The temperature really climbs high in Baker, Calif.
Head west from Las Vegas on Interstate 15 and you can't miss it. About the time your trip meter nears triple digits, the world's tallest thermometer looms up from the desert—on a July afternoon likely displaying its own triple-digit reading.
The beacon has made Baker, Calif., the Mojave Desert's top stop for travelers who need a break and a slice of strawberry pie at Bob's Big Boy. Erected next to the restaurant in 1992, the 134-foot tower commemorates the hottest temperature ever recorded in the United States: 134 degrees in nearby Death Valley on July 10, 1913.
Summer temperatures on the working thermometer often reach 110 and higher. "Four years ago I caught it displaying 124 degrees," says Le Hayes, Baker's town manager. "That wasn't official, but it still felt pretty hot."
Photography by Maxine Cass
This article was first published in July 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.