Friday, 4 June 2010

40th: Day Nine - The road to Needles

Started the journey of 280 miles around 9am but decided not to go up to Griffith Observatory due to the mist in Los Angeles. So we set out on our way and stopped after an hour at the Ontario Mills outlet centre as planned. This shopping centre is absolutely massive. we had intended spending an hour there and ended up staying 3 and a half hours!

Pete was looking for clothes and I was looking for a few bits too. We were only partially successful. It seems that the Abacrombie and Fitch clothes are designed for thin lanky teenagers, so we both struggled. Got a few things in Timberland (many bargains!), Hollister and Gap. It's strange, but the Banana Republic outlet clothes were awful and I think my Dad would have liked it.

The road to Needles turned to the mountainous Mojave desert quick quickly. It got hotter and hotter and temperature soon hit the late 90's. Despite that, we could still see snow on the mountains. After a refueling stop in Barstow, we set out across the desert and apart from a few houses at the start, we saw no human life for about 50 miles until we reached Ludlow. This used to be a tiny vibrant place serving Route 66 (see picture), but when the new highway was built alongside, the town was killed and only 23 people now live there. We had a drink and some cake at the diner (the other 2 businesses were a motel and gas station).

We arrived in Needles at 6.06pm and the temperature was 105 degrees which is 40.5 Celsius. Remember it's the 3rd of June, so this place must be frying in higher summer. As I type, I've just had the first swim of the holiday. When we booked in, the receptionist asked "two queens?". She meant the beds of course.

Will explore this run down town for a while tonight. The town grew up around the Colorado river, the only water for dozens of miles and the railroad of course.


  1. Welcome to the desert.

    I think Needles can get up to 120F/49C. Several auto manufacturers have their hot weather test sites near there.

  2. Makes sense - 120 is hot hot hot!

    It's now 9.45 and it's still 75 degrees - us English guys are not used to this! Thank heavens for aircon. :-)

    Not much in Needles - it's just a road of motels and food outlets, but just had a fine meal in a diner and went to the Colorado river to watch the sunset, which was very nice and may make "5 on the fifth"