Day 18: August 13, 2014
Destination Reached

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Since yesterday's Wigwam pictures were a little on the dark side, I thought I'd throw in a few taken on this sunny morning.

I only made one stop on Historic 66 today; at Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch. There are lots of bottle trees, of course, but there are also birds, watches, and Willys Jeep. Willy checked out, and he left it no doubt, to help with Good Elmer's revival. Though I've been here before, this was the first time I've met Elmer. We had a pretty good chat and it didn't seem to me like Elmer needed help with his revival or anything else. He told me that he had made two additions to the ranch already today. One was a cluster of insulators that I'm not confident that I actually found. The other was an "OVERSIZE LOAD" on the front fence.

I left the old road at Barstow and proceeded to Kingman on the interstate, much of which looked like this. Not too bad considering...

I received a phone call shortly after reaching the motel that made me feel much better. It didn't solve any problems but it removed one of two reasons I had for a recent decrease in trust in my fellow man. In fact, it cranked up that faith a bit and increased my already high opinion of San Diego, California. Here's the story:

It was Saturday afternoon when I reached the San Diego park which held the Old Spanish Trail Zero Milestone and found it closed. Sunday was spent with family. On Monday, I learned, via an internet search, that a group called Civic San Diego was involved in the project and I obtained a pair of email addresses. At approximately 7:00 AM, I sent a message explaining my situation and inquiring if something could be done to arrange a visit to the marker. Less than three hours later, I received a reply from Mark Caro of Civic SD. He told me he had forwarded my message to the appropriate person in the city's park department but that the person would not be out of the office all day. The next day, Tuesday, I got a call from Mark who told me that the city park official had responded and asked that Mark pass along his telephone number to me so that I could contact him directly. I called almost immediately and left voice mail. I made a second call about an hour later to explain that check out time was arriving and I might not be able to answer a call immediately but that I was still hoping for a call and hoping for a chance to see and photograph the marker. The day ended with no call and me in San Bernardino. Just before leaving the Wigwams on Wednesday, I made another call and left another message. I explained that the window of opportunity for a return to San Diego was closing and that only Wednesday and Thursday remained. As I drove toward Kingman, I realized that I had been a little too lenient in that assessment. Realistically, there wasn't much chance of me driving to San Diego from Kingman. If I got a call soon enough, yep. Late in the day, nope. I reached Kingman without a call.

I had not been happy about the closed park but was possibly even less happy about the tease and letdown. Then, shortly after checking into the motel, my phone rang. It was Steve Paulle, the fellow I'd been leaving messages for. He quickly explained that he had copied my number incorrectly from the first message and had left a lengthy message for someone. Then he told me that, when he first heard from Mark, he believed that the marker could still be reached but later learned that it was now on its side in a crowded warehouse; Safe but inaccessible. He was apologetic with offers to keep me informed about the project's progress and the park's reopening. It made my whole attitude better. It returned to what it was when I first heard from Mark on Monday. I still wasn't able to complete the trifecta of Old Spanish Trail markers but I had a real appreciation for the folks who run San Diego. Both Steve and Mark were responsive and tried their best to be helpful. Big thanks to both. And I do expect to see that marker in its new setting in a year or two.

There was an impromptu gathering of early arrivals at Redneck's BBQ in the evening but there were plenty of people taking photos so I didn't bother.

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