Local

September 6, 2012

Off the beaten path

Tags:
Story and photos by Don Ross
Public Affairs Office, NTC and Fort Irwin

The Whistle Stop Café in Nipton, Calif.

The Whistle Stop Café in Nipton, Calif.

As a motorcyclist, taking the long way home, bypassing the interstate highways in favor of the road less traveled is something that I’ve always done and enjoyed, for the most part. It’s not the destination, but the journey—right?

In most cases, that’s true. This time however, a late start for the quick trip to Las Vegas meant it was Interstate-15 the entire way. No meandering up Route 66 and no rest stop or beef jerky in Baker, Calif. The Mad Greek would have to wait!

Blame it on poor planning, a late start or my passenger. But that’s exactly what turned our mundane I-15 motorcycle ride into a unique experience off the beaten path. Ok, so it was that and a check engine light about 20 miles or so outside of Baker. Taking the first exit, exit 286 at Nipton Road, got us back on the road less traveled (much less traveled) looking for a service station or something in Nipton, Calif., “The Gateway to the Mojave National Preserve.”

With a population of about 40 (four, zero), Nipton has the distinction of being the most solar-powered town in the country, thanks to a concentrated photo voltaic plant that began operating in 2010. Other unique features include the Nipton Hotel, complete with furnishings straight from your grandparents’ attic. And when was the last time you’ve seen a mile-long freight train stopped at a railroad crossing for burgers? We couldn’t believe it either! If a Whistle Stop Café bacon cheese-burger (since closed, reopening this month) can stop a freight train, it must be worth it. It was!

Hotel Nipton, the five room bed and breakfast frequented by silent film star Clara Bow in the 1920s.

Hotel Nipton, the five room bed and breakfast frequented by silent film star Clara Bow in the 1920s.

Another unexpected fact uncovered with the check engine light is that Clara Bow, a silent movie star in the 1920’s, owned a ranch not far from Nipton. She frequented the hotel when accompanying her husband on cattle drives and when picking up her fan mail there. Plus, her Hollywood guests would arrive in Nipton, via rail, for events and gatherings at her ranch.

George Strait, in the title track of his 2001 album “The Road Less Traveled,” sang “I’ve chosen a pathway I may not endure/one thing’s for certain, nothing for sure.” While I’m a huge George Strait fan, there are two things for certain if you travel just 10 or so miles from I-15 to Nipton: it’s a friendly, unique and historic stop at the “Gateway of the Mojave National Preserve,” and there certainly isn’t a service station.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
front_page

Fort Irwin Soldiers honored at Armed Forces Day event

Children surround Spc. Matthew Bragg – of B Troop, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment – for a photo opportunity at the 2015 Torrance Armed Forces Day Parade, May 16.   Leadership, Soldiers and civilian employe...
 
 

News Briefs June 2015

Now through Aug. 5 SAC Summer Camp. 6 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Friday. 1322 Pork Chop Hill. The Fort Irwin School Age Center Summer Camp Program accommodates children from kindergarten to fifth grade. SAC encourages physical, emotional, and social development through the following service areas: sports, fitness, and health options; life skills, citizenship...
 
 
IMG_5348

11th ACR Horse Detachment demonstrates tradition

Sgt. 1st Class Roman Hacker leads fellow Horse Handlers of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Horse Detachment on a beach ride at Salinas River State Beach in Marina, Calif., May 8.   Friends of the Fort Ord Warhorse welcom...
 

 
cheers

Stepmother not liable in Cinderella civil suit

Stepmother, played by Deputy Staff Judge Advocate Maj. Carol Brewer, cheers a favorable verdict. At Fort Irwin’s Law Day on May 1, Fort Irwin Middle School 5th graders gathered in their school gym to participate and watch a m...
 
 
Burnett_atlatl

Homeschoolers learn about Fort Irwin’s natural, prehistoric worlds

Redhorse Corporation archaeologist Dr. Katherine Burnett explains to homeschool students how early Native American hunters used the atlatl. In late March, about 50 Fort Irwin homeschool students got an up-close and (a little) d...
 
 
CPTLenart_COLBraga

Garrison company welcomes new commander

At his change of command ceremony, Capt. J. Kenneth Sandifer thanked his wife and children for being his motivation to serve and his parents and brother for instilling in him the Army values before they were known as the Army V...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>