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On The Road to Rt. 66 - Barstow CA to Santa Monica CA


I woke up this morning with mixed emotions - for the past 9 days I had been looking so forward to reaching our final stop on Rt. 66, and now that it was rapidly approaching I didn’t want the journey to end!  Coffee in hand, we pulled out of Barstow on our way to Santa Monica. I wanted to capture as many images as I could of the iconic road as we drove west, mountains beckoning.

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In the town of Helandale, a rather unusual sight pops up  seemingly out of nowhere! Elmer Long’s Bottle Cactus Ranch is filled with trees made of bottles - hundreds of them!  Long created this unusual display after inheriting a huge bottle collection from his father. Quite a colorful spot in the middle of the desert!

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The next town gave us an opportunity to do some antiquing at the Oro Grande Antique Station.  I found some interesting items, but I think they would go over the weigh limit in my suitcase!

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More movie history in Victorville - a stop at Emma Jean’s Holland Burger Cafe - great Rt. 66 road food, and a feature in the film “Kill Bill.” What more would you want in a cafe?!


Heading south between Angeles National Forest and San Bernadino National Forest, the scenery was breathtaking against the clear blue sky!


More fun sights on Foothill Blvd! The Wigwam Village Motel in Rialto, and Bono’s Giant Orange Stand in Fontana.  The motel is open - the juice stand has closed!

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The city of Rancho Cucamonga had many beautiful Rt. 66 displays, both along side and above the roadway. 

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Next town over, the Madonna Of The Trail pays tribute to the pioneer mothers who traveled west with their husbands. From serious to surreal - more towering fiberglass as chicken boy looks down on us from a rooftop in L.A.!

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For lunch, we decided on a recommendation from the “Road Trip 66” app we’d been following - Mom’s Tamales in Lincoln Heights.  All I can say is WOW! Best tamales I’ve had outside of Mexico - seriously!

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Past Los Angeles, Rt. 66 follows Santa Monica Blvd.  We passed several famous sights: The Hollywood Forever Cemetery - the final resting place of many famous actors, directors and producers; The Troubadour, where many famed musicians and performers got their start.

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At long last, we hit the end point of Rt. 66 at Santa Monica Blvd and Ocean Avenue, where we received a certificate for making the 2,448 mile journey from Chicago! 

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It is bittersweet, but the experience will stay with me for a lifetime.  As we know, life is a journey, not a destination - this was just part of the journey!





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