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Ciriaco Summit

Well rats, I meant to post this last night but I was so tired after waking up every morning at 5:00 a.m. to supervise Granny’s breakfast and make sure that she didn’t down an entire bottle of wine, and then driving 400 miles across the desert that I grew quite tired. I crawled into bed at 9:00 p.m. and completely zonked out.

The following is a tip for drivers on I-10 heading to/from Los Angeles to Phoenix and beyond. Between Indio and Blythe you may look at your fuel level and think it’s high time for a fill up. Especially when heading west, your best bet to gas ‘er up, stretch your legs, shop for cheesy souveniers, and get a bite to eat (but not bunker down for the night) is in Ciriaco Summit, exit 173. Again, please take my advice and avoid Blythe. Your next best bet appears to be Desert Center but don’t waste your time. It contains nothing but a big mart and an old fashioned gas pump selling hideously overpriced petrol.

You may start to panic if the needle’s on the red and highway signs say Indio – 49 miles. Ah, worry not. In a mere 20 miles you’ll hit Ciriaco Summit, an enterprising Colorado Desert oasis. East-bounders will recognize this stop as ending the interstate’s steep, transmission-battering climb.

In Ciriaco you’ll find a gas station (prices are okay, but not outstanding), a travel center with ample bathrooms and a Foster’s Freeze, a gift shop, a coffee shop/cafe with tasty milkshakes and The George S. Patton Memorial Museum.

Patton Tank

My heart skipped a small beat at the last gem because Grampy told me all about it after I shared by horrid experience in Blythe. Everyone recounted going to the GSP Museum (which they thought was in Blythe), asking to use the restrooms and being handed plungers along with the key. I didn’t take my chances and only saw the outside but it makes for an interesting diversion on the long desert drive. The George S. Patton Memorial Museum, as the name suggests, was designed to honor General Patton and the soldiers who served with him at the Desert Training Center (in Ciriaco) and oversees.

On Tuesday the museum’s flag was flown at half-mast to honor President Ford.

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