I had skirted this stretch of ruins on Interstate 40 many times but never had a sane reason for actually driving ON it. Why would anyone risk total vehicular annihilation by purposely traversing what used to be blacktop and concrete? To me, it appeared more like a large footpath composed of loose fitting flagstones that stretched for miles across the Mojave. I could not even fathom the fact that desperate families actually ventured west through this desolation looking for a better life in beat up Models T’s. I chuckled a little to myself as I pictured Granny and Ellie May sitting in the back with all their worldly possessions, Jethro and Uncle Jed in the front.
This guy was off the grid alright; way off.
I glanced at the gps on my phone to see just how much farther Cadiz was. What kind of a name was that? From what I read online, it was just an agro green spot slash former railroad stop out in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t actually on Rt 66, but on a side road just south of the highway. How good could that road be? Fortunately, I didn’t have to venture down that one as I was told to meet him at the Road Runner’s Retreat , a deserted restaurant on 66. How quaint. I squinted at my Motorola….. about fifteen more miles…
I glanced at my empty Evian bottle and decided to pull in at the next truckstop to grab a couple more. You never know out here in the middle of….well…. nothing..that’s what it was, absolutely nothing!
This had better be worth it! This crackpot vigilante being hyped as the “Infidel Warrior” on so many other blogs had really begun to get under my skin…. and in this heat, it was giving me a rash.
Making a jog to the left to cross the ever present railroad tracks, I spotted some buildings. Ah, a little bit of civilization. Amboy, the sign said. Emblazoned in that thick, white crosswalk paint, on the middle of the road, was the Rt 66 shield. I’ll bet it took a good three hours or so to paint it, but I was certain they didn’t have to reroute any traffic to do it.
My hopes for civilization and a truck stop were dashed as I pulled into the dirt driveway of “Roy’s Diner”. I pulled up to the gas pumps that stood alone under a canopy that was so high, the only shade it gave off was nowhere near the pumps it was supposed to cover. I glanced at the gas prices on the ancient, mechanical pump; $6.35 a gallon. Damn! Well, it’s not like you could run down the street to the competition.
Stepping out of the car, I noticed there was no card reader on any of the pumps. Really? At these prices, surely they could afford newer pumps. At least from the ’80’s or something! That’s when the attendant emerged from the ‘diner’. “Gonna fill it?” he said as he pulled a key from one of those old silver retractable gadgets on his belt and, giving it a twist in a hole on the side of the pump, reset all the numbers to zero. Well, almost all of them, one was hung up somewhere between the zero and the one.
“Uh, no. Put twenty in for me.” Geez, would have cost a fortune to fill it. Twenty would be enough to get me back to the real world. Without commenting on my frugality, he twisted off the gas cap and obliged me. “Pay inside.” He motioned to the diner door with his free hand without even looking up.
I stretched a bit and headed into the building. “Diner” was a misnomer. It had a small counter with the prerequisite worn out naugahyde barstools in front of it, but the prep table and grill hadn’t seen use in decades. But they did have a cooler with cold drinks. I opened the cooler door and leaned into its coolness. Ahh, brisk, baby! It was well stocked with bottled water in two sizes. And with it, Route Beer. Not a typo, it was Route 66 Route Beer. Next to that was the real gem; Mexican Coke. Not that! Coca-Cola from Mexico made with cane sugar in a glass bottle. Mmmmm. I grabbed two waters and a Coke.
That’s when I heard the Harleys.