Revisiting — “If it were a snake…”
January 11, 2015
A friend asked me a couple days ago if I knew Ron–the Ron at Daggett Airport.. A bunch of lovely memories returned, so thought I’d share again …
“If it were a snake, it would have bitten you!” is one of my grandmother quotes I still remember with loving fondness. Along the same line, my husband and I have a modern day quip pertaining to finding stuff right in front of us. We call it, “refrigerator blindness.” You know, when you can’t see the mayonnaise on the shelf right in front of your eyes, or the keys you’ve looked over twice on the desk…
The Barstow-Daggett Airport has been boldly sitting under my nose since I moved to the desert, and I’ve driven by it on Route 66 and I-40 hundreds of times—but never taken the time to stop and look. Shame on me! Recently, hooray, with my two friends Janice Maloney and Mary McGee, I enjoyed another “Route 66 day.” This time, right in my own backyard.
First off, I didn’t realize how large the airport actually was—over a 1,000 acres. The airport’s history is interesting and goes back to 1933. Built by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the army to modify A-20 “Havoc” light bombers. There’s great information on the internet and in Route 66 books by various authors, including details on current military (helicopter) and commercial activities. But what I like most of all about going to Route 66 points of interest is talking to the people!
So far, everywhere we’ve gone, and without exception, there’s been a palpable passion for The Mother Road, a generosity of spirit of owners/operators/greeters, all delivered with an underpinning of warmth easily shared with inquisitive strangers (like me and my friends!) We also went to the Barstow Route 66 museum the same day, and Debra (a prime example of the Mother Road spirit), as always was most welcoming!
And at the Barstow-Daggett Airport, Al and Ron, Daggett Aviation Inc., couldn’t have been nicer and more generous with their time. I left in awe. The historical wall pictures and artifacts, the memorabilia, and the stories and pictures of helicopters, airplanes, and celebrity adventures—WOW! Thanks, Al and Ron, it was a great visit. If you find yourself cruising this piece of Route 66, The Barstow-Dagett Airport is a peek not only into the past, but a look at a valuable piece of current day Mojave infrastructure.
And once again I’m reminded what amazing feats amazing people have done before us–and continue to do.
For my mystery-writing friends–on the airport property there is also a no longer operating community pool in the shadow of a huge, and also no longer used hanger. Law abiding as I am, I couldn’t take a picture of the hanger. Nonetheless, fictional mayhem involving that pool and hanger are a-brewing in my imagination…
Well, we didn’t run into any snakes, but there is a pond, and the pond “rulers”— large flocks of geese (several kinds), and ducks (again, many varieties) came to “greet” us. For me, it’s the unexpected that makes exploring Route 66 so special!
 One of the last two teachers at Amboy, CA school before it closed, and current owner of historic Whiting Bros Gas Station on Route 66.