THE END OF THE ROAD

In this final installment of our series on making the most of a Route 66 adventure, we begin with dusty, historic, Barstow, California. Your first stop, and if time allows for only one, has to be the Route 66 Mother Road Museum in the beautiful old Harvey House. 

Mojave River bridge at Victorville
Debra and the staff are the best source of information about the area and the important role Route 66 played in its development. The museum, and gift shop, are not to be rushed as there are surprises and treasures at every turn.
From Barstow to Victorville the roadside is littered with remnants from more than a century of societal evolution as the road here follows several historic trails that predate Route 66 by decades. Tragically, with the exception of the Iron Hog, most everything found along the way on this segment is little more than dusty photo opportunities.

The first gem has to be the bridge across the Mojave River just north of Victorville. Even the period guardrails have survived into the modern era making this a very rare treasure indeed.
The historic district of Victorville is a bit tattered around the edges but here too there are some pretty interesting places awaiting your discovery. Stop one is the California Route 66 Museum.

Green Spot Motel, Victorville

One of the often overlooked places of note in Victorville is the old Green Spot Motel, once a haven for the rich and famous and the location where the first draft for Citizen Kane was penned. The management does not take kindly to visitors and is quite suspicious of folks snapping pictures but a quick drive by shouldn’t be an issue. 
From Victorville the next stop is Hesperia and then the summit of Cajon Pass, a funnel for almost two centuries of travelers headed for the Los Angeles basin and the Pacific coast. Even though Route 66 has to a large degree been buried under the modern freeway one wonderful link to that by gone era remains, the Summit Inn that has met the needs of travelers since 1952.
For the uninitiated, the drive down Cajon Pass is an interesting blend of bumper cars at the carnival, NASCAR racing, demolition derby, and Death Race 2000. Of course in my opinion that pretty much sums up the entire drive through the greater Los Angeles metropolitan http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0970995164&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrarea.
To make sense of Route 66 here, a guide book is essential. I also recommend Depends, patience, and a very dark sense of humor.
In a previous post I made note of Jerry McClanahans superb guide, EZ 66. To create this book McClanahan turned to Scott Piotrowski , author of Finding the End of the Mother Road: Route 66 in Los Angeles County. If your serious about discovering the hidden gems of Route 66 in the modern urban sprawl this book is a must.
I also suggest starting the trek to the coast about mid morning after a good nights sleep. Now, in my humble opinion there is but one place to stay the night at the west end of the metro area and that is the iconic Route 66 landmark, the Wigwam Motel in Rialto.
Don’t let the neighborhood intimidate you. This loving refurbished home away from home rates near the top of the list for favorite places to spend a night.
Contrary to popular opinion Route 66 did not end at the park on the palisade with its Will Rogers memorial or at Santa Monica Pier. However, decades of people thinking it did and decades of people marking that point as the end of the trail have almost made the illusion a reality.
The pier and all that it entails is a fitting end to an adventure on Route 66. The lights, the crowds, the shops, the sea breeze, and the restaurants all blend seamlessly in a collage that fills the senses.
However, a stop at the pier is not truly the end of the trail. Your journey along America’s most famous highway will only be complete when you meet with the proprietors of 66 to Cali, Dan and Jessica Rice.
If you are like most adventurers along Route 66, one trip is never enough and a dozen trips leave you hungry for more. With that said, I will see on the next trip.
With a little bit of prompting from fans of the highway, I have begun offering my services to groups as they pass through Kingman. So, if you need a dinner companion that can answer your questions please drop me a note.

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