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.