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Thursday, February 9, 2012

On The Way to Vegas is Kelso

From Palm Springs, CA, the drive to Las Vegas, Nevada is only about 3.5 hours.  You don't even get on the interstate but instead take back roads that wind through a beautiful desert landscape.  The day greeted us with this spectacular light reflecting off the hills behind my parents' house.  The drive itself takes you through wild hill and rock formations, Joshua Trees, salt flats and one historical town named Kelso.  Kelso came into existence in 1923 when it was discovered that trains needed an extra little shove up the Cima grade.  They built the city around a railway depot that housed these "helper engines."  All that's there now is the old train station that has been converted into a museum and classic diner café, the old town jail, and some nice restrooms for those needing a break on their backroad drive!
 The jail was mainly a holding pen for drunks who needed somewhere to sleep it off.
It was fun to stop and read the signs that explained the significance of this once bustling town. It made me think about how places develop to meet an immediate need and how they go bust once the need has been met.  Life ebbs and flows.  The roads we drove on used to be the only roads that people could travel on as they headed east out of California.  Now there are many huge highways you can take, but these backroad drives are hard to beat.