Category Archives: Historic

We got our kicks on Route 66

“If you ever plan to motor west,
Travel my way, take the highway that is best.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.
It winds from Chicago to LA,
More than two thousand miles all the way.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.
Now you go through Saint Looey
Joplin, Missouri,
And Oklahoma City is mighty pretty.
You see Amarillo,
Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona.
Don’t forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino.”

And, this morning, we motored through San Bernardino to complete our last port of call from the song…except that wasn’t where the road ended!  We could have taken a photo of the sign but, no, it was a proper visit to the City Hall, the County Court and even the Sheriff’s Department Rehabilitation Center!!

Santa Monica Pier is the officially designated end of Route 66, so 5,080 miles after leaving Chicago we proudly posed underneath the sign which declared we had reached the end. We did it!!  We have been everywhere and then some. We have walked miles, as well, around all the places of interest we found along the way and have loved the diverse experiences throughout our journey.

Even today, we were having random conversations with a group of Hillary Clinton supporters and a couple of American ladies who had done part of the 66 but via the direct route, i.e. on the freeway. I met a guy, whilst queuing for iced coffee, who was convinced I was Australian.  He had made a long trip to the coast from south of Las Vegas!!  Whacky folk some of these Americans  spotted on the road today:

i feel so proud and pleased that we have completed this huge adventure but at the same time would love to go on and do more. Not this time. Thanks to both our families for encouraging our dream and thanks, particularly, to Carolyn for making sure we did everything we set out to do and never giving up… even if finding some of the places proved geographically challenging! I’ve said it before but it has been a truly awesome experience.

Carolyn’s Curios

So, for the last time (this trip!), I get to add some outtakes from our travelogue. Would it be about tonight when two staff at the hotel separately responded to my request, “Excuse me but could you tell me where the restaurant is, please?” by providing directions to… the Rest Rooms?!

Or, the discussion with the Hillary Clinton team on Santa Monica Pier where we agreed both on the distaste for Trump and the Brexit decision? Politics often divides but here it brought us together.

Maybe, the girl drummer of a family rock band playing “Twist and Shout” amongst others on the Pier. I mentioned to her that I had been playing drums to that music before her parents had been born! But, they were a good young band – a combination of White Stripes and Hanson, if you can imagine that.

Perhaps, that there were three separate and competing evangelical preaching groups on the Saturday afternoon in the sunshine at the seaside.

This journey has reached its natural geographical conclusion and, like Kath, I must say, again, my thanks to the family, especially Ann, for encouraging me to take up this opportunity and, of course, Kath, herself, for sharing the dream. We doubled the planned mileage; we added on every single day to the activities we had originally envisaged. We laughed consistently, marvelled frequently and enjoyed immensely.

A final couple of curios… why did they name this town as they did?!

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And, as I was driving on the five lane traffic jammed roads in Los Angeles after leaving the deserted, scrub surrounded, traffic-free, seemingly endlessly straight Route 66, it occurred to me that:

“The obese body of L.A. was sprawling across the canapé of the California landscape

with its concrete arteries clogged with car shaped cholesterol.”

And, we had fallen in love with the Original Historic Route 66. Its reputation is justified, its magic is real and its attraction, albeit being slowly submerged, is worth visiting and preserving. Catch it while you can. We did.

California dreaming 🎼🎤🎹

It was back on the road today and a brief goodbye to Las Vegas as we drove along the already crowded Strip. But we had a date – with California. We had three targets as we set off: 1. A lunch stop at the famous Peggy-Sue’s 50s Diner, 2. A drive into Barstow, in keeping with the Route 66 song and 3. A visit to the much talked about ‘bottle ranch’.

Peggy-Sue’s was slightly disappointing as it was a bit tacky with a large ‘souvenir shop’ for people to browse whilst waiting for a table. It wasn’t a patch on either the diner we went to in Kingman or the diner at the Mid-point of Route 66. However, the food was OK and the waitresses consistently delighted their customers. What more could you ask?  Well, perhaps a little less tat in the shop might be a start, but I did chuckle at the ladies’ loo.

I have to say that the ride down from Las Vegas through the mountains and the Mojave desert produced some wonderful scenery and some huge cacti, although Carolyn is still disappointed not to have seen one of the famous tall, two pronged prickly ones (famous in the movies), other than one outside a shop!  The desert really was sandy and offered high dunes which could have featured in Lawrence of Arabia.

We also went through a sort of Checkpoint Charlie when all vehicles could be subjected to search, courtesy of the Californian Agriculture Inspection.  No idea – but we must have looked innocent as we were waved through.

Barstow was one of those places you might look and leave. And so we did, but tomorrow we can finish the song…”Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino…….” with a drive through the last one on our way to Santa Monica.

As for the Bottle Farm, this is one crazy place with hundreds of bottles attached to iron poles making strange tree-like structures. It is a complete mystery as to how or why this became one man’s vision, but folks like us come from all over the world to stop along Route 66 near Barstow to make up their own minds.

What we did find, whilst looking for the bottles, were some great antique Route 66 curios and some derelict places which had been mentioned in all the guide books. Fascinating.

Our hotel tonight is slightly more downmarket than our ‘digs’ for the last two nights.  However, it is clean, comfortable and a fraction of The Bellagio even at the vastly discounted prices. Winner. So was the excellent steak at BJ’s.

So, journey’s end tomorrow and Santa Monica Pier here we come for our obligatory photograph under the ‘End of Route 66’ sign. Total miles for our journey will then be calculated. It’s a big impressive number!

Carolyn’s Curios

Before we leave Vegas (in the blog), a cursory cornucopia of curios to conjure with…

Why do casinos hire a girl to perform almost naked whilst mainly women play the slot machines?!
Why was I approached by two men at about 10.30am on the sidewalk (pavement) of the main street whilst they were dressed in very tight trousers, cuffs and a bow tie and nothing else calling me a young lady and offering me an exciting time?!
Why were two young women dressed, it seems, only in body paint mimicking superheroes hanging round a Starbucks sign?!

The first still seems obtuse to me; the second were advertising a show (I guess) and… no, I didn’t agree or accept!
The third, I was told, were ‘ladies of the night’ but it occurred to me that the body paint was likely to come off! #justsaying

So, we left Vegas and managed another serendipitous experience whilst we looked for the bottle tree ranch. Such a crazy, almost English eccentric, idea. But, fun!

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Our trip seems to have been like this plaque I found today. Keep moving.

The next three photos were from Peggy Sue’s Diner’s women’s toilets. Two to think about and take seriously, the third, apparently from the other toilet visitors, to titter inanely at. Hmm!

The residents of Barstow must have known we were coming so posted this picture. CTOQ!

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Iron bridges appear every so often Route 66 and this is one coming out of Barstow. Great shapes and shadows in the sun.

Two of my photos from Elmer Long’s Bottle Tree Ranch – what a great place. Quite mad, quite magical. Bottles everywhere but we added to the fun… Kath becoming… wait for it… a laughing stock and a panoramic photos I, also, liked.

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Finally, for today, we re-engaged with our road and it will be a mixed set of feelings when we, tomorrow, reach the end of the road… literally… at Santa Monica Pier looking out over the Pacific. The designated route should have taken us 2278 miles or 2448 miles depending on the alignment which is used. Route 66 was removed from formal designation in 1985 after being established in 1926. However, thanks to many enthusiasts, the former route has a new designation of ‘Historic Route 66’. There are interesting misuses of ‘Historic’ and ‘Historical’ but, hey, it’s American English!In many places it has been covered over by new roads – most notably the I40. In other places, it has become overgrown and, when we’ve been driving down it, it has petered out or we come to a dead end. However, we’ve driven along sections every day since Chicago except yesterday and, because of detours and our attempts at diligence of finding the real Route 66, we’ve driven, up to today, not 2278 nor even 2448 miles. When leaving L.A. this morning, we’d already driven 4721 miles!!! Further update tomorrow.