The story left off at the end of day #3 with the car still running in spite of a rather worrying oil leak.
Day #4 Grants NM to Ludlow, CA.
Distance = 547 miles
The morning of day #4, and I was back on the road really early. Within ninety minutes I was across the state line into Arizona, and the scenery started to change from flat lands to a series of valleys and gorges. Before the trip began I had considered making some stops to check out landmarks along the way - the Grand Canyon, Santa Fe, etc - but after a couple of days in the saddle all I cared about was getting home as soon as possible.
Most of the day was spend with my eyes flitting between the road ahead and the temperature gauge. Every time I stopped for gas I was adding a pint of oil, and just hoping for the best - oil was splashed all over the top of the valve cover and everywhere else by this time; I was trying not to think about the trail of oil I was leaving along the highway! Just past Kingman I saw the first signpost for LA - it felt great to be approaching California even if I was still a day and a half away from home.
An hour later and I was through needles and into the Golden State....but elation soon turned to despair as the car's temperature gauge started to climb up to max. I stopped at the next gas station to check the oil, but before I could even pop the hood there was a hissing sound and a pool of foul smelling green liquid began to form below the motor. I had no idea what this was, but I knew it was bad news! A little bit of investigation, and I discovered that the radiator was overflowing - I guess it could have been a lot worse. Still, with the car obviously in need of another rest, and the time approaching 6:00 pm - I had been on the road for twelve hours - it seemed like a good time to stop. What made it a perfect time to stop was the old fashioned motel literally across the street from the gas station, so I moved the car over and checked in.
It was completely by chance, but I had actually stopped in Ludlow, CA, or at least the modern version of that town; the original Ludlow lies a few miles away on the original Route 66, and became a ghost town in the 1960's. The modern Ludlow has a fluctuating population of about 20 people and consists of a diner, a gas station and a motel.
I took a walk around at dusk and snapped a bunch of pictures; here's the main thoroughfare...
...and the "famous" Ludlow Coffee Shop.
The center piece of the "new" Ludlow is a long deserted Fire House, complete with a pair of vehicles that haven't moved in decades.
Remnants of the old fire house surround the motel...
The story continues with the fourth and final part here.