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A ton of questions re tourist sites all around Barstow area!

Chatham, United...
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A ton of questions re tourist sites all around Barstow area!

Hoping someone with local knowledge can answer a few questions.

We are coming from the UK and will mainly be based in Anaheim but we are intending to stay one night near the Tanger Outlets.

Any advice on the following heavy itinerary gratefully received:

We intend to drive up from Anaheim Friday 28th October just after 9am, visit Mormon Rocks and go to straight to Calico Ghost Town. First major question: I understand there are Calico Haunt Parties...do we need to book in advance...does it cost more...how is it different to a normal day...does it stay open later than the usual 5pm closing time. I can't find much info.

If we can get thorugh Calico in a couple of hours I'd like to go on to the Early Man Site for the 3.30pm tour.

Next, drive by Daggett to check out the Pioneer's cemetry, museum (if it's still open by then!) and historic buildings.

Not sure where we'll eat lunch!

We then plan to drive back to the Tanger Outlet, do a bit of shopping, check into the hotel and eat somewhere nearby. Can you recommend any of the restaurants around the outlets? Looks like there are quite a few when I look on Google Maps.

Saturday morning to late afternoon we intend to visit as many of these as possible before heading back to Anaheim:

Route 66 Mother Road museum

Main Street murals

Desert Discovery Center

Western American Railroad Museum

Mojave River Valley Museum

Peggy Sue's 50s Diner?

Then hit the National Trails Highway to stop off at Bottletree Ranch in Oro Grande and the Route 66 Museum in Victorville and finally rejoin the I 15 and head back to Anaheim hotel for a good rest!

I would really like to squeeze in some scenic driving, maybe Rainbow Basin or Mohave National Preserve but this appears to be heading East when at the end of the day we want to head West/South on the I15.

I'd also like to see Inscription Canyon (or othe i nscriptions) but haven't yet found much information about whether it is accessible in a hire car...from what I've read I'm guessing not. Or whether it is possible to get a jeep tour locally to go offroad? Don't think we'll have time for these really, but in an ideal world...

You've probably guessed that our visit is to hit the historic and scenic sites. I'm a sucker for a bit of geology, pioneer and mining, Route 66 history. So have a missed any gems from our rough itinerary? Anything above I should really not bother with?

I know it's alot to ask all in one topic but I'd be grateful if you could pick out anything you can help with.

Thanks in advance.

Thousand Oaks...
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1. Re: A ton of questions re tourist sites all around Barstow area!

Have you looked into Oatman, AZ?

Its further east from Barstow but is the preeminent Route 66 old mining town. You would probably need another overnight though in barstow unless you reconfigure your itinerary.

Dr. Z

Chatham, United...
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2. Re: A ton of questions re tourist sites all around Barstow area!

Dr. Z, I'm saving Nevada and Arizona for another trip in a couple of years time :-)

Thousand Oaks...
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3. Re: A ton of questions re tourist sites all around Barstow area!

Perfect....when you plan that trip try to pencil in Oatman. Based on what you like to see and do I think you would really enjoy it.

Dr. Z

Chatham, United...
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4. Re: A ton of questions re tourist sites all around Barstow area!

I definitely will. My list of Arizona is waaay bigger than my list for LA :-)

Cuenca, Ecuador
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5. Re: A ton of questions re tourist sites all around Barstow area!

Hello again, RootBeerFan, and welcome to the Barstow forum.

Out of all the regular TripAdvisor (TA) forum participants you're likely to hear from, I'm the most local you will find. Others have interests and passions - a good thing - but I'm your "desert 'dog" of note. I live here in the Mojave Desert. The others don't.

You've by all appearances been reading up via the Internet about places to visit and spend time at. Understood. It's a whole different "ball game" when you come out here and see the expansive lay of the land for yourself. With that in mind, allow me to reconfigure your plans. . . alright? (wink)

The Mormon Rocks a bit west of Interstate 15 on California State Route 138 (Antelope Highway) are not usually what international travelers stop to spend time at. They are an interesting sight, but are not a designated park or anything like Vasquez Rocks (Los Angeles) County Park is. Vasquez Rocks are far more interesting to see in my humble view, and both are sights where many motion pictures and television shows have been filmed. Here's your link: parks.lacounty.gov/Parkinfo.asp… Vasquez Rocks is actually in the TMZ (the movie zone) radius close enough to Hollywood to not have to incur extra time and travel costs to the studios. I'd recommend you stopping by on your return trip and make Mormon Rocks a quick photo stop instead.

Calico Ghost Town is a nice place to visit, especially if you have children. It's not a traditional ghost town, but one that has been restored and touristified (there's a word!) with asphalted walks, and objects immobilized on the ground for safety, etc. If you want to see a couple of real authentic near ghost towns, head instead to Randsburg and Johannesburg (twin ghost towns) north of California State Route 58 via US Highway 395 past Hesperia and Adelanto, but before Ridgecrest. www.desertusa.com/magfeb98/Randsburg/Ran.html Much more interesting and authentic, if you ask me. I couldn't tell you about any Calico haunt parties. Never heard of them. Sorry. The Calico Early Man Site I have never been to and don't have a recommendation on it. Seen the CalTrans roadside informational signs for it hundreds of times, though.

About Dagget: Dagget was the town that thought it had a "lock" on getting the railroad, and was expecting to dictate its (high) real estate prices to them. They lost that hand handily thanks to the shrewdness of one railroad superintendent William Barstow Strong, for whom the (small incorporated) city of Barstow is named after. Dagget has never recovered. I couldn't tell you when the museum there would be open, but the middle of the day would be my best guess on when to find it available to visit. Lots of authentic "desert rats" who are plenty more isolated and uninterested in interacting with tourists (that's putting it mildly. . . ) with cabins, junk strewn about, and general dilapidation. Old dilapidated buildings in general. Certainly not what one has where you live, but not a place buzzing with tourists. . . not by a long shot. Its strong suit? Authenticness, and it's on Historic US Route 66. Bring a sack lunch. Forget Peggy Sue's. Not a well run 50's diner, and overpriced. In-N-Out Burger is the modern day locally available equivalent, and it's by Tanger in Lenwood.

Tanger Outlets are not anything you couldn't have had while in the Anaheim metro area. Ontario Mills has a much better selection, and is on the way there for you off Interstate 15 in Ontario. Your evening meal could be In-N-Out Burger there in Lenwood, but for a real sit down meal that you'd enjoy versus fast food, I'd recommend Idle Spurs steakhouse. It's on old Highway 58 northeast of town. You'll probably need a map to find the old highway, but worth it. i have no particular recommendation for an international traveler for lodging in Barstow, but newer is probably going to be more comfortable for you. Do pick a Lenwood area lodging south of Barstow. There is, shall we say, an element of "dodginess" about Barstow, being a tourist/traveler stopping off point, but not one which typically gets tourists staying for more than an hour or two. In its Route 66 glory days, this town was humming. The Interstates got rid of a lot of its business, and the building stock shows.

That completes your Day 1. . .

Day 2: Yes, do visit the Route 66 Mother Road museum. That's known to us local desert rats as the old Harvey House. Fred Harvey - the man and the company bearing his name - was a pioneering institution in settling the west, establishing his Harvey Houses, with lodging and restaurant dining service for railroad travelers emigrating west. Quite a story about him and his company, and his legacy. The Barstow Harvey House is part of his nationwide legacy. Do see it - it's where the visitor's bureau, chamber of commerce and museum are all located. An oldie but goodie. Before you go, stop by the Del Taco uphill from it - the oldest Del Taco around in that western United States fast food chain - and get breakfast (they serve it with a good selection of items both Mexican and American).

While you are parked there, watch the locomotives get washed. The railroad maintenance yard is right there. The Main Street murals you will see as you head to the Harvey House. I have not been to the museums you mention. My initial thought is to skip them. You won't have time. I'm just a native desert 'dog, who is used to all of this. . . it's new to you. Welcome to my world. . . er, desert.

I would recommend this instead of what you had in mind:

Head out west on California State Route 58 for Boron, where the largest open pit mine in the world is for borax mining. Rio Tinto (formerly US Borax) owns the mine, and it is available for tours daily. Nominal cost of $3 to enter. Here's your link: http://www.borax.com/visitorcenter.html See huge earthmovers reduced to smaller than Tonka trucks at the bottom of the mine. Lunch in downtown Boron at Domingo's Mexican Restaurant. Eat where the Space Shuttle astronauts ate! Excellent food and service, and prices are very reasonable.

Head east again for a few miles to Kramer Junction (CA 58 and US 395 junction) and head north on US 395 for Randsburg and Johannesburg. real near ghost towns like I mentioned above. Worth a few hours taking a look around. The gold mining is still being done. Meet a genuine and friendly desert rat or two like myself! Weekends are busier due to offroaders saturating the area. The ambience is better during the week. Still, worth a looksee. Here's your link: www.desertusa.com/magfeb98/Randsburg/Ran.html

Head south on US 395, west on CA 58, and south on California State Route 14 (Antelope Valley Freeway) for Vasquez Rocks County Park. Exit at Agua Dulce Canyon Road and follow the signs. See where many episodes of classic Star Trek were filmed, as well as the more recent Flinstones movie, and many others.

Head on back to Anaheim via CA 14 south to Interstate 5 south. Sunday driving will be very good, and not the usual weekday traffic jam situation. That will be a full day, but a good one.

Hope the above suggestions strike you in a good way. Please feel free to ask more questions and/or make more comments. This 'dog's in your corner. . . wishing you Happy Trails as you make your way through the Mojave Desert.

Los Angeles
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6. Re: A ton of questions re tourist sites all around Barstow area!

Outstanding post, Underdog!

Chatham, United...
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7. Re: A ton of questions re tourist sites all around Barstow area!

Thank you so much for such a detailed and informative reply. You've given me a whole 'nother evening of exploring places I hadn't heard of (Vasquez Rocks) or considered on the internet and Google Maps :-)

I take your point about Calico not strictly being historical nowadays, but it has special history for me...some 30 years ago my parents took myself and my sister off on a whirlwind 2 month tour across the US from our 'hometown' of Detroit in a beat-up old motorhome. I'd like to revisit some of the places we went to as kids, Calico being one of them.

I'm sure you'll all be hearing more from me as more questions arise. Thanks again.

Cuenca, Ecuador
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8. Re: A ton of questions re tourist sites all around Barstow area!

RootBeerFan. . . you're quite welcome! Always glad to help.

I kept the list of places to see short considering your two day time limit. Should you want to expand that, there's more to see and do. . . just ask. I could easily increase the itinerary to three or four days, if desert wandering is your thing. There are places you haven't heard of yet that I know of, and we've barely scratched the surface. I understand you saying Calico has special memories for you and that you wish to revisit the place. I'll certainly affirm your desire to revisit.

And Cookie, thanks for the kudos. I still have something left in the ol' tank, don't I? (broad grin)

Santa Ana, CA
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9. Re: A ton of questions re tourist sites all around Barstow area!

Root Beer...

You are a most amazing person to come up with all those things to see and do around Barstow. Nothing has changed in 30 years.

I have no better advice to give.

Have a great time!

10. Re: A ton of questions re tourist sites all around Barstow area!

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