was broken). Not only that, but I can't think of the name without memories flooding back of the summers of 1987/88.
In God's Country
That last time we drove through at sunset; it was stunningly beautiful, and in 100 miles of driving we didn't pass another car. So that was the objective. Joshua Tree. Or even several. We headed southeast out of Bakersfield, and pretty soon were down to 20 mph: a thick fog hung over the hills.
It was pretty, if slow. After a few hours we finally emerged into bright sunlight, and continued on the road to Mojave. This is the town where, in 2011, we had the sewer pipe stolen. Or at least we lost it, but the former makes a better story. Anyhoo. It wasn't quite 100 degF as it was that previous visit, but it was still 70 degF, and very pleasant. This is the place where aircraft come to die:
We hadn't quite meant to pitch up quite yet; we were well short of Joshua Tree, but the fog delay and the winter solstice meant it was getting dark as we approached Barstow. Now this place is interesting; here's a few summary facts about it.
1. Many famous films were made hereabouts (Broken Arrow, From Dusk till Dawn [sic], Courage Under Fire, Kill Bill Vol2)
2. The town has one of the last drive-in movie theatres in southern Cali
3. There is a nationally significant % of population on prison probation
4. The town is 'earthquake central'. The US Geological service describes it as a Very High Risk Area, and estimates that there is a 87% chance of a major earthquake in Barstow within 50 years.
5. The town hosts one of the friendliest RV parks anywhere. Although, given the above, you might not be surprised to know it's called 'Shady Lane'
It's fair to say the old town/side of Barstow is dying. The best way perhaps to describe what it looks like and how it feels is well understood by gamers. The town could well have been the model for Trevor's 'hood in GTA 5. I say no more.
Excellent little campsite though. Just a shame the drive-in was closed for refurbishment.