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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Brown

Leg Five-Shameful Faux Breakfast

Leg four and Five

Santa Nella-Barstow

The evening before, our hearts longed for the discovery of a quaint lounge or bar in Santa Nella, or perhaps an exploration of the split pea to unveil a dusty little bar for our enjoyment. However, fate took a different turn when a sharp rap echoed at our door, ushering in Papa and Grandma and half of what we affectionately called the RV Bar. Thus, the night unfolded on the balcony with TV and well-mixed margaritas. The gathering extended longer than anticipated, fueled by a late lunch and, after a few drinks, a suspicion that the vending machine had fallen prey to an army of small bills and coins.

Santa Nella, with its German-themed Best Western, held a unique charm in the fading moments of sunset. The waking morning, still shrouded in darkness with the sun timidly revealing itself, exposed the reality of a dusty pit stop just a stone's throw from I5. The surroundings resonated with the restless motion of trucks and the cacophony of a nearby truck stop. Semi trucks idled in the parking lot, and the promised free breakfast echoed the typical hotel offerings – bagels, cereal, powdered eggs, and sausage impostors. A juice machine replaced the labor of real juice, and a coffee dispenser, resembling the real thing, delivered a questionable brew in Styrofoam cups that made my conscience cringe. The breakfast room seamlessly merged with the modest lobby, occupied mostly by truckers loading up on plates of imitation food.

Amidst the morning rituals, an amusing incident unfolded. My wife, adorned in new leggings with a unique rear stitching, inadvertently attracted attention. As she refilled her juice, the older gentleman's gaze lingered a bit too long, prompting a subtle reminder from his wife that the TV hung a bit higher. Chuckling to myself, I exchanged morning pleasantries with the leggings' viewer and his wife, diverting attention from our smuggled plates of hotel breakfast intended for our RV companions.

The RV, shades drawn in slumber, came to life as we tapped on the door. Chiquita, our small RV alarm system, announced our presence, and with a cheery proclamation of room service, has we presented our pilfered breakfast offerings. Back in the room, roles assigned, and routines established, we packed efficiently. Bikes loaded, engines rumbling, we set out as the sun painted the sky in cold, crisp hues of orange and yellow.

Leaving Santa Nella behind, we found ourselves on Hwy 33, seemingly leading nowhere. Miles passed with no signs of civilization – no buildings, farms, or people. The road unfolded through rolling hills of yellow drenched grass, a rolling landscape of freshly oil painted hills plunked out of the next spin of series of Yellowstone. Eventually, we turned onto a neglected road, navigating around Swiss cheese-like potholes, only to encounter a convoy of large semi trucks hauling rock. The condition of the road became evident as we traversed its rough surface at a snail's pace. Suddenly, we were ushered onto a smooth, newly paved stretch, a red carpet unrolling before us.

The simple pleasure of driving freely, unencumbered by traffic, persisted until we reached a lone stop sign. Turning east to skirt the south side of Bakersfield, the sun's warmth on my face contrasted with the morning chill. The road blurred through cotton fields and open plots of dirt, offering a sensory experience only possible when exposed to the elements. Passing field workers, we were not confined behind glass; we shared a moment of connection as they raised their heads, pausing from their labor.

Arriving in Bakersfield on empty, we learned the approximate range of our orange blinking light – about 25 miles. A fuel snag awaited us later in our journey, a tale for another time.

Continuing on Hwy 58 East for 3 hours and 43 minutes, we reached Barstow, CA – the conclusion of a 7-hour, 33-minute leg. The highway, named Blue Star Memorial Hwy on Google Maps, offered little in the way of memorable scenery. Barstow with its Route 66-themed establishments reminiscent of a bygone era. History of Barstow

We settled in Shady Lane RV Camp, a relic of motor-coaches lost in time, with a phone booth Time Machine to mark its waywardness. We where welcomed by a jolly manager in a retro 50's trailer, the park, though dusty, felt more inviting. After exploring the quirky community, we crammed into the RV for the night. Unloading bikes and transforming the picnic table into an outdoor kitchen, we enjoyed burgers under the setting desert sun, reflecting on the journey thus far. As the night unfolded, we settled in for our first of only two nights in the RV.

Barstow's morning brought a chilly surprise, after a warm night of family and story telling of the trip thus far, clanking of beer bottles. The desert had a small parting gift for us. Typically my wife likes her unbothered morning slumber but today I woke to a set of legs tangled around my own and as much as one person can be smashed to another and my wife’s eyes looking into my waking gaze murmuring it is freaking freezing!

I guess the desert had the last laugh has it taunted our microfiber blanket which did nothing to fight the cold morning air. We tried to stay it off but instead decided to get up and start packing up, plus the layers of riding clothes added a much needed degree of warmth. The day held a highlight for me, that was Route 66 a fitting path for the vintage vibe of our bikes. So off we rumbled to take it all in!

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