So after breakfast at a small joint in Desert Hot Springs we hit the road -- riding up through the Joshua Trees outside of Yucca, and across Johnson Valley along CA-247 and CA-13, through Lucerne Valley and on into Apple Valley and Victorville. At the junction for US-395 we pulled into a mini-mart and rested, chatted about the rest of the trip, and I sent him on his way North towards Bakersfield and up the Central Valley. He was hoping to make Sacramento that night. I turned around and headed back, but just past a big airfield with hundreds of stored jet liners, my I-Pod randomly played "Ghost of Tom Joad" by Bruce Springsteen. At the same time I came upon a section of old US-66 -- the road the Joad family took to California fleeing the Oaklahoma dust bowl and that was the setting for much of John Stienbecks "Grapes of Wrath". Surely this was a sign that I should embark down this segment of the Mother Road. I mean, coming upon the intesection of Route 66 while the I-pod randomly plays Ghost of Tom Joad? What else could it be but a sign?
So I heeded the I-Pod's omen and turned East on "Historic Route 66 - National Trails Highway" as it was signed -- and officially is San Bernadino County Route 66. This easy, nicely graded section, ran through some farms and along the old Santa Fe Railway mainline -- now BNSF's Southern Transcon Route. I enjoyed the mild temperatures and the scenery -- wishing I was born 20 years earlier and had a chance to ride the road in its heyday.
So after lunch I headed out, finding those stretches that still existed East of Barstow, pretty much paralleling I-40 -- through the towns of Newberry Springs and Ludlow, before the old road took a turn South away from the Interstate and headed across the desert to Amboy. Here and there a few ghosts still haunted the old road, and I was in almost constant company of a parade of endless Westbound BNSF trains. The sun was out, the temperature mild, and I was on the Mother Road. What more could a wandering biker want?