When I was young, our family would pile into the family car for our yearly trip to visit our relatives in Arizona. We would usually travel the fastest route, due to the fact that the less time spent in a vehicle with 5 children, the better. So I am well acquainted with the middle of California, the Grapevine, Barstow, etc…
My travels to Arizona are limited these days. On this last trip we took the quickest route down to AZ, and it took us 11 hours. On the way home however, we got to take the scenic route. I am so glad we did. I didn’t even mind the extra 4 hours it added on to our driving time. We got to see some amazing sights. I loved it. Here are some things we saw. (sorry about the lack of pictures, due to the fact I didn’t have a functioning camera for the return trip)
JAROME This town was so cool. It was a mining town back in the day, and it is built on the side of a mountain. Everything is kind of hodgepodge and crammed in on any available ledge. It is supposed to be a pretty good ghost town these days. A home to artists and a great tourist spot. The main street has lots of fun shops I would love to explore. My Grandpa McEuen spent some time teaching in the highschool there before he went to dental school and my Grandpa Porter used to deliver meat there when they lived in Prescott, a long time ago. If we ever get the chance I REALLY want to go stay there. Here is a website that has some great pictures: ghosttowngallery.
ROUTE 138, SouthEastern CA – This highway was a long and lonely road. We saw very few other drivers. It wound through amazing landscapes and crossed wide empty deserts. There were these big mountains of some sort of black slate looked like they would just all crumble and fall down. Cactus and little shrubs covered the hills. In the distance in the west you could see the Sierra Nevadas. They have never looked so amazing to me, they were so tall and seemed to shoot straight up, so beautifully dramatic. The road was paved up through what was a wash. They didn’t seem to want to do to much digging for the road, because it was like a roller coaster. I’m sure if I had been stepping on the gas we could have gotten air many times. The road crossed a valley and wound up into the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Some of the oldest trees around are there. They weren’t huge but they looked old and were kind of crazy.
While I was driving I had to steer to miss a tarantula crossing the road! It was pretty much the only wildlife we saw there.
The windy road had it’s casualty though, when we were almost out Chloe was overcome by motion sickness and tossed her cookies, (and apple, and burrito….) While stopping to clean up we were able to enjoy the silence of the area. It was amazing. NO ambient noise. Only wind. I could have sat there for a while and just enjoyed the quiet and stillness.
We then wound up California along the east side of the Sierras. More awesome landscape. I wish my camera was working, but I would have wanted to stop too often and we would have gotten home at midnight! We saw an incredible sunset, the amazing mountains, wide views of valleys and lakes, yellow aspens and cute towns. I would definitely love to spend more time over there.
The route home was my Dad’s idea. He has always been one for back roads. I enjoy a good scenic drive now and then, mostly when it is something new. I absolutely loved this route, the only downfall was that it got dark and I couldn’t enjoy it anymore!! There is definitely something to be said for taking the scenic route, and maybe I will have to do it more often and enjoy the trip, not just the destination.