Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Crossing the Mojave by Judy Maguire (Crew Captain)

Crossing the Mojave is challenging enough in July, even driving - but doing it on foot!?!? “Downright CRAZY!” as a local from Essex told us.

Our first night of camping was a far cry from our graciously donated hotel room at the Holiday Inn Express in Barstow (thanks to lovely Wanda, the manager there) - but we made do with what appeared to be an abandoned train or bus station. We didn't get too much sleep, between the relentless heat and trains going by every hour or two, so were up for an early start by 6:00 a.m. After putting in 10-15 miles, we stopped at the “Bagdad Café” for a nice breakfast - where the actual movie was filmed. Soon we were off again continuing our trip.

We ended the day's run in the middle of nowhere again - so marked the spot carefully and spent the night in Ludlow's only motel. We are finding out that there is no real internet connection, in the middle of nowhere..

We did 36-37 miles the next day – we were determined to make it to "Amboy or Bust"! Meaning - "Anywhere", as opposed to - "Nowhere" again, as we'd had enough of that.. The Sheriff there kindly gave us a free camping spot as the motel was being remodeled and so wouldn't be open for another couple of years.. and also some fresh water to shower with (the taps were all salinated).

The next day after we ran on we found a "shoe tree", literally - a tree which many pedestrians passing through hung up their old shoes. There was also a "sock tree" a bit further down.. We put in 30 miles that day and ended up camping at the High Desert Oasis - which it truly was - a small truck stop "in the middle of nowhere", which had signs posted around for customers not to complain about their prices. They had the highest gas prices I've ever seen..

We drove back the next morning to where we had left off running the night before - and put one foot in front of the other again. Took a pit stop at "JR's Tires" and we had to take photos, due to the shared name with John Radich. JR & wife were very friendly and so we presented them with a
The Way To Happiness DVD and booklet. Our destination that day was Goffs (population 12). Arriving there at 2:30pm gave us time to take real showers and hand-wash clothes - even taste a little bit of A/C (in the "cookhouse"). The property was impressive (the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association) – it was like an outdoor Wild West museum of all kinds of antique relics, cars, etc. It's hard to describe, so you'll just have to look at the photos. The Executive Director was most gracious to us.

The next day was a straight shot to Needles -totaling about 31 miles. Although it was mostly
downhill - the temperature was going uphill, in contrast - was around 120 by the time we made Needles!

That was the "end of the road" for me - I had to turn my car around there and get back to my life in LA. John still has a long ways to go - he inspired me. What keeps him so upbeat is his purpose in promoting
The Way To Happiness Foundation as he knows that their programs really can improve the state of society.

If anyone out there is interested in helping to crew John or assist in any way - you would be most welcome! Please contact Judy Maguire or Patricia O’Brien under

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