Route 66 California
(source National Park Service)
Miles: 345 (approx.)
California. Its name beckons like a golden promise on the horizon. Route 66 travelers coming from the east were often wayfarers seeking a fresh start in a new land, and in the early to middle years of the twentieth century, California was that new land, brimful of promise and rumors of plenty.
But before travelers could reach the “Land of Milk and Honey”, they had to traverse a forbidding landscape: the Mojave Desert. Those fleeing the Dust Bowl of the plains states faced one last test before they arrived in the Los Angeles basin or in one of the fertile valleys on the other side of the mountains. For people driving the automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s, this obstacle was daunting. The route between Needles and Barstow, on the western edge of the Mojave, is one of the hottest legs of the road anywhere along Route 66’s more than 2,000 mile length.
But Route 66 in the desert portion of Southern California is a gateway – to such wonders as Disneyland, the Hoover Dam, and Las Vegas, all of which can be accessed by taking one of the highways that branches off the old road. It also leads to the high passes of the San Gabriel mountains, carrying travelers up to Cajon Pass, before dropping into the verdant Southern California basin.
In the Los Angeles area, the remnants of Route 66 are not a single road leading to the piers at Santa Monica; instead, Route 66 survives in fragments that fan out over part of the L.A. region like a delta. As a thruway, Route 66 has been wholly supplanted by the Freeways that criss-cross the L.A. basin in a vast arterial pattern.
In 1990, the California Historic Route 66 Association was founded to promote the preservation and enjoyment of Route 66. In addition, there are now approximately 16 National Register listings for properties and districts associated with Route 66 in California. As well, the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program has supported four cost-share grant projects, including restoration of two historic signs in Highland Park, and the Aztec Hotel in Monrovia.
Santa Monica Pier is the end western terminus of Historic Route 66.
"In 2008, the significance of Route 66 and the importance of preserving it were recognized when the World Monuments Fund listed Route 66 on the Watch List of 100 Most Endangered sites." Route 66 California.
Amboy is a ghost town reminding tourists traveling California Route 66 of what it once used to be. Yet the shade the canopy of the gas station offers a welcome break from the relentless sun for the motorcyclists riding through the desert.
The Route 66 "Mother Road" Museum was dedicated on July 4, 2000 in the historic Casa del Desierto, Harvey House, in Barstow, California on California Route 66.
he California Route 66 Museum is an Interactive museum with over 4500 Sq. Ft. of floor space and photo opportunities for the visitors to share memories in such settings as a 50’s diner, our VW Love Bus.
Want to know what it’s like to sleep in a Wigwam? Want to add your own story to the grand history of California Route 66? For a classic Route 66 journey, don’t forget to stop on by the unforgettable Wigwam Motel.
"A sign at the end of the Santa Monica Pier marks the end of the legendary American highway, symbolizing that this road only ended when the sea stood in it's way" Atlas Obscura California Route 66.
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