Day 11 – windy windy Mojave
Its early evening and the wind is howling outside. The wind gets so strong that they sometimes have to close the highway. The highway was at the end of a long ride to the end of I-40 in Barstow. I feel bad for not taking pictures but it is generally so cold at altitude, today I was riding at 7000 feet for a good 2 hours before coming down and even at the lower altitudes you are so bundled up that stopping on the side of the road and taking a picture, then getting back on the bike and running back up to speed just seemed like too much work once you are up and running and fighting the wind.
Today’s lunch stop was at the route 66 Ludlow cafe. What was interesting about lunch today was while I was stopping for gas across from the cafe, there were about 15 motorcycles all gassing up. They were all Germans. I met one in the cafe and asked him about their trip, and he said that they were all doing a triangle that would take them to Las Vegas and back to san deago via sanfransico. A nice trip indeed on some really big bikes. The problem was that they were all speaking German in the cafe and wondering why the waitress was not seating them. I just walked through the crowd after talking to the fellow, and seated myself at a table and started looking at a menu. The woman who was waiting the tables was serving her customers, but not talking to the Germans who were all speaking German and not really talking to the waitress – who turned out to be the owner. The locals were ignoring the tourists, they kind of looked at me funny till I took my jacket off and saw my Minnesota Gopher’s hoody ( the Minnesota college team) and then just ignored me, I think they thought I was with the Germans. Now I speak some German and so I could listen their growing frustration with not being seated and how crazy the place was. I tried to talk to them but they were not that interested in talking to me, and they did not try to talk to the waitress, and the cafe was full of locals. So I guess the waitress was not interested in the extra work in serving the Germans so in the end they left.
When I was talking to the owner, who was also the waitress, she said that it was very busy in the spring during the rids and rallies that run through from the coast. The cafe is on the old route 66, and they get a lot of tourists.
I really hate being a tourist. I think that the whole industry is a difficult one to sustain, and I think that in the end tourism destroys the culture that is being marketed as a tourist attraction. I took pictures today of plywood teepee’s — or was it yesterday — anyway the things that people come to see become worn like carpet that has been walked on by too many feet. So I am of mixed minds about going and doing tourist things that I have done during my trip. The things I have seen were things that kind of ran across while riding. By planning my route every day and discovering what I could while on the road made me feel like I was discovering places and people without trying to manage the experiences.
I stopped at the diablo crater, one of the best preserved meteor impact craters on the planet and I did not know that it was even on the route until I passed a sign. I remember reading about the crater as a kid and never thought that I would ever see it. It is massive and impossible to grasp size-wise when you are standing on the rim, because it looks so perfectly round and bowl like the scale is too hard to grasp. I took pictures of it but they will not be good, but I saw it and it just happened.
I am realizing that it is enough to control the bike in the wind, watch my mileage so I am not short on gas, and maneuver in traffic and watch out for tire tread snakes.