The End of the Road

…or… The Beginning Of The Next One.

At the edge of the sprawling, multi-county mass of people known to the world as “Los Angeles”, we paused for the night.  We wanted one night’s sanity in a regular hotel before jumping into our last day on Route 66.  We found this place.  An icon on the Mother Road, it is as neat, clean and tidy as the day it first opened.

Wig Wam

It has a series of wigwam rooms in a park like setting.

TeePeePark

Maybe the original dwellers of this type of housing didn’t have a paved over prairie for their homes, but I’m sure they looked the same inside.

TeePeePavement

Luxury TeePee

Tired and hungry we stepped back in time for a meal at a new place on the block.  They were celebrating their millionth burger sold.

Mickey D

Can’t beat the price and this guy inside made us feel welcome.

Shake Dude

            This is the original McDonalds site in San Bernardino; now turned into a museum, but not selling any food.

We enjoyed the company, but couldn’t find any of those 15¢ hamburgers.  We stopped here but the place was too crowded inside.

Big O

This place looked magical, but I think the roofers hit the hookah a few too many times.

Majik Lamp

We settled for this hotel tavern with the outdoor seating firmly implanted in the wall.

Azzztec Hotel

seating

We shopped after eating the fine food.

Crap

At last we made it to Hollywood.

Little Holly

Close up, its HOLLYWOOD!!

Big Holly

 

With all the sites to see, but little time, we had to find the highest priority:  film studios, houses of the stars, Grauman’s Theater?  What would we pick?

We only had time for one stop so we paused at the cemetery to pay homage to the late and great Johnny Ramone.

Yo Joey

We wiped away our tears with a dirty black bandana and headed back to Route 66.

Yo Will

And finally, the End of THE Road.  A fine hotel, and the Santa Monica Pier.

Georgian Deco

SM Pier

We started with this sign in Chicago…

End sign

…and we ended with this one in Santa Monica.

Other End

We may have picked up someone at that McDonalds back there.

 

            Bubba has finally completed his Route 66 trip, but he has picked up the travel bug and there is no stopping him now.

            Well, maybe a certain laziness in posting may delay him.

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California Here We Come! Finally!

The first part of Route 66, on the eastern end, runs through Chicago and the farmlands of the Midwest.  There are tiny towns that have survived the move of the highway because the farming community was so strong.  On the western end, there is plenty of dessert.  When the highway moved and sped up there was no reason for most of the communities to exist and they dried in the heat.  Now they are in the process of blowing away, so I would suggest a visit before they are gone.

We gassed up and headed out once more.  At this station we pumped a lot of dust.

No Gas

While there wasn’t much in the way of food, we did find something to eat at the next stop.  They will serve chicken any way you want as long as it is dead.

Ded Cluck

I wasn’t sure I was on the right road.  I thought I would ask for some help.  These people looked like they knew Route 66 but maybe, just maybe, they had been on this road a little too long.  Even longer than me.

Road Weary

I stopped to ask this guy for directions.  I complemented him on his suit and he replied, “Thank you, thank you very much.”

An Elvi

I wanted to head in the right direction, but he told me he has been wandering on this road for decades.  He was just waiting for his two friends, Marilyn, and James to come back so they could head out again.  He said he won’t let James drive because he wrecked his last car.

Bubba N Bubba

Passing through the city of Hackberry where the PDA was supposedly invented.  I had a feeling I was still on Route 66.  At least that’s what the signs suggested.  We fueled up on Coca Cola and continued.

Hackberry General

After some extensive desert driving, Rick said the cola was getting to him.  IT must have been too much caffeine because he stopped and took a short hike in the desert to spend some quiet time with a small bush.

Nature Boy

We wound our way up the road and into the foothills for our cross into California.

hellroad

            Yes, that is the road.  Those pale squiggly lines winding up and over.  Just ignore the lack of guardrails and the rusted out hulks of cars that went over and could not be recovered.

LeftTurnLeftTurnLeftTurn

We made it to the thriving metropolis of Oatman just in time for the afternoon commute.

This is a group of locals just hanging out.

Oatman Commute

Too many donkeys were hanging around eating anything they came upon.  Not a good situation for a little guy like me.  I thought I would hide out back here for a bit.

Hide Bubba, Hide

We had to get through traffic and keep pressing on.  California can’t be far, let’s head out and find the Golden State.

11-25 Donkey

We made it!  We were back in California and back into civilization…Needles, California.

City o Needles

 

Back on the fast pace, we thought we would celebrate by stopping for a quick bite at the Roadrunner Café.

Roadrunner

We just missed closing time… last century.  This was East Amboy.  The real life is in the main square of Amboy itself.

Boy o Amboy

After that, a whole lot more of the dry side of Route 66.

MT Station

MT Market

MT tank

MugWumps?

I’m not sure what a Mugwump is.

We made it as far as Barstow and thought we would stop for the night.  This place had the nickname “Hotel California”.  Something about their checkout policy.  A beautiful place with no one around.

Train Hotel

We checked in and went to our room.  We tried to go to our room.  Yes, it was room 316.

Missing room

Tomorrow, we head for Los Angles, and the end of our road in Santa Monica.  The California roads must be much better, they have all the new technology to make the driving easier and the right way clearer.

Which Line?

Does The Desert Ever End?

Bubba has been on this Route 66 thing for a long, long time.  He is getting near the end of the trip but can’t seem to find his way out of the desert.

I’m back out on the road and I’m going to make up some time by zooming through the next part of the trip.  I found the original road again and nothing is going to get in my way.

Unless, of course, the road runs out again.

Shutdown

I can stop and ask this guy.  He looks like he is related to one of the giants I saw earlier in the trip.

Little Giant

He gave me some good advice because we looked like twins.  His shirt is my skin color.

CIMG2814

He suggested a night in one of the local hotels before shoving off.

This one seems a little too posh.

Du Beau

This one looks a little better.

Du Monte

Ahhh!  Here is the place.  It has a great central location AND a good price.

Du Cheap

After a restful night next to the train tracks, I gassed up the car and hit the road.  Yes I am back on Route 66.

Old Gas Here

Long Road to Blogdom

There is no mistaking that fine, high quality cement roadway.

Back on the road, I came across this car.  It is a very rare, Datsun Roadster.

Red One

The Datsun Roadster is perhaps the finest two seat convertible of its day.  It is an unusual  day when you can see one of these cars.  You may be lucky enough, in your whole life, to see just one.

Two More

Four More

Datsun Nirvana

Well…, this has been a magical trip.

It is time to look for another room for the night.

This one comes with a bath.

Petticoat Malfunction Junction

This one looks too posh and pricey.

Hi Line Hi Life

Maybe I can find a cheaper room here.

Hotel Greybar

Maybe something without bars?

350 Hotel

Perfect!  Now I’ll check out the nightlife.

A Social Club.  That might be nice.  I saw many ladies going into the building.  I bet they are friendly.

Woo Woo

This guy in the band let me play drums with him and suggested a place around the corner.

Groucho?

As I arrived, a nice lady leaned out of the window and welcomed me.

Madam Happy

I had a feeling that maybe I shouldn’t go here.  Maybe there was a better way to go.

Maybe this wasn’t the right way to go at all.  I needed a sign from above.

Vegan Message

This is a scary sign to see on a one way street.

I decided to cross the bridge and hit the straight and narrow.

No Bridge Bridge

No Passing?

You can always find the straight and narrow highway on Route 66.

 

A Corner in Winslow Arizona

 

           We last left Bubba in the Painted Desert.  A car drove past with his long lost Millie biding him a fond farewell.  As we rejoin him, we find him back on the search along Route 66.

            I ran off to find Millie and came across this house.  Maybe she left a sign.  I looked around and found a footprint on a rock.

New Home

Big Foot

            Then I saw this disturbing picture.  Was that Millie being carried off by a large bird?

Millie Stork

            And what did all this mean?

Big Story

            I guess if I would have read my Painted Desert and Petrified Forest guide book I would have seen that there are quite a few petroglyphs in the area.  I though the Petrified Forest was a Humphrey Bogart film and petroglyph was a gas additive.  These things date back about a thousand years.  What other old things are around here. 

            WHOA!  Don’t get off the bus lady!

Bus to Hell

            No wonder the wood is petrified.  I’m pretty scared too.  Too late for the lady, she traded the bus ride for something else.

Bad Barney

Dyno Ride

 

            One of the requirements for a drive down route 66 is a suspension of belief or even reason.  Businesses will do anything to get the passer bys to stop and take a look.  Since the addition of freeways, they are even more desperate.

            Things were getting a little distorted.  Is this reality or is this a Twilight Zone episode.  It was time to stop for a rest.

WigWam

 

            I had a careful look around.  I got the impression that the people in these rooms had been there for a long time.  At least their cars had been there for a long time. 

No Check Out

 

            I felt I was in that old song.  You know the one about the hotel where you can check out but you can never leave?  What was the name of the group that sang that?  That was starting to bug me.  I just couldn’t remember.  I found this guy to ask.  We were just hanging on a corner when a girl drove by in a flat bed Ford.

In Da Corner

 

I was starting to feel lost.  I wasn’t even sure I was on Route 66 anymore.  Then I picked up a clue.

In Winslow Arizona

            Enough of this.  I couldn’t figure IT out.  I didn’t know what IT is.  I couldn’t even find IT.

Here It Is

 

            Yeah, well, maybe not.  It was more of that 66 weirdness.

Hoopty Hare

            Time to hit the road, but first I needed to check the map and maybe find a place to eat.

Big Map

          Just a minor problem with the road, but a clue that I may have trouble finding an open restaurant on this stretch.  I can see the freeway next to old 66 but driving 66 is the goal.    

End of the Road..for a bit

                                                                This place isn’t open.

Valentine Diner 

Its brother isn’t open either.

And another

                                            This place isn’t open.  Maybe that’s a good thing.

Lion Lunch

 

                                                               This town isn’t open.

 

Lion Town

 

                                                       Maybe if I follow the arrows…

Point the Way

                                                             Nope, not here either.      

Trading Post

                                        Ahhh! Here we go.  Something tells me this will do just fine.

Bubba's Joint

Crossing the Divide and Painting the Desert

          We started out again in the morning. The Chicago to Oklahoma part of this trip has people and green stuff. This end of it has rocks and sand and places that used to be. We struggled a little bit in the morning but then we crossed the Continental Divide. It would be all downhill from now on. On the road, I mean, at least that’s what the sign suggests.

DeeVided

            We felt very optimistic about this leg.  We were ready to do a long run then we came across another of these signs.

No Go

            Not the first, not probably the last, these signs just mean we have to do some creative map reading to find the other end of this broken segment.  Unless it means something sinister…

            We came across this fellow in Gallup, New Mexico.  His brothers pointed the way on the first leg of the trip from Chicago so we know we were back on track.  I can’t tell if he is saying thumbs up or thumbs down for the trip.

Two Thumbs Giant

            We saw the best and the worst on this leg of the trip.  This is the Historic El Rancho Hotel built by D.W. Griffith’s brother in 1937.  The early greats of Hollywood stayed here and some have rooms named after them, everyone from Alan Ladd to Zackery Scott.  It may be a little tired these days but then again, so am I.

El Rancho de Magnifico                  

                                                    The lobby still holds its movie star charm.

Lobby of the Stars

            We then headed to the other end of the spectrum.  Route 66 was, and still is, known for the basket’s full of useless souvenirs you can buy.  Some places cling to the tacky image.  This place had some great plastic animals hanging around.

High Class Crap

          Why these yellow horses are so real, I had to wonder how they walked up there.

Old Yeller

 Before you make fun of these noble creatures, remember, plastic animals are just as real as you and I are.  Well, me especially.
 This version of the Route 66 giants was a little menacing.

What the How

            He left us a clue as to which way NOT to go.

Get the Point

            Feeling a little intimidated, we stopped for help at a U.S. Calvary outpost…I think.

Tower of Doom

            This fort would make anyone feel protected, unless they watched F Troop on TV in the 60’s.

Where is Sgt O'Rourke

            But all we had to do was cross this bridge of no return and we were in the Painted Desert.

Sandy Bridge

            Somewhere out there were the remnants of our route.

No where, There

Still No Where

 

            In the distance we could see a piece of road with a car on it.  A clue to finding the old road is to look for the old telegraph lines, and follow them.  Sometimes it works out.  For this guy, maybe not.

Engine Missing

            As I was posing for a picture the car came up behind me and I had to leap out of the way. 

Watch You Back

                                                       As the car passed, a lovely lady waved.

Millie, No

WAIT!  That was Mille!  THE GIRL!!

 

 

Back on Route 66

          Before Bubba took off for Havana, Columbia, and Tucson (only in Bubba’s world do they fit together) he was cruising on old Route 66 with us. He made it as far as Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he was freaked out by a balloon race. He rejoins us now on the road, west of Albuquerque.
          After escaping the floating objects in the big city, we headed west on 66 until we needed a stop. In 1937, Roy E. Cline built a store at the intersection of Route 66 and U.S. 285. Being the only thing out here, it grew and grew to the 30,000 square foot behemoth it is today.

Clines Corners

            They have food, water, gas, and any kind of southwestern “thing” that you can imagine.  I was in urgent need of relief so I asked the guy at the door.

            “Hey, where is the restroom?”  He was very wooden in manner and pointed.  He offered me a cigar which I turned down after imbibing a little too much in Cuba.

Big Chief

            After we filled the cars tank and drained our own, we headed out again.  After a few miles, we got hungry and started looking for a good place to eat, or just a place to eat.  We came across this place that seemed to offer giant pollen samples or maybe a mutated desert virus.

Desert Virus

We decided on this fine eating establishment instead.  They served a Northwestern lumberjack version of desert Vietnamese food.

            The birds seemed to like it.

Axe Chef

            The fusion cuisine did not agree with my acrylic insides.  I now understood why someone would need a large, mobile muffler.

Muffler too big

            We arrived at our hotel but it was still early and I was a little skeptical about their truth in advertising.  The only trees I could see were under the sign.

Desert Mountain

          Back on the old, not too much used, portion of Route 66, the landscape took a turn for the bleak.   Not too much to see out here.

Nothing here

Still nothing

          The only animal we came across was this owl.  He looked like maybe he had been sitting there for quite a long time.

Owl-ish Rock

                      The signs did not present us with positive prospects.

Dead End

            We found some sign of human habitation.  What does a field of crosses mean? 

Field of Lost Dreams

          We passed through the thriving metropolis of Budville. 

Budville Dude

            It was getting dark as we headed off into the sunset.  Sounds great, looks great, but we were in the desert at night with nowhere to go but down the road.  It gets dark out here.

Desert Sunset

            We came across this fine hotel.  It had electric heat and cool.  That would be good enough.  We’d figure out where we were in the morning.

Southwest Motel

 

Las Vegas to Santa Fe To Albuquerque

            As we headed out from Las Vegas (New Mexico) we found Route 66 and headed toward the big flat mountain.  This was the type of road we have come to expect and to love; quiet, two lane, and scenic.  The mega road of US 40 was usually not too far away but as long as it was out of sight, we were happy.

            We stopped at a very old and very small church.  It was off the main road and a little isolated.  Looking at it we could imagine what is must have been like when it was built.  No cars, no Route 66, and plenty of horses.  In the small, dry cemetery next to the church we saw one of the best tombstones we have ever seen in this country.  I have seen monuments that show people soaring to heaven on wings of angels or held by graceful birds but this has to be a first in heavenly transportation.

            We were told our next hotel was very historic and older than The Palace in Las Vegas (New Mexico).  I really like staying in old places but maybe we pushed this one too far.

            The view was magnificent; the old wagon trail was visible.  We could follow that in the next trip maybe…or maybe not.

            The place may have been old, but the view was worth it.  I felt I could spend the afternoon on our balcony, cold adult beverage in hand, dreaming of times past and looking over the land below.  We were shown to our room but it didn’t have a balcony, or a window, or even a real door.

            It is time for me to step in and correct Bubba.  These are not pictures of our hotel.  They are pictures from the Pecos National Monument.  This is an old pueblo that has the remains of the adobe church and a few of the original buildings including this kiva.

            We rolled into old Santa Fe and stopped off to see the Saint Francis de Assisi Cathedral.  This building was built around 1870 replacing an older adobe structure that was built around 1714 that replaced another church built around 1626. 

            In front and a little to one side is a maze that is patterned off the one in Chartres Cathedral in France.

            I don’t know why we have to travel anyplace else.  We are at a Spanish Cathedral named after an Italian Saint that has a French maze.  A European tour right here in the Southwest United States.

            We all know Franciscan monks like a simple life of poverty and selflessness.  They devote their lives to helping others and rejecting personal pleasures.

     They are not known as party people, except maybe for brother happy feet.

            From Santa Fe we headed to Albuquerque.  We stopped off for a hamburger at this joint.  They had great credit terms; you could pay Tuesday for a hamburger today.

            I’ll bet all you UK people thought Wimpy’s was started in your country.

            While in Albuquerque, we came across this building.  It was designed and the parts were built before it was assembled.  When they got to the location they found they made the building too long so they had to squeeze it together a little.  Some of the floors got bent up just a little bit.

            When I got out of bed the next morning, I was drowsy.  My vision was a tiny bit blurred but I thought I could see a lot of confetti in the air outside. 

            I drank a cup or ten of coffee and looked again.  It wasn’t confetti.  Of course it wasn’t.  It was plain for all to see, the sky was filled with colorful light bulbs.

And off to my left you can even see a giant flying jug.  I closed my eyes and looked again and, sure enough, the view did change.

I’m starting to not like what happens when you stay in a big city.  It must be time to hit the road again.