Ghost Town Within a Town
After the exciting helicopter overflight of the Grand Canyon, we set our course for Los Angeles on the mythical “Historic Route 66″.
Before joining the well-known road, we stopped at” the Flinstone Theme Park ” located at the intersection of Highway 108 and Highway 64, in the village of Valle.
The lockers are found in a kind of shop-restaurant where they announce with a loud bang that you can eat a “brontosaurus burger” like that of the drawings, although it has nothing to do with it. The restaurant is half bleached and little less than abandoned, there was a man who I imagined was the cook-waiter sleeping on a table, the shop, three-quarters of the same, you found everything but Flintstone stuff (or very few, four T-shirts and some other key chain).
I still tried to give him a chance, and I decided to come in. The park costs $ 5 per person and if the restaurant was half abandoned, the houses and furniture were quite dusty and in my view they need a renovation, we didn’t touch anything because it gave the feeling that we were going to keep something in hand although surely in its good times it would be cool. We took pictures of the cardboard characters that were scattered around, mostly to amortize the price of the entrance. Then, we continued our way to Kingman where we took the opportunity to eat at Denny’s, a chain of American restaurants; we got to the top of food, drink and especially desserts, I came out of there that looked like a hot air balloon.
We continue on the mythical Route 66. Desert, road, several bikes, and some birds were our only companions. We stopped in some road bars to see the typical American environment but I have to say that in some we were not very well received, the penetrating and challenging looks of the four cats that had been drinking at the bar encouraged us to return to the car and continue to Barstow where we looked for a hotel to spend the night.
We entered the Comfort Suites Barstow and loved both the room and the kindness of the staff, so we unloaded the bags in our brand new suite and then headed towards a nearby Polygon where we had dinner in a road bar.
Barstow is located in the Mojave Desert, in the middle of Route 66, making it a regular stop for travelers. The village does not have much to offer, and I can almost say that the most interesting thing there is an outlet that unfortunately or luckily I did not find open since if I do not leave there again loaded with things!!!
In the morning and after breakfast we head to Calico, the ghost town. It is located in the Mojave Desert and was founded in 1881 when precious metal seekers found Silver on a local mountain. From that moment, Cálico was thriving and reached a total of 500 mines that were exploited for 12 years and produced approximately 12,000,000 $. Around 1890 the price of silver began to decline and with it, the town that was completely abandoned in 1907 when the last inhabitant left.
In 1951, Walter Knott, a former miner bought what was left of Calico, restored it and in 1966 donated it to the county of San Bernardino which turned it into a kind of” theme park,” today it can be visited for the modest price of$7.
Calico is located next to Interstate 15, almost 5 kilometers from Barstow and three from Yermo so in just over 15 minutes we reach the entrance. Just the day we visited, the Wild Festival was held, and they charged us $ 10, but it was worth it. You won’t have to worry about the parking lot because it comes at the price.
The streets through which the miners traveled 100 years ago had become a gateway for men and women dressed in Victorian-style suits. There were all kinds of events like duels in front of the canteen, concerts in the purest style of the Far West and street sale of ancient objects, the town was going to burst!!!
Today only five original buildings are preserved, and others have been rebuilt on the basis of the ancient ones. We headed first to Maggie’s mine, some old mining tunnels that can be visited for $ 2 and that show you what the town’s mining activity was like. Right at the exit, we go up some stairs to a viewpoint from where there are spectacular views of the desert, the complex and the train that for 4 $ makes you a route around Calico.
We followed the route between the swarm of people; there were very cool shops where they sold vintage dresses, soaps, candy, and jam. We crossed a bridge and went to the old school, located at the top of the village and where formerly the children of the miners studied between week and Saturday and Sunday Mass was celebrated. There were a lot of people peeking at the door, so I went to gossip a little bit and didn’t tell me how, but I ended up sitting on a desk and listening to an English class.
At the end of our visit, we went to the cemetery that I did not visit and continued our journey to Los Angeles not before buying us a “typical Far West “hat. Without a doubt this is a funny and curious visit if you pass around Barstow, that is, I in case the Flies would not stay there at night or drunk!!!