into the desert
We awoke to a very welcome hot sunny morning outside Bullhead City. I was up early, opened the RV door and was greeted by a couple of ducks, mr and mrs, asking for some breakfast. After providing them with a little snack of broken tacos, which took some manoeuvring with their shovel beaks, I set off to explore and peacefully take in the ultra clear rolling waters of the Colorado River that flowed by where we were camped. There is a little island there like a little lake isle of Inishfree and this was seemingly guarded by a couple of large moorhens or coots.
As usual, we wanted to stay here longer and vacate, but we had to leave to make it to Moreno City in good time and with comfort time to stop on the way. This was our last day on and beside Route 66, and perhaps the most sentimental part of following this remarkable road journey. This was truly the desert section with remains of forgotten relics of cheap motels, diners, reptile pits, gasoline fill ups, service centers and fallen billboards, as we motored from Arizona and through eastern California where the desert became more and more a sand and dust bowl. No towns for over 150 miles, just a few native settlements. Nowhere to fill gasoline. This was getting towards Australian road trip style. The road signs sometime showed we were heading towards Ludlow. One sign of constant life was the very frequent long freight trains of the Santa Fe railway, beside the freeway, each with its boggling long length of railcars.
Getting to this “town” was a curious experiences due to my familiarity with the quaint English town of the same name where I once lived for a few months on a landscaping and garden creation job many years ago.
We arrived and it was Route 66 still alive. Ludlow is a few mobile homes, maybe 10, of resident first nation natives, a few gasoline pumps, a small repair station with a mechanic, a truly back in time motel with only two of its letters lit up and a diner proudly announcing it served coffee and grits.
After some lunch on some barren land here while watching the lizards scurry around we were back on this desert highway towards Moreno Valley.
to Moreno Valley CA
It was not many miles beyond Ludlow that our highway joined the busy I15, Las Vegas to Los Angeles highway at Barstow a strange desert town built up around a huge Santa Fe railway junction hub featuring huge cattle stockyards for loading cattle onto trains and a freight container exchange depot. Barstow seemed to be largely modern and fast growing as a bustling junction town. I’m somewhat surprised big casinos have not moved in here too.
From Barstow to LA, about 100 miles, it was like just one long LA commuting traffic jam along a multi lane highway. When we broke off to Moreno City along the I125, and exterior bypass highway we were soon down to a crawl and wondering if we would make it to Elizabeth’s in Moreno City in time. Fortunately we did, and in good time.
Elizabeth’s at Moreno Valley
When we arrived, Elizabeth was out shopping for supplies for the evening, but when she returned what an incredible warm greeting. Neither of us had met Elizabeth before but she was truly an instant extremely warm hearted friend.
This was the first hosting of a house concert by Elizabeth but like our other first timer, Cindy of Albuquerque you would think she was a true professional with this.
The performance area was as folks walked in the door. Cindy has a large hallway/lobby that creates a wonderful small performance area and even has room for a baby grand piano as well as substantial audience. Her “living room” is her studio and music room.
This became a wonderful show was a full audience of wonderful interesting people. Claire did use the beautiful sounding piano to sing Essence, which is becoming a popular standard on this tour. A highlight was Claire singing her lovely song interpretation of the Yeats “Lake Isle Of Inishfree” rather than the song from The Quiet Man that she has sung at other performances on this tour.
We’ll remember this wonderful evening for the colours, settings and passion for songs and stories told.
Due to fear of facing Los Angeles traffic in the morning, after the concert at Elizabeth’s we drove 160 miles to a beach side camp called El Capitan’s, north of Santa Barbara. It was quiet and remote and the moon was shining over the ocean.
I’m sure my next blog will share more about this ….