My first day of driving is done!

I planned this thing out so that I wouldn’t have any super long driving days. I left my home at around 9 am and checked into my first hotel in Needles, California before 2 pm.

The good news is that I’m not at all tired from the driving. I have three things I hate in regards to driving: driving during sunrise, driving during sunset and driving in the dark. It sounds like I could easily add a few more hours to a driving day in the future.

The things I “forgot” at home are: full size shampoo, bath towel (I wanted to bring my own as many motels give really thin towels and i have no idea the quality of towels in someone’s house), and my external hard drive. The external hard drive is no big deal as the only thing it has not on my laptop is my music collection…which is backed up in the cloud on Amazon Music, so as long as I have wifi, I have music. Kind of annoyed that I “forgot” the towel and shampoo, but I’ll get over it. Those are both easily purchased on the road if needed.

After Needles, I have a 200 mile drive to Flagstaff, and then, after Flagstaff, I have a 185 mile drive from Flagstaff to Gallup, NM (though I’ll stop at Petrified Forest National Park along the way) and finally, a 135 mile drive from Gallup to Albuquerque. Today was 233 miles…and so it was the longest drive of the lot on the way to New Mexico.

I stopped for lunch at the second ever Del Taco in Barstow. The first one opened in Yermo, but it closed down, and this one is now the oldest active Del Taco’s. The internet says they use fresher ingredients than a normal franchise, but who knows. I had two Barstow tacos (beef, lettuce, cheese, tomato) and 1 Barstow soft chicken taco (chicken, lettuce, cheese tomato, with a ranchy sauce). The chicken tasted better than any Del Taco or Taco Bell chicken that I’ve had before, but the beef tasted typical. Maybe the portions of beef were larger than a normal Del Taco portion? I’ve been spoiled by the authentic Mexican taco shops that are all over SoCal, especially in my most recent city of residence. So, I would say skip unless you really like Americanized Mexican food.

There were some nice views of the snow-capped mountains along I-15. Once I got onto I-40 though, there was not much of a view to speak of. Funny to see an interstate with only two lanes in each direction, I-15, I-5 and I-10 in Southern California have far more than 2 lanes in each direction.

I did notice the sign that said 2600 ish miles to Wilmington, North Carolina on I-40. It was entertaining trying to find radio stations as I moved in and out of range of various towers.

I did get stuck in a bit of a tourist trap for dinner. There was a Subway that was very walkable from my motel that I could have easily eaten at for 1/3 the price, but…there was also the Wagon Wheel across the street. I’d say the food tasted at least 3x better than anything at Subway, so at least the more expensive food was more worthy. I was disappointed to learn that the menu prices on their website must be a few years old as everything on the menu was more pricey. 🙁

Wagon Wheel