Following a quiet and restful evening in Kingman, I loaded up the minivan yet again and headed off through several small towns including Oatman, AZ. Route 66 merged again with I-40 as I crossed the Colorado River on the bridge and entered California. A few miles into California, I came upon the required entry station into California. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I did see an inspector going through the trunk of a car in the adjacent lane. When I pulled up, I was asked where I had come from, and whether I had any plants, produce or seeds in the car. I did not, and I was sent along my merry way.

I was amused to drive through Needles, California—largely because I have always been a major fan of Charles Shultz and his Peanuts comic strip. Shultz used to live in Needles and he made it the home of Snoopy’s Western cousin, Spike. Parts of the classic film, The Grapes of Wrath, had also been filmed in Needles.

The sky was getting dark and it started to rain as I entered the Mojave Desert portion of the trip. I decided to take the safer route and to stick mostly to I-40 through the desert. It started to rain heavily, and I began to wonder about things like flash floods and mudslides that I have read about taking place in the desert and hills. Thankfully, I didn’t see anything like that. It was still raining heavily when I pulled into the motel in Barstow for the evening.

--Larry Spears [Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010]