California wins, hands down the prize for the absolute worst stretch of Interstate bordering the Mother Road in it’s entire length. In fact the Route 66 old alignment is in better shape than California’s stretch of I-4O.
When you cross the bridge over the Colorado River which is the border between Arizona & California you wake up in a hurry as the interstate is barely fit to drive on & can do serious damage to your vehicle!
Also after the New Mexico & Arizona visitor information centers with their free state maps + a guide of places of interest on Route 66 in their states, California makes no effort to welcome any visitor, let alone the Route 66 traveler. Not to mention that fuel is the highest price I encountered since leaving Canada.
After spending the night at Needles at a chain motel as the couple original ones didn’t look that inviting I fueled at the highest price of the trip & headed uphill to the old alignment which was a better road but most of the old towns are just a memory. Just before returning to the Interstate stopped at Ludlow Cafe where I had an order of the best biscuits ‘n gravy I have ever tasted.
As the old road followed I-40 into Barstow & passed through a Marine Base, I took the interstate, getting of at the business loop & the old road for a few uninteresting miles before getting on I-15 to San Bernardino & Kumar’s Wigwam Motel. As I had brought TomTom Tommy out of the purgatory of my briefcase & was giving him another chance, had missed a turn in construction, I gave Kumar a call when I thought I had missed the place but it turned out I was only one traffic light away. Tommy isn’t 100% on street #’s.
Spent an enjoyable evening talking with Kumar & went out to dinner at a great local Mexican place to celebrate finally having only 1 more day to go ( or so I thought).
The next morning I took off with directions to Citibank to wire the funds for my house in El Salvador. Turned out that they would have to wait 15 days for the draft to clear but as the draft was through Wells Fargo, a fact I had missed (as had the teller at Wells Fargo in Holbrook AZ), they gave me directions to Wells Fargo’s nearest branch in Fontana.
Walked into the Wells Fargo branch & met the most hospitable & professional bank staff I have ever encountered. Turns out that I would have to open an account to deposit the draft in, come back the following morning to send it & yes they would be happy to do this even thoug I wouldn’t be using the account again.
Turns out there was a method to this apparent madness!
While the representative was doing some paperwork up front, the manager came up & introduced himself saying if there was ever anything else I needed to call. When opening the account the rep had explained the various accounts + the free (yes Dorothy I said FREE, were not in Kanada anymore) services provided. When all was arranged I said I would sleep on the account info & return in the morning to send the wire.
Needless to say I called Kumer to tell him that he hadn’t gotten rid of me just yet & arranged a room for another night. Which resulted in another interesting conversation & dinner at a fine Italian place this time.
The next morning on Kumer’s recommendation I had breakfast at Corky’s where the biscuits ‘n gravy were pretty darn good, then made m way back to Wells Fargo to complete the wire transfer. My rep had an even better account deal than discussed previously that even included 2 free (there’s that 4 letter word again, well to Canadian banks it is!) transfers to El Salvador per month. So I left the bank with everything in place to get money to El Salvador in a free & hassle free way. Something impossible to do from Crapanada!!
Oh did I mention that my Wells Fargo’s rep was a nice, smart lady whose parents were from El Salvador!!
I now programmed Tommy to go to the Fair Oaks Pharmacy in Burbank where I had promised a forum member (sorry can’t remember his name) I would stop in & say Hi on my way through. That was a very good decision as not only was the conversation interesting but it was lunchtime & I had, undoubtedly the Best grilled sandwich on sourdough bread ever!! The fries & ice-cream soda at the old time soda fountain were great to. If you ever pass that way stop in, guaranteed you won’t regret it!
It’s a good thing I got directions, at the soda fountain, to Santa Monica Pier as TomTom Tommy had a snit on & refused to direct me there.
Finally at a 4 in the afternoon, 2 weeks & 5020 km after leaving I arrived at the conclusion of my bucket list trip, driving US Route 66. Found the sign on the pier marking the end of The Mother Road.
Near the sign was the booth, operated by a great couple (names once again escape me) selling Route 66 memorabilia. Stop by, say Hi & pick up a reminder of your trip or just chat a while.
Archive for October, 2010
Returned to Route 66 at Clines Corners which consisted of a service center whose humongous store contained the largest collection of kitsch & junk pertaining to Route 66, or anything else you could think of, west of the Mississippi.
Did meet a retired Saskatchewan farmer there, by the John Deere stuff, going to Texas for the winter, seems Sask. is about as bad a place for seniors as Ont., only colder.
Pretty much followed the Interstate as it runs parallel to 66 most of the way. Followed the business loop, old 66, into most towns & discovered a to die for wrecking yard & car, truck, tractor & toy collection at Lewis’s in Moriarty NM.
Decided against the alignments to the north or into Santa Fe due to time restraints (2 weeks definitely not enough). Did venture into Albuquerque on the old road where I found a clean but shabby looking Motel, the Desert Sands for $35/night.
Found Citi Bank in the northern part of town but it turned out to be just a call center (at least it’s in the US).
Also discovered where the “Jackalope”, combination Jack Rabbit & Antelope (only Orono residents knowing a contributor to the local paper would understand) has disappeared to. It’s alive & well running a store in Albuquerque!
Entered Arizona & took a drive through the awesome Painted Desert & Petrified Forest. In a tossup between the Grand Canyon (which I had previously visited so bypassed this time) I would have to give the edge to the Painted Desert.
Muffler on the van decided it had done it’s duty, going into Holbrook so had it replaced at Thompsons, who had one in stock & was on my way in just over an hour at a fair price.
Once again took I-40 taking the old road through the towns until getting off at Seligman, a town with the most old alignment tourist places I had seen in one place. As it was lunch time, just couldn’t resist eating at The Roadkill Cafe, however seeing as I had no roadkill for them to cook, settled for a menu item.
Next stop was Kingman & a visit to the Powerhouse tourist info center & the interesting Route 66 museum. Here it was also decision time on whether to follow the old alignment over the pass to Oatman or the last one following I-40 to Topock, the Colarado River & California. As it was 5 pm, raining off & on + time restraints, rather than spend the night in Kingman & carry on to Oatman, which I had visited before, I decided to push on to Needles & spend the night there.
Sorry folks have been having a great trip & neglecting my blog, full details to come, however spent a night in Albuquerque NM, Holbrook AZ after seeing the awesome Painted Desert, another bight in Needles CA, 2 at the Wigwam ... [Continue reading this entry]
That’s the best word I can find to describe Roswell NM. It doesn’t feel like a city, more like a friendly small town. The wide streets combined with low buildings, gives it an open & free feel, the auction barn ... [Continue reading this entry]
Once west of the Mississippi I always found the country/people more to my liking & it held true this trip. Had only briefly visited Missouri briefly in the Kansas City area before so this trip through the southern part of ... [Continue reading this entry]
As Wi-Fi in old style motels that are spread out in a motor court, seems to not have enough signal strength to connect in the outlying units my reports may be a couple days old as I write them but ... [Continue reading this entry]
Around 4:00 pm on Saturday October 9, 2010 I had the ultimate pleasure of looking in the rearview, while crossing the Blue Water Bridge from Sarnia to Port Huron Michigan, to see Ontario/Canada fading from my view along with thoughts ... [Continue reading this entry]