If I were to ask where the least explored segments of Route 66 are located, what would be your answer?
I lack scientific evidence or documented statistics to prove my hunch, but I am willing to bet that the least explored sections of Route 66, aside from those in St. Louis, are the miles between the foot of the Cajon Pass and the highways original western terminus at 7th Street and Broadway in the heart of the historic Los Angeles business and entertainment district.
The most often utilized excuse (one that I favor and use often) pertains to crushing traffic and a seemingly endless string of traffic lights timed perfectly to create the maximum amount of frustration. As I can attest, especially after this weekends two day exploration of that corridor, it is possible to make this drive and experience almost non existent traffic.
However, to accomplish that miracle you will need to drive it on Saturday, or preferably very early (6:00 AM) on Sunday. Failure to do so will result in a traffic nightmare of epic proportions, especially for someone such as my dearest friend and I that can become frustrated with the rush hour traffic in Glenrio during the summer when enthusiasts flock to this Texas ghost town is heaviest.
On Saturday, we left Kingman quite early, followed I-40 to San Bernardino, and then commenced the Route 66 tour with the final destination being the delightful time capsule that is the Saga Motor Hotel in Pasadena. As you can see from this photo taken on Saturday afternoon, traffic was light.
Sunday morning was even better. We had the road to ourselves until arriving in downtown LA. From there to Santa Monica was another story.
Unfortunately, the schedule could not be adjusted to avoid leaving Santa Monica on Monday. As a result, I spent more than two hours driving to Burbank, a distance of almost twenty-five miles. However, in all fairness, I need to accept some of the blame. After all, we didn’t hit the road until 6:00 in the morning!
The primary reason for the adventure was a need to expand the photo portfolio and acquire images for the new book, and make sure that my information was as current as possible. We were also overdue in providing new images for the Jim Hinckley’s America Gallery at Legends of America, distributor of our prints.
As a firm proponent of killing more than one bird with a single stone, my dearest friend and I, overdue for a quiet dinner and reflection, were also doing a bit of celebration. I also wanted to evaluate the highways orignal western terminus, ground zero for the 90th anniversary Route 66 celebration that is scheduled for November, and to meet with Scott Piotrowski and Beth, two of the organizers for that festival.
With the exception of near gale force winds in Santa Monica, and torrential rains on Monday morning, the weather was, pardon the pun, picture perfect. There was even a hint of blue in a sky that often appears as a pale grey.
Grand Central Market
As is our custom, we set our sights on new dining experiences, as well as the exploration of unfamiliar territory in search of new discoveries. Such endeavors are always a gamble but the rewards are more than worth the risk.
In fact, aside from the Monday morning nightmare that we fully anticipated, there were but two blemishes on our odyssey; road construction in Santa Monica near the pier and an evening at the Seaview Hotel.
This was our first opportunity to experience the Saga Motor Hotel. As with many older Route 66 properties, it is a bit worn at the edges but it was clean, it was in an excellent location, and there was obvious pride in ownership of a property linked to the old double six.
We had several very good meals on this trip but two places must be recommended; the Novel Cafe one block east of the Saga Motor Hotel, and the almost overwhelming Grand Central Market, a Los Angeles landmark on Broadway since 1917.
In coming posts I will provide more details and information as well as suggestions for those thinking of exploring the most overlooked section of Route 66 between Chicago and the Pacific coast. As I need to wrap this up, there are a few things to be shared.
Open Road Productions is still working on the logistics for a tour along Route 66 that will end at the festival in LA this November. However, for a variety of reasons the proposed rally has morphed into a coach tour with a twist that will include a guide to provide unique history and share stories (yours truly) along the way, and some very special stops. If interested, please, contact me as soon as possible because I am told that seating will be limited.
On Thursday evening, the 10th at 6:00 PM, the Route 66 Association of Kingman is hosting their March meet and greet at Black Bridge Brewery on Beale Street, one block north of Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66). It is open to the public so if your in the neighborhood, stop by. Even better, come down early and enjoy diner at one of the areas great and unique restaurants.
One of the gems awaiting discovery along Route 66 in Monrovia.
The Ramada Kingman is developing a dinner or dinner and show package for April 30, during the Route 66 Fun Run. Details will be posted on the website soon but in the mean time you can contact me for details.
One more note on the Ramada, their photo contest (details on the website) is picking up steam. In addition to transforming the property into a photo gallery, another unique aspect of the contest is that photographers will receive a 20% commission if their submitted photographs sell.
In addition to Ramada Kingman, I also work as a consultant for Grand Canyon Caverns. Soon, new tours will be available that will add a bit of adventure to a visit. This and other exciting developments will be detailed soon as I am working on promotional material that will tie them in with the AZ Adventures pooled resource marketing initiative to promote northern Arizona attractions.
At the end of last year it was noted that if people catch me on the road and ask about the caverns, I could provide a coupon for a $59.00 per night room rate at the recently renovated motel. Now, I have a new opportunity to provide incentive for spending a bit of time in Kingman.
When traveling I will have a pocket full of wooden nickels that can be redeemed for a cup of coffee on Jim at Canyon 66, the restaurant and lounge at Ramada Kingman.
The last item of the day is a bit of shameless self promotion. I am expanding my promotional endeavors as a consultant with podcasts and other venues. So, if I may be of service to your business, please, drop a note or give me a call.