Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Road Trip :: California Route 66

     One of my bucket list items has always been to drive the length of Route 66 to Chicago.  However, time does not permit that right now, so I had to settle for exploring parts of it in California.  Since I knew there was no point in driving the entire original route (or what's left of it), this road trip consisted of just visiting some key spots along Route 66 in California.  I did some research, left around 8:30am in the morning and made it back in time for dinner at home. :)

     By the way, in doing my research, I found a couple of websites where people gave turn by turn directions for Route 66, and honestly, if you were to do this drive, it seemed to be a lot of driving parts of the original road, then getting on the main highways/freeways, and then getting off to drive some more of the original road, and then back on the main highway/freeways again.  It seemed quite daunting.  Perhaps I will tuck away this road trip to Chicago for when I am retired. :-D

     The first stop was a complete fail.  I read about this service station along Foothill Blvd. that had been restored (actually, I thought it looked too "new"), but when I got there, it was fenced off.  Also, for photography purposes, I'd wait for a nice cloudy day to do this road trip.  The lighting was super harsh in the morning.  I grabbed a quick snap with my G7x, and left.

Next stop - The McDonald's Museum.  This museum is located in San Bernardino.  I must say, it is definitely San Bernardino's best kept secret!  I loved reminiscing inside this museum.  Once you step foot outside your car, you will be squealing with delight at all the things that bring a rush of memories from your childhood (if McDonald's was part of your childhood anyway).

I totally remember playing in one of these when I was a kid!

Tile from the original McDonald's.

This is Jack.  He greeted us when we first entered the museum.  We were there pretty early and had the place to ourselves for quite a while until this family from Australia showed up.  Jack wasn't kidding when he told us people come from all over the world to visit this museum!  He was quite knowledgeable about the history, and is also the curator.  I told him about this Hello Kitty watch that I have from a past kid's meal purchase, and he encouraged me to bring it in with a photo of myself so that I could be a part of the museum.  I'm not gonna lie to ya, I am was quite tempted to do it LOL.

The original McCreepy. Man, I hate clowns. :-/

I loved seeing the McDonald's memorabilia from all over the world.

The only time I've ever had something different from a McDonald's was in Hawaii, where they serve up some Spam in the breakfast.  Look at all these different versions of the McDonald's pies!

At almost every place we stopped at, they were selling these Route 66 sodas.  I thought that was a nice touch.

I was pretty excited to see this.  I won't ruin your day with my failed jumping photos in front of The Mystery Machine.

This is Phil and his grandchildren.  He saw me taking photos nearby, and started talking to us.  One of the articles I read online about Route 66 from another blogger mentioned that all the people he encountered along the way were quite interesting to talk to.  Phil was no exception.  He told us about how he started out being a cartoonist and the friendships he had early on in his career with some well known artists.  His work, along with that of some of his friends, is truly amazing.

Next stop - the Wigwam Motel in Rialto.  This little gem looks like an interesting place to spend the night in.  I'd really love to go back and get a wide shot of it at night when it is lit up a little.

So these are the seven states you'd travel through if you took the original Route 66.

Next stop - Bottle Tree Ranch in Victorville.  I've seen some photos of this place on Instagram and was really excited to see it.  It is fascinating that someone would dedicate their time to doing something like this.  I think it would've been cool to meet Elmer Long, the creator of Bottle Tree Ranch, but he wasn't around.

When I was researching places to shoot, I came across some photos of the Mohawk Gas Station.  Luckily, we were able to track down its location.   It turns out that I had passed by it on the way to Bottle Tree Ranch.  You can see the cross streets below in one of the photos.

It's really hard to imagine that there was a time that this road was bustling with people making their way across the nation and making their pit stops here.

I wonder if this was the last price for a gallon of gas at Mohawk.  It must've been!

Even though it was easier to identify this area as Victorville, I guess technically it's called Oro Grande.  It's littered with a bunch of antique shops.

This antique shop in particular was pretty amazing.  Once inside, it's like stepping back in time.  Just a few of the things that brought back memories were seeing a portable CD player and Kim Anderson photos.  Who remembers those Kim Anderson photos?!

OMG - maps and brochures! :-O

I pulled off onto the side of the road to get a shot of this truss bridge.  It would've been better later in the day, but there was also lots of car passing by at this time, so I had to just take any opportunity I had to get a shot.  The goal was to have dinner at this place called Emma Jean's Holland Burger Cafe, but unfortunately it closed at 3pm!  So if you're planning to include it in your road trip, I suggest looking up their hours ahead of time.  This does give me a reason to go back though.

Another stop in Victorville that was closed is this museum.  Did I mention this road trip took a turn for the worse at the end?  It was capped off with a multi-car accident on the Cajon Pass that resulted in a little over an hour's worth of traffic added to the trip back.  So I'll consider this road trip as a reconnaissance mission for the next one I'll do - preferably on a day filled with fluffy white clouds. ;-)