After a very long drive across the desert on CA Rte. 58, I was ready for any excuse to stop, get out of the car, and take a picture. So it’s possible I was, quite possibly, the very first person to ever be excited about Boron, California.
Boron is a very small town in the middle of nowhere. It’s not even at a crossroads: that honor belongs to Kramer Junction, a few miles up the road. As the name suggests, Boron is all about Borax, a substance used in detergents, cosmetics, and insecticides. The nearby Rio Tinto Borax mine is the largest borate mine in the world, tapping one of the richest borate deposits on earth.
If a town name and a primary product that could easily be mistaken for the word “boring” doesn’t have you excited yet, maybe some big machinery will help:
In the middle of downtown Boron, Pioneer Park gives kids the chance to get up close to a huge dump truck, and vintage fire truck.
Just the tires on the Lectra Haul truck are as tall as I am. As for the fire truck, it’s an International Harvester that dates back to 1956.
Across the street from Pioneer Park, you’ll spot another big piece of machinery — but this one feels a bit more out of place. There’s a big F-4 fighter jet in the front courtyard of the Saxon Aerospace Museum. The Saxon is a small but respectable museum, where you can see a rocket engine, missile parts, a gyrocopter, flight suits, and helmets.
After experiencing the thrill of flight, you can check out the cafe across the street, next door to Pioneer Park. Many of the other businesses in town…
…look a lot like the old liquor store.
Boron didn’t quite satisfy my desire to waste time, so I stopped at this excellent antique store. If you like vintage highway signs (think of dye-cut US 101 and 395 signs, complete with cat’s eyes reflectors), be sure to stop in and drool over the selection here.
The Astro Burger drive-in, next door to the antique shop, also looks promising, but I didn’t stop for dinner, so I can’t provide a firsthand recommendation. There’s also a truck stop and a few other businesses clustered around the junction.
Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive on Hwy. 58 from Bakersfield to Boron:
… and Boron to San Bernardino via Hwy. 395, I-15, I-215, I-10: