October 08, 2002


Fifteen years ago, as our wedding day drew nearer, people would ask us, "Will, Jane, where are you going on your honeymoon?" And we'd tell them, gleefully, "Barstow". And they'd say, "Barstow!?" And we'd reply, smiling smugly, "Barstow". And they'd walk away thinking we just didn't want to tell them where we were going.

They were right, of course. But the joke was, we actually did go to Barstow. That is to say, we went to Sedona, Arizona, and to get there we took the train from Pasadena, and that train stopped for half-an-hour in the railroad yard in Barstow. To be honest, I never expected to spend more time there than that.

For those who have never heard of Barstow, it's somewhat less than halfway between Los Angeles and Los Vegas. It started life as a railroad town (it boasts one of the original Harvey Houses) and so far as I know still mostly is a railroad town. But it's also the nearest town of any size to Fort Irwin, home to the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, one of JPL's three spacecraft ground stations.

And since my project at JPL produces hardware and software for GDSCC, sometimes I need to go there. And unless I'm prepared to drive there and back in one day, that means I end up spending the night...in Barstow.

The nearest bookstore of any size is about thirty miles away, in Victorville.

Tonight I am, you guessed, spending the night in Barstow. Tomorrow I get to get up, bright and early, and drive yet another hour into the desert for a fun-filled day of Acceptance Testing, after which I will turn around and drive home.

Sanity might require me to make a brief stop in Victorville. We'll see.

Posted by Will Duquette at October 8, 2002 06:20 PM