Homer's Travels: Route 66 & California - California

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Route 66 & California - California

It was the last day of the Route 66 section of our vacation.  The route parallels I-40 for a while driving through the California desert landscape.

There wasn't much reason to stop along this stretch of the route.  The little towns you drive through were all small and dusty.  Most of the old route landmarks were now fallen down, graffiti encrusted, ruins.  One place we did stop at was a lone tree along the road decorated with shoes.  It reminded me of the Camino ... as just about everything did back in July.  The place we should have stopped at was the Amboy Crater.  I probably could have gotten some interesting pictures of the volcanic cone but we decided to pass it by.  We were both tired and anxious to get to the end.

Route 66 Shoe Tree.
After Barstow we passed by Elmer's Bottle Forest without stopping.  We'd been there before.   We ended up stopping in Victorville for lunch.  Emma Jean's Holland Burger not only had good food but the staff was a real hoot - rough around the edges and full of piss and vinegar.

After a satisfying lunch we decided that we needed to visit at least one Route 66 museum along the way so we stopped at the California Route 66 Museum and saw relics of the old road.  We bought some more magnets and I got a Route 66 pin for my hat.  This stop was the high point of the day.  Sadly, it went downhill really fast after this.

We decided to skip the route as it went through Los Angeles.  We wanted to visit Olvera Street and China Town (which happens to be on the route) and have time to do some shopping.  I consulted the map and figured out where I had to exit the freeway to get to Olvera Street and we got on the freeway.  It shouldn't have taken us very long.  Sadly, my navigation skills that day weren't any better than the Wife's during the sleeping bag saga.  I totally misread the map.  Where I thought there was an exit, there wasn't.

We realized the error of my ways and then made a slew of errors and miscalculations.  Frustration, irritation, arguing, and general unpleasantness ensued.  An hour and a half to two hours later, after fighting bumper to bumper traffic, driving streets that I'd never driven before, we finally managed to reach Olvera street.  We were very fortunate that we didn't kill each other along the way ... multiple times.  The only thing that saved us was the fact that most of the stores we wanted to visit were still open ... but just barely.  If they had been closed I would have feared for my life.

After shopping we rejoined the route and battled the traffic again until we reached the Santa Monica Pier - the official end of Route 66.  It was almost dark.  We drove past the famous sign without even stopping.  We'd had enough.

The Route 66 stage of our vacation was over so we stopped at a McDonalds in Malibu (with flat screen TVs and comfy sofas) for a fast food meal.

The drive up the coast was in the dark.  It's much more interesting during the day.  It wouldn't have been dark if I hadn't got lost.  We reached Oxnard, the town I'd lived in for almost 21 years and then ... I got lost again.  I missed my turn at Wooley Road.  Why did I miss my turn?  It fell into another of my memory holes.  My first hole was the James Taylor concert that I have zero recollection of.  This time I forgot a whole street.

Yes, I forgot the entire Wooley Road.  This wasn't some little side street or alley.  This was a street I took almost every Sunday for at least eleven years on my way to grocery shopping.  This was a major road that ran only a few blocks from where I lived.  It's existence was completely wiped from my memory in three and a half years.  I compared notes with the Wife and I realized that my mind had divided the characteristics of Wooley Road with two adjacent streets.  Some of Wooley Road went to 5th Street, some went to Hemlock Street.  Weird.

I was relieved when we got to our hotel in Ventura and I could put this day behind me.  I can now say I've driven Route 66.  I can say it was a mix of ups and downs, starting on a high note and ending with a frustrating, snarling, whimper.  Now it was time for the California portion of our Vacation.  Hopefully it would be a little smoother.

Pictures of our Route 66 vacation can be found in my 2011-07 Route 66 Roadtrip Google Photos album.

Approximate distance driven this leg: ±345 miles (We were lost ... probably drove a bit more than this that last day).


  1. Interesting study on directions there! Sometimes I think that not needed at the moment...delete it thing is a male tendency..I could be wrong.

  2. KSam: I'm more concerned that it may be an age thing.