For many off-roaders of all ages, all roads have led to the Slash X Café in Barstow, CA. The ranch and bar was founded and built by Lee Barry in 1954. The Lynn family are the current owners of the Slash X Cafe. The Lynn’s have just celebrated their 10th year of ownership as well as the 60th Anniversary of Slash X Café on June 21-23 2014. Gail and her late husband Brian jumped on the chance to own the Slash X Café. Brian Lynn’s life was tragically taken in a car accident while preparing the Slash X Café for the MDR 200 Memorial Ceremony on 8-11-11. Both Gail and Brian had a huge passion for collecting old motorcycles and obscure collectibles. The two would spend hours searching through craigslist and ebay to find new treasures. With Brain’s passing she is having a difficult time talking her boys into some of the road trips to pick up the new treasures. Gail said she has had so many great memories at the Slash X but by far her greatest memories were the countless times 2 stepping with Brian to George Strait on the jukebox after the doors were locked for the night. The two met on a trail ride with the OC 4 wheelers and were married when Brian returned from his tour of duty in Vietnam. Both Gail and Brian were off road racers and the first members of F.A.I.R. The Lynn’s 3 boys R.J, Ryan and Randy help Gail manage the Slash X Café as well as the 44 acres of property. The Lynn’s priority for the Slash X Cafe is to make sure customers and employees have a goodtime. They really want to feed their guests with great food and drinks. The Lynn family is listening to suggestions from everyone no matter if they are positive or negative. Gail pointed out a time when a customer posted on facebook how the chili had no flavor. As soon as she saw the post, she tasted the chili and the customer was right, the food supplier delivered the wrong beans. The Lynn’s really care about your experience at the Slash X Café and want everyone to feel as it is your home away from home. As part of the Slash X Café’s 10/60 celebrations they are planning to bury a 55 gallon time capsule that will resurface at the 100 Anniversary in 2054. The Lynn’s are still moving forward with Brian’s vision for the Slash X. They have hired a pastry chef that makes fresh homemade cookies, cinnamon rolls and biscuits. They have created the Slash X’s own bloody mary mixes and hot sauces. They are currently perfecting the Slash X BBQ sauce for production. The long-term goals of the campground and off-road museum are still moving forward. There is too much history and culture that patrons of the Slash X Café have enjoyed for many years to squeeze into one article. If you were not able to attend the 10/60 celebrations, they will be celebrating the 60th anniversary all year long, so stop in for a cold beer and some great food!
Thank you to the Lynn family and Jessica Carhart for their help with this article!
One of the greatest pieces at the Slash X is a leather framed article that tells the great story of the Slash X Ranch founder Lee Barry. It is titled “The Last of the Cowboys” and it tells the story of Lee’s travel westward and the beginnings of Slash X.
It was written by Linda Lou Crosby for the Daily Press. When you are at Slash X try to find it on the wall, it is a great piece of off road history.
His voice carries across the bar. There is laughter in his eyes as he sings his songs about his life and friends, and he may have brought his fiddle along, or he may have started his tune without the darned thing. There is a lot to sing about, especially when you are 82, and the last of legends. The last of the cowboys. He is singing his song at the Slash X Bar. That’s about 9 miles south of Barstow, just across the road from the Slash X Ranch. The Ranch is Lee Barry’s home. He used to own the bar and the ranch, and a lot more, about 1280 acres. He bouth this land many years ago for $2.75 an acre, and “went into the cow business” as he puts it. And as he tells it, it was the biggest cattle ranch in San Bernardino County. Life for Lee Barry started in Prior, Oklahoma in 1901. He traveled in a covered wagon across the Cherokee Nation, and was raised in New Mexico and Arizona. He saw the desert for the first time when he was in his early 20s, coming through Stoddard Wells. “I liked this country where you could starve to death real quick”, he says. Once, he recalls, he hired out his second hand Ford truck and himself, hauling grain. One day he was shoveling grain along side his buddy George Patton, and both of them decided that they were not going to do that forever. He asked Patton what his plans were next. Patton said he was headed to barber college in Amarillo, Texas, an idea that had some appeal for Lee. So the pair of them sold their gear and took the money to pay for the course. The course lasted longer than the money, so he kept just enough to get him to Friona, Texas. It was in Friona that he talked himself into his first barbering job. “it was Henry Jones who hired me. He had been workin’ at that chair on Saturday. He had a coal stove in the back, where we would heat the water. Those cowboys came in for a shave and their whiskers was as big as hoe handles. We’d wash their clothes in gasoline. If I’d a known what I was up against I’d a said Hell No!” Lee says now. “First man I laid down to shave, Henry Jones knew I couldn’t barber, but since we both made it through the Saturday, he said ‘What the Hell’ and gave me a job”. Friona turned out to be Lee Barry’s barber college. He lasted there about four years, but the itches got to him and he headed out west again, finally opening his first shop in Ontario, CA. That didn’t last long-itches again- and he surfaced again in Barstow as the one-man staff of a local barber and beauty shop. In those days, Red Mountain, one of the trio of mining towns- the others are Randsburg and Johannesburg- was known for its Ladies of the Night. The “Ladies” heard about the new barber and started making the trip to Barstow to get their hair done by Lee Barry. It wasn’t long befor Harry Moss, owner of the Owl Saloon, Red Mountain’s fanciest establishment, that decided it would be cheaper for Barry to come to Red Mountain. Which is how he got to be the official hairdresser for the Owl Saloon. “Of course the girls worked at night and slept in the day, so I never started working before noon, “ Barry says. “when the girls went to work around 6, the miners came in. So I was real busy. Those gals were changin’ their hair all the time. Why some might have five or six different colors in a week.” It took him four years at the Owl Saloon, but finally Barry got together a grubstake, went back to Barstow and “went into the cow business” Over the years he ran a lot of cattle, mostly with his wife Mary alongside him, for along time the boarders of his spread came within 12 miles of Victorville. But then-he doesn’t remember exactly when- the world started to change and he began selling off his land. Too many people, he says, were trampling across the ranch for him to raise cattle anymore. But he did keep his pack horses and mules, for a time anyway, and used to take his covered wagon to Death Valley 49ers celebration every year. Barry’s place is a ramshackle affair, and he’s put it together over the years, adding a part here and there until it became the place he intended. I was a touch of the Old West including a round corral- “no corners for a bronc to force you into”- and the workmanship was and material are first class “I love the wild and wooly West, That’s the part I love – Lee Barry
Here is a collection of photos we have been sitting on from the 2011 MDR 200 Memorial Garden dedication at Slash X. It’s hard to believe that this August will mark the 4th year anniversary of the tragic event. It will also mark the 3rd year of the Lynn family’s loss of Brian. We all got together to support the off-road community. The night was filled with tears, laughs, plenty of beer and great friends!