Following either Route 66 or Interstate 40, you reach the apex of the western Mojave Desert, Barstow. Barstow essentially began in 1886 after a local post office named Waterman Junction changed its name to Barstow. However, the area had been settled for decades prior to its location in the "Mormon Corridor", which stretches from southern California up through Utah and into Wyoming.
Route 66 serves as Main Street, heading through downtown Barstow. It's well marked and businesses line the street. Barstow is a major stop on Interstate 15 because it is about the halfway point between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. An interesting fast food stop popular with travelers is Barstow Station, which features an ice cream shop with a twist: part of the seating includes booths in rail cars.
Trivia: The fast-food restaurant Del Taco was founded in nearby Yermo and the oldest franchise is on 401 N. First Street.
Being a major railroad town, Barstow became home to the Harvey House Railroad Depot, known as the Casa del Desierto. Its original name was Fred Harvey House and still stands as a majestic structure alongside railroad tracks that are among the busiest in the nation.
The building still functions as an unstaffed Amtrak passenger station and houses Barstow city offices and two museums: the Western American Railroad Museum and the Barstow Route 66 "Mother Road" Museum. To get to the Depot, follow First Street north from Route 66, past the Del Taco and over a bridge that spans the railroad tracks; the Depot is on the "other side of the tracks."
If a drive-in movie sounds about right by the time you get here, check out the Skyline Drive-In along Highway 58 on Barstow's west side. It has two screens which both show two movies each night.
|Best Western PLUS Desert Villa Inn
1984 E. Main Street (Route 66)
Barstow, CA 92311-3218