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Lance Cpl. Aaron Kristopik, a paralegal clerk with the Combat Center’s Staff Judge Advocate and a native of New Britain, Conn., sits and takes in some sun May 9 at the Salt Evaporation Plan with their famous clear water off of Amboy Road.

Photo by Lance Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Aaron’s Exploits; end of an era

18 May 2009 | Lance Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Since he has finished his sightseeing and had many personal discoveries, along with some soul searching, Lance Cpl. Aaron Kristopik, a paralegal clerk with the Combat Center’s Staff Judge Advocate and a native of New Britain, Conn., decided to take a break from his journeys Saturday and focus on what he has learned, after traveling down the famous Historic Route 66.

Kristopik journeyed up and down the historic road, taking in all the stuff he passed by on a regular basis during his journeys, just to see what was going on out there, he said.

“I’ve seen this stuff a lot,” he said. “I’ve passed by it time and time again. The thing is, I never really noticed any of it, except, maybe the shoe tree and some other small stuff.

“This is kind of like wrapping up on a personal level for me,” he said. “I guess you could say it’s time to backtrack over it all.”

Kristopik said some of the stuff caught his eye, not because of what it was, but where it was.

“This stuff just pops up out of the desert at you,” he said. “The Salt Evaporation Plan, Roy’s Cafe, all the Route 66 signs painted on the ground. You just don’t know what to make of some of it.”

Kristopik said he remembered hearing a movie was being shot in Amboy, Calif., and wanted to check it out.

“I heard a friend one day say he heard they were shooting some kind of movie in Amboy,” he said. “I went there to good old Roy’s Cafe, but apparently they’re done with it.

“There were still some props there,” he said. “A really old cop car and some car they made look like it had an accident.  If I see the movie when it comes out, I’m going to tell everyone I know about what I saw, unless the movie sucks.

Kristopik said he finally went on the long walk to see the Amboy Crater, but got tired and never went all the way up.

“Too big, way too big,” he said about the climb up. “I was wearing sandals and ate it face–first too many times. I got revenge on the crater for hurting me. I stole a rock as a souvenir, I know it can’t think, but if it could, it would think twice before making me fall next time.”

Kristopik said the trip helped him answer a lot of questions about himself, and also about the desert. He said he is going to take some time to recover and try to become a Marine Security Guard to see more of the world, not just Southern California.

“I’ve learned from all of this that life is what you make of it,” he said. “I’ve made use of my time at the Combat Center. Now, I want to branch out, get a feel for the rest of the Marine Corps and the world.”

After taking a run through the desert, and sitting on the banks of crystal clear water at the Salt Evaporation Plant, Kristopik called it quits, heading back to base for some sleep.

To visit all the places Kristopik has, take a left on Amboy Road after leaving the Combat Center. Follow Amboy all the way to Amboy, Calif., and make a right onto Historic Route 66, all the places visited are visible while traveling down the roads.


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