By Diana Blidy
This month we complete our journey across America on Route 66. We bid farewell to Nevada and head home to California, where the Mother Road comes to an end on the edge of the Pacific Ocean via the Santa Monica Pier. Below are some interesting places you might visit as you travel through California on Route 66. Enjoy the Journey.
1. Needles: As you enter California you will come to the town of Needles, the boyhood home of Charles Schulz, creator of the “Peanuts” cartoon. Needles is also home to the legendary Wagon Wheel Diner.
2. The Mojave National Preserve: This desert area is one of the driest places on the planet.
3. Daggett: This little town of 200 residents was the setting for John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” and also is home to the Pioneer Cemetery, an eerie expanse of land filled with anonymous white crosses and a few gravestones.
4. Bagdad: The Bagdad Café, located along Route 66, is a popular stop for Europeans who are on their way to Las Vegas. The café is famous for its Buffalo Burger.
5. Amboy: Now basically a ghost town, Amboy is home to one of the most iconic landmarks along the entire Route 66 route – Roy’s Café. You can still stop at the deserted site and take a photo under the sign.
6. Oro Grande (Victorville): Take a minute to stop by and see first-hand the Bottle Tree Ranch, a quirky roadside attraction of mostly metal and glass bottle “trees.”
7. San Bernardino: This town is home to the first original McDonald’s. In recent years, this McDonald’s restaurant was sold and is now a museum of all things McDonald’s. San Bernardino is also the home of the Anaheim Angels Farm Club as well as the California Theatre. Built-in 1928, the theatre was used for test screenings of such films as “The Wizard of Oz” and “King Kong.” Today, this theatre is still presenting musicals and plays, as well as showcasing its original pipe organ.
8. Pasadena: Route 66 does, indeed, pass through the city of Pasadena. The road takes you past the Rose Bowl Stadium and the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. The Huntington Library is home to an excellent collection of art, including Gilbert Stuart’s familiar portrait of George Washington.
9. Hollywood: Yes, Route 66 passes through Los Angeles and crosses Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards. Route 66 continues through Beverly Hills along Rodeo Drive – so you may want to stop and pick up some Gucci sunglasses before continuing on to the end of the road at the Santa Monica Pier.