Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Kelbaker......


8:36 pm - PST - Wednesday - 59º F, 30% humidity, wind 4 mph out of east northeast......we have arrived in Tecopa, CA.....a place neither of us has ever been before....and, of course, there are HOT SPRINGS!!

We were both up by 6:30 am Wednesday......since I had written my Tuesday blogpost Tuesday night TLE and I went for another walk down to the end of the landing strip and back, then got ready to roll our wheels once again.  This is the first time we have traveled in the Newell two days in a row for quite a long time.  We headed east on Route 66 for 5.5 miles to Kelbaker Road and then turned is 11 miles on a totally straight road to intersect with I-40, and then another 20+ miles over Granite Pass (4,000') and down to Kelso, CA......Kelbaker runs all the way to Baker, CA......about 75 miles in all......

.....Kelso is a railroad town that came into prominence during World War 2.....there was an iron ore mine nearby owned by Kaiser Steel, and the ore from that mine (Viper Mine) was shipped via the Kelso station down to the Kaiser Steel Mill in Fontana, CA to be processed, and that steel was then used to build Liberty Ships used by the Navy in WW2......

The old Post Office (my friend Claude and I stealthed camped behind this post office 9 years ago)

......the railroad depot was a two story affair.....the second story was made up of rooms for train crews, and depot workers who lived on premises......after WW2 ended the Viper Mine was closed, and Kelso's population declined precipitously, and eventually the Kelso Depot was closed, and the railroad was going to tear down this elegant building, but preservationists prevailed, and it was acquired by the State and restored......

......the lunch counter looks much as it did in the 1940' it is ready for business, but is really just a sort of 'still life' representation of what used to be.....the entire building can be toured (basement, ground and second stories)......

The old ticket office

.....we spent about 45 minutes taking the tour of the depot, and then we were off again for Baker, CA on Kelbaker interesting note about Kelbaker Road.....9 years ago when my friend Claude and I took our epic 9 day bike journey from Indio, CA to Lone Pine, CA Kelbaker Road was 25 years overdue for was terrible.....full of potholes, and in many places completely missing pavement, but sometime in the past few years it has been completely repaved from where it intersects I-40 all the way to Baker, is a wonderful road now!

Love that new pavement!

About 20 miles after leaving Kelso we were passing by many ancient cinder cones.....sort of like small volcanoes from which lava flowed thousands of years ago....... was not long until we came to Baker (at the intersection of I-15 and SR-127) which is famous mostly for having, allegedly, the world's largest thermometer.......on this day it was registering 68º F.........I've seen it register well over 100º in the past as we were driving past Baker on I-15 on our way to Las Vegas......Baker is also known as the 'Gateway to Death Valley'........these are the only two things, other than the 'Mad Greek Restaurant', that distinguish Baker, otherwise it is just kind of an 'armpit' kind of town...... Baker Kelbaker Road becomes SR-127 which would take us to our destination for the day, and the next 3 days in fact, Tecopa, CA......famous for its abundant mineral hot springs.....there are several campgrounds in Tecopa which feature bath houses (Tecopa Hot Springs RV Resort, Delight's RV Resort and Tecopa Hot Springs Campground and Pools) with hot mineral water piped in from the local hot springs......the temperature is kept at a constant 104º.......

.......Tecopa Hot Springs Campround and Pools is the RV park we chose mostly since it is a Passport America park, making our three day stay $42 (as opposed to the full price of $82).....we have a pull through site with 30 amp water, and no sewer.......considering the fact that we have not plugged in our Newell in over 6 weeks we are quite content with just 30 amps of power....... 

.....we arrived at our destination just before 1 pm, and were in our site and setup by 2 3 pm we were soaking in their hot pools.........there will be many more sessions in the coming days......after returning from our first soak we sat outside reading and listening to 'B.B. King's Bluesville' on Sirius/XM Radio (channel 70) and were treated to a spectacular sunset...........

On a closing note, I warned previously that I might not be able to post for a few days while here in Tecopa, but as it turns out this park has pretty good just never know, do you?  So, anyway, you will have to continue to put up with my rambling missives without interruption after all.  There is, however, no Verizon cell service of any kind....PERIOD (not Sprint, T-Mobile, or AT&T either....nothing, nada, zip, zilch).

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Looks lie another nice area to explore love the old station.
    At least you have some wifi there.

  2. Looks like a cool route Clarke, we may have to traverse Kelbaker at some point in the near future.

  3. Michael, you would love it....very remote!

  4. We've encountered too many places with no cell service but always seem to have had one or the other (wifi or cell). Enjoy the park, sounds nice with the hot pools.

    1. Hi Patsy! We love the hot pools......three soaks for me so far.....

  5. A slight correction; the Kelso Depot was restored & is run by the National Park Service, a federal agency. We had visited there several times prior to the restoration & love to see the beautiful transformation. Becki


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