BAKER, Calif. — You never know what you will find on the Backroads. ABC10’s John Bartell takes us to the gateway of the Mojave Desert where he made a pit stop in a town with extreme temperatures.
Centered between Death Valley and the Mojave National Preserve, Baker, Calif. used to be railroad station servicing mining companies. Today, it’s a gas station pit stop for heat-seeking travelers and home to the world’s tallest thermometer.
How tall? 134 feet! That’s not an arbitrary height. It’s a tribute to the hottest temperature ever recorded in Death Valley: 134 degrees Fahrenheit!
The massive thermometer was the brainchild of Willis and Barbara Herron -- a local business owner who spent $750,000 to construct the heat reader next to their restaurant The Bun Boy.
Technically, this is the second tallest thermometer. Shortly after the first thermometer was constructed in 1991 high winds blew it over. A newer and stronger tallest thermometer was built the following year. Since then it has attracted visitors from all over the world.
If one tourist attraction wasn’t enough. Just down the road is Alien Jerky -- a massive UFO-shaped souvenir shop loaded with dried meats. If you’re lucky you may find Jim “Jet” Nielsen hanging out in Baker. He likes to show off his 50,000-horsepower jet car. Jet’s claimed a number of land speed records in his younger years, but to pay for gas he sells T-shirts and photographs.
Fuel, heat, and souvenirs. Baker, Calif. is in NO short supply and it’s worth a stop.
If you have any idea where John Bartell should go next send him a message on FaceBook.
Read more Bartell's Backroads on ABC10
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