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Road Trip - Route 66

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29 minutes ago, 39BuickEight said:

What?  No Amboy?


On the way back.  


Amboy is one of the locations cut off by the bridge wash-outs.  We have to do a little double back to get to Amboy now.  This is all bad because San Bernardino County is responsible for maintaining this road; they haven't really done a credible job of it in many sections; now they are broke as in bankrupt; now there are three bridges that have been washed out - and if you look at their web site on road closures, they have not a clue when they will have these bridges repaired.  The guy that recently bought Amboy is probably a bit worried right now.



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We got up early today - 2:15 a.m.  We left our motel at 2:50 a.m. and headed west on Foothill Blvd which is old Route 66.  The remaining distance to the western terminus of Route 66 was 73 miles and all on surface streets.  We passed through many cities along the way - Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Claremont, La Verne, San Dimas, Glendora, Azusa, Duarte, and Pasadena.  Our route through Pasadena along Colorado Blvd was on the street used each year for the Rose Bowl parade.  We passed over the old Colorado Street bridge and drove on the Arroyo Seco Parkway, formerly known as the Pasadena Freeway, one of the first in the Los Angeles area.  Arriving in Los Angeles proper, we drove west on Sunset Blvd and through "Hollyweird" on Santa Monica Blvd, finally passing through Beverly Hills.  Leaving Beverly Hills, we entered Santa Monica and at the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd and Ocean Avenue - 




These photos were taken at Santa Monica Blvd and Ocean Avenue (on Ocean Avenue)







It was still on the dark side when I took these photos.  I was actually parked on a traffic lane but was fortunate enough to be right behind a line of food court trucks parked in this lane just outside the Santa Monica pier.


After taking these photos, we drove out on the Santa Monica pier...




In this photo, you can see the glow of sunrise in the east...




I got a picture of the Buick staring out at the waves breaking on the beach...




And a couple of photos of the foolish folks who thought this trip up as a retirement time burner quite a few years ago...





Here's a view on the north side of the pier...




A bit of the Santa Monica skyline...




And the view toward the pier entrance from the pier...




We left Santa Monica and didn't waste anytime heading east.  We are now on the road, headed back to Flagstaff to close the loop on what will be and west-to-east, then east-to-west trip on Route 66.


Much later in the day, we arrived back in Victorville and visited their Route 66 museum.  Many towns on Route 66 have such museums and they are all quite good at offering a look at life in their communities during the time when Route 66 was a commissioned federal highway.   A few photos from their museum...






Look at this pin map.  Visitors to the Victorville museum are asked to pin their home locations.  Notice the distribution of pins in the United States and then the rest of the world...




The Victorville museum has a beautiful mural on their building a we took a photo of the Buick posed in front of the mural.




Here's the photo everyone wants at the west end of Route 66 but is impossible to frame - your car with the Santa Monica pier entrance.  So we settled for a convenience photo with their mural.




While we were at the museum, we were introduced to the Mayor and a City Councilman from Victorville.  The Councilman is a Covair guy and I told him about the large collection of Covairs we had seen in Missouri at Gay Parita.  He was born in Missouri and is going to look them up next time he is back in his home state.


Moving east, we came to the Bottle Farm in Helendale.  This is the life work of a man who collected bottles and arranged them on stemmed poles.  It is quite fascinating to look at them and walk in among the bottle trees.  This has been a Route 66 attraction for quite a while.







We are back in Ludlow, enjoying a good rest after a hectic travel day.  Stay with us a few more days as we see a few more things we missed on the way west.  We will finally end up in Flagstaff to close the loop.


The Buick has been running flawlessly.  Today we climbed out of the Los Angeles basin and up Cajon Pass on old Route 66 and some on I-15.  This is a demanding climb and if the Buick was going to vapor lock, it would have done so on this portion of the trip.  Not even a burp.


Still gettin' our kicks on Route 66.









Edited by 49_buick_super (see edit history)
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Morning guys, following your trip again this year , great. Have some locals here who live near flagstaff so interested in your photos to.

i noticed from the world map , quite a few flags from U.K. , intend putting another up next year when I visit my friends and your countrymen. 

Best regards


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Congratulations!  Awesome trip and you've inspired me to add this to my 'bucket list'.  Regarding your last post, I was amazed by the number of pins from the Far East!


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We are east-bound on Route 66 today.  


Amboy is our next stop.  This location has been cut-off to westbound travelers due to bridge washouts during the exceptionally wet fall and winter just past.  You can still get here, but you have to double back after passing it for some distance on I-40.  Old Route 66 is still open to Amboy from Ludlow on excellent road surface.  Once you get to Amboy, you must detour north on Kelbaker Road to I-40.


Amboy is an iconic Route 66 location.  The "Roy's" sign at Amboy is probably one of the most well-known Route 66 symbols, especially of the Mohave desert.  Amboy has been a combination of railroad service location and mining community.  Two things are still mined here:  medical-grade limestone and salt.  (Please don't ask me what medical-grade limestone is used for; I don't know.)


This is Amboy -




Once a very busy location on Route 66, Amboy and Roy's withered and died with the opening of I-40.  I-40 is about 11 miles away from Amboy so the loop is really big.  The railroad used to deliver potable water to Amboy but stopped doing so when their interests here evaporated.  Now, with no drinking water, it is not possible to run the motel cabins, a restaurant or much of anything else.  The toilets are operated with salty groundwater.  The gift shop is open and manned by a gritty chap who looks like he has lived in Amboy all his life.  He say's he owns 40 acres nearby and he lives of the grid with solar and wind power.  He trucks in his potable water.  He also packs a slab-side cocked and locked .45 on his hip.  This place really doesn't feel like California.  More like Arizona.  I love it.  He tells us that tourism and movie production makes up the core of what happens in Amboy now.  A horror movie just finished shooting here last week.  He tells us that horror movies are mostly what is shot here.  He sounds sad when he says it.  At least six other cars stopped here while we were visiting Amboy.  As far as I could tell from listening to them talk, they were all from other countries.


A few views around Amboy.  The old cabins -




The old school at Amboy - 




A US Post Office at Amboy which is alleged to be still in operation.  No flag flying but it is Sunday when we are here.  There is still a mail box out front and I would assume that attests to the active nature of the post office.




A view of the motel main lobby as it appeared in days gone by...






Here is another peculiarity to Amboy.  A "trash" tree which is a pole on which travelers have left anything and everything you can think of nailed or wired to the pole.  There is a woman's bra hanging here as well and a number of expired identification cards, cigarette butts, bottles, cans,...




Not far east of Amboy there is a lengthy embankment which over the years travelers have taken to writing their names in large stones which have been arranged in the shapes of letters that spell the words.  Interesting to see but not my idea of a good time.  Our names are not there.


This whole area around Amboy is literally in the heart of the Mohave desert.  I couldn't leave this area without taking a few photos that convey a feeling for the character of the land and how Route 66 appears as you travel through it.








We are back in Arizona tonight in Kingman.  Tomorrow we will travel to Flagstaff where we will close the loop on this whole trip and find ourselves right back at the spot in Flagstaff where this whole journey started in September last year.





Edited by 49_buick_super (see edit history)
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Never took that stretch of road through Amboy.  I am usually in a hurry to start a trip and make some miles from SoCal.  Looks like a detour will be in order some day.


Thanks, great reporting!

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We stayed overnight in Kingman, again at the El Trovatore.  You just can't beat this motel for Route 66 ambiance.  There was a group of at least twenty New Zealanders here at the motel, all in ten rental Mustangs in which they are traveling Route 66.  This adventure must be costing them a small fortune just in car rental but here they are, foreign tourists enjoying a road trip that is uniquely American.  I have learned in my reading that there are almost as many Route 66 Associations in Europe as there are in the United States.


I met Gary, a fellow Buick enthusiast, two years ago in Kingman at the Route 66 Fun Run.  At the time, Gary was working on his 47 Buick. When Gary learned we would be in Kingman, he communicated with me and suggested we meet at take some pictures of our cars together.  It was a great suggestion and, as it would turn out, very fortunate for us.


Here's a few pictures of our cars together in Kingman...











And a picture of a couple of retired, happy Arizona Buick guys...




Before Gary came to the motel to meet us, I opened up the car for the day and as I turned the key in the driver's door lock, I felt the tension release quickly, the door handle came loose and I heard something fall from the lock assembly inside the door.  Dang and dang. I must have been the latch spring because the door would not latch when closed.


Gary kindly offered to take me to a NAPA store for a length of velcro strap to hold the door closed and offered the services of his garage at home.  How lucky could we be?


We went to Gary's house and opened up the door.  We found the latch spring had come loose from the lock.  Nothing appeared damaged.  We tinkered about for a while trying to disassemble the lock but it's been since April 2011 when I disassembled the door for the restoration and I don't have my photos and videos along.  I have the shop manual but the real details are in the Body Manual, which, of course, is a home.  So we decided to apply our velcro door latch and Gary helped me rig some padding and cording to hold the door handle in place and keep it from flopping about while driving.








We thanked Gary and his wife, Carol, for their hospitality and help and started home.  


We arrived home at about 5:15 p.m.  All is well.


Just a few words on closing.  We have had the time of our lives on this road trip.  It has been a true adventure.  I don't need to go into a long description of the fun we've had because it's all been written about in the posts above along with the pictures.


It is my fondest hope that we may have encouraged more members of our Chapter club here in Phoenix, Valley of the Sun Buick Club, to get out on the road and enjoy touring in their Buicks.  I also hope that we may have done the same for the BCA at large.  You cannot imagine the enjoyment and adventure until you actually do this.  Some of you will say that you drive your Buicks long distances to the Nationals.  I'm not detracting anything from that experience.  It is an adventure because of the destination.  But that travel is usually done in the shortest amount of time, usually on direct routes and often on Interstate highways.  Travel like we have experience on Route 66 is done without a daily mileage goal - just traveling down a non-Interstate road, driving through towns, stopping and meeting people, seeing what the day may bring with serendipity as your guide.  You have seen that our trip was not without problems but I have reported each and every one and as you have probably noticed, each problem was taken in stride and they all worked out to take the experience of the trip in a different direction for a while.  Our worst problem in Amarillo, in retrospect, was one of the most enjoyable parts of our trip as we lived like locals in Amarillo for a week and really experienced Route 66 in Texas to a greater degree that we thought we would.


Don't let your beautiful Buicks be seen only in car shows.  Sure, some guys have cars that are just too valuable to drive.  But most of us have Buicks that should not only be shown in car shows, but shown in dynamic shows - driven on the road and shown to a wider audience. People out there love these cars.  You won't have any trouble meeting people or starting conversations if you road trip with your Buick!


Thank you for riding along. We have enjoyed sharing this adventure with our BCA friends and we have appreciated the many kind comments.  All the best of life to each and everyone one of you...




Dan and Lynn





Edited by 49_buick_super (see edit history)
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Thanks to you Dan!  I always take every back road I can and I want to drive Route 66 again and again.   I've done Santa Monica to St. Louis, and we are doing St. Louis to Chicago this summer (before hitting the Lincoln Highway out to Nebraska).  While my old buick isn't on the road yet, I will imagine riding in yours this summer! 

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Thanks for sharing!  I especially enjoyed the high resolution pictures that can be enlarged and studied for small details (example:  the tag on the bottom of the sign at the end of your last post).

Previously when your story and pictures showed up in the Buick Club magazine, I felt sorry for those not on the forum to enjoy all the potential.  And the online version was no better.

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Just thought of a question regarding the issues with 66 east of Amboy.  Is the famous (now fallen) shoe tree cut off now?  If I remember correctly it was right beside a bridge.  I wonder if it was ruined by the rain?  



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2 hours ago, 39BuickEight said:

Just thought of a question regarding the issues with 66 east of Amboy.  Is the famous (now fallen) shoe tree cut off now?  If I remember correctly it was right beside a bridge.  I wonder if it was ruined by the rain?  




We looked for the shoe tree and did not see it.  We were aware of it before we got to Amboy.  Rain in So Cal this past fall and winter was transforming to many landscapes so it would not surprise me if it has disappeared.



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Just want to add my thanks for sharing y'all's wonderful trip through the great pictures and your wonderful way of saying it with words. Each month while closely perusing your thread and trying to condense it into a couple of pages for the Bugle I got very in to your stories and enjoyed each and every one, a most enjoyable job. I received several comments from readers as to how much they enjoyed it too. Looks like I will have one more installment to add and look forward to doing it. You've certainly gotten Lamar and Rita to thinking ahead to Rita's retirement and starting a search for a period correct aftermarket AC unit for ol' Buttercup. :)


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