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  • Title: Diner at the Edge of the Apocalypse
  • By: Thurman Allen
  • Location: Newberry Springs, CA
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Near the end of my first trip down The Mother Road in 2010, I was driving towards Barstow, looking for some dinner. Passing through Newberry Springs, I saw The Bagdad Cafe’s open sign still on, but as I got out of the car, the sign went off. Wanting some pics, I grabbed my camera and fought the glare of the descending sun. As I framed my shot, a man walked out carrying a little girl. “Do you want to come inside?” Of course I did.I followed him into what felt like a diner at the edge of the apocalypse, walls plastered with t-shirts and memorabilia, an old jukebox filling the air with distant music. I sat in a booth, closest to the door. Though closed, my host offered to fix me a meal. While I ate my Jack Palance burger, we chatted about his life there and my travels on 66. As I paid, I thanked him for his hospitality and for sacrificing his time and he handed me a pack of Cafe postcards, no charge.Random encounters like this make Route 66 more than just a road. It’s an icon.