Pitstop at the Chiriaco Summit Coffee Shop

Sometimes in life you find yourself in a place where you don’t have enough in the tank to move forward so your only chance of making it is turning back. This is true both metaphorically and in motorcycling.

abandoned gas station at desert center california and fz07
abandoned cafe at desert center california and fz07

Standing at the abandoned gas stations at Desert Center my options were limited. As I considered the time of day, the remaining range on my tank, and the apparent fuel availability, I opted to go for what I knew with certainty. There was definitely gas 20 miles back. That’s how I found myself dining alone at the counter of the Chiriaco Summit restaurant and coffee shop.

fz07 parked outside of chiriaco summit restaurant

Over the years I’ve read many references to how empowering it is to be able to comfortably go to a restaurant and just eat alone. I’ve heard this particularly in reference to women. Apparently we’re less inclined to dine solo? I don’t know if this is just some corny antiquated trope or what. What I do know is that it isn’t my experience at all.

chiriaco summit counter

Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time dining on my own. It doesn’t make me feel strong or powerful. Sometimes it really makes me feel like a loser.

chiriaco summit menu

Interesting choice of counter reading material:

reading material at chiriaco summit

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. When I’m traveling, I have a go-to meal that has a magnetic pull on me ~ chicken fried steak. Why? Couldn’t tell ya. My first recollection of eating it was at a Denny’s where my best friend worked when I was a teenager. So, it wasn’t some magical experience.

Here on Long Island it isn’t something commonly spotted on the menu at local restaurants. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say I must equate it with road food I can only get while I’m “away.” So, when I saw it on the menu at the Summit, ding-ding-ding it was a no brainer!

Except, this is what came out ~ my first experience with (excessive) brown gravy on chicken fried steak. Absolutely wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever eaten however I would not recommend this configuration over the standard. Also,… not clear on the use of saltines.

not great chicken fried steak

The entry hall to the bathrooms featured these lovely artistic renderings of the magnificent Cabazon Dinosaurs.

artwork - cabazon dinosaurs at chiriaco summit
artwork - cabazon dinosaurs at chiriaco summit

Also unexpectedly on the grounds? The General Patton Memorial Museum.

general patton memorial museum

This place was really a full service operation. Eat here, get gas, look at tanks. Recommend!

bathroom mirror selfie

Another day of hoboing done. Lessons learned, beauty seen, feelings felt.


Rachael is the whimsical writer behind the 20+ year old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.

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1 Response

  1. Lowel says:

    Thanks, interesting write-up, and photos. I’ve always thought of making a motorcycle road trip to visit the General Patton Memorial Museum (only about 280 miles from where I live in Arizona), it just hasn’t happened yet. My go-to meal on a motorcycle road trip at lunch time is usually a BLT sandwich, with fries. If it’s breakfast time then I go for the fried eggs, over easy, bacon, hash browns and toast with butter and jelly.

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