Vineyard to Vineyard: Bad Cocktails in Barstow

We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the bad drinks began to take hold.

Seven and a half hours from Napa, and we're in another world.

I haven't seen the desert since 1974, and the landscape of low scrub and occasional spiky trees makes me think of drawings by Dr. Seuss and George Herriman (Krazy Kat). It also reminds me of a part of Martha's Vineyard, on the north end of the Island, that's also sandy, scrubby and dotted with contorted little trees.

We're in another world when it comes to food and drink, too: Two nights after fabulous cocktails and dinner at The Thomas in Napa, our first sit-down meal on the road was distinguished by the worst mixed drinks I've ever had that weren't served in plastic. 

The first "mojito" tasted so strange, I couldn't tell if there was alcohol in it (we dined at our hotel restaurant after parking the car for the night). For the second, I requested dark rum and received something that tasted even more like insecticide.

But the tortilla soup was fresh and filling, the service was friendly, the enchiladas cheesy and we were done with our first day on the road.

Still: If you're at The Thomas (Fagiani's) any time soon, try their lavender-honey cocktail and think of me, out here on the edge of the desert with a week of driving and questionable beverages ahead.

With thanks to the late Hunter S. Thompson for his unforgettable first line from "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, "We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold."

Tonight: Gallup, N.M. Frankie is not happy about a second day in his carrier, so we've given him a fragment of vet-prescribed sedative in Barstow this morning.

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Mary Richardson February 07, 2013 at 08:42 PM
Hey, girl! I wish I'd seen this post while you were still in and around Barstow! I've "commuted" to Winslow several times in the last month. Let's see, the Pisgah rest stop is kind of a trip because of its volcanic nature. We honk after crossing into Arizona and always stop at the Pilot at mile marker 9 because it has the cheapest gas. Kingman has a decent Mexican food and a Best Western that I can recommend; the road cut on the western end of town at Andy Devine Avenue is cool! The San Francisco peaks in Flagstaff are also cool, and then it turns to desert. We drove that stretch from Flagstaff to Winslow pretty much daily. Twin Arrows and Two Guns .... gotta love it!
Mary Richardson February 07, 2013 at 08:43 PM
P.S. Silly you, you shoulda probably had a Bud Light in Barstow - Duh!
Mary Richardson February 07, 2013 at 09:04 PM
I added two photos to this post for you. I sure wish I'd seen this before - I could've followed you with scenery photos!
Louisa Hufstader February 09, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Thanks, Mary! I didn't get the chance to snap many pics on this drive so yours are especially welcome.
Caryl C February 16, 2013 at 05:39 AM
Isn't it crazy how long it takes just to get out of California?! Good luck on the other left coast Louisa!


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