The drive from Sequoia National Park to Las Vegas is pretty much a long stretch of highway that passes by a whole lot of empty. It is beautiful though because it passes right by the Mojave Desert and mountains. Also, some of this road was once a part of the iconic Route 66, so there are quite a few random little stops along the way.
The only real bit of civilization you pass through is a town called Barstow, which has quite a few of these route 66 stops. Our first stop was to the Route 66 Mother Road Museum. It is located in an old railroad station, which also houses a museum about the Santa Fe Railroad.
The train museum wasn’t open when we were there, but there are a bunch of train cars outside of the museum that you can check out and take some pictures with.
Then we headed in to the Route 66 museum. It is a very small museum but it is full of really neat route 66 memorabilia. There are old motorcycles, cars, gas pumps, maps, street signs, and lots of other things.
It is free to get in and it is run by volunteers who are very knowledgeable. There is a jar to make a donation in and I strongly encourage you to throw a few dollars in there to help keep this place open for others to enjoy. There are also souvenirs available to buy that are more reasonably priced than I saw at other route 66 stops.
And lastly, don’t forget to get your route 66 picture sitting in the road by the number.
A little bit outside of Barstow is the Calico Ghost Town. This is a popular tourist attraction in the area that we decided to stop and check out.
In the late 1800’s, Calico was a bustling silver mining town. When the price of silver dropped people began moving out of the town to find new jobs and eventually it was completely abandoned.
If you are looking to explore a legitimate ghost town that is still abandoned, Calico is not the place for you. In the 1960’s, San Bernardino County turned the remaining buildings into gift shops and restaurants and other tourist attractions. There are old time photo places and trips down into one of the mines. There are even full hook up campsites right outside of the town if you are interested in camping there.
It’s still a really neat place to check out even though it’s been revitalized. They have kept it pretty authentic looking. All of the people who work there dress and speak like they are from that time period.
There is also a cemetery that has pretty much the entire population of Calico buried in it. I thought it was really neat to check it out, but I’ve always like cemeteries so I might be biased.
After leaving Barstow you drive past a lot of desert for a while, then you come to a town called Baker that is also full of random route 66 stops. Baker is located right on the edge of Death Valley, which is an incredibly hot place. One of the attractions in town is a giant thermometer that lets you know just how hot it is.
It’s free to stop and take a picture with the thermometer and there is a small gift shop you can go in if you’d like a souvenir. There are also guest books inside that are really neat to check out. People sign their names and write where they are from, and there have been people from all over the world visiting that giant thermometer. So even if you don’t want a thermometer souvenir, go inside and sign the guest book.
Right down the street is a place called Alien Fresh Jerky. It is a little convenience store that is alien themed. There are aliens on the roof, aliens in a car, and even an alien on a bench that you can take a picture with.
Inside they sell jerky that is made by these aliens, lots of funny hot sauces, and plenty of alien themed souvenirs.
When we were done checking out the Route 66 stops we headed to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area to camp for the night. It was great! It wasn’t busy at all, so there were plenty of sites to choose from. The sites are really nice and there are sinks and flush toilets which is always a luxury when camping.
Lake Mead is absolutely beautiful. There is a little beach area near the campsite that we walked down to and enjoyed the view for a little bit.
After checking out the beach we headed back to camp to make dinner and relax. The weather was really nice, which we greatly appreciated after spending the previous week freezing out butts off at night. The next day we had plans to go visit the Hoover Dam then go to Vegas, so we headed off to bed full of excitement!!