Posted on October 26 2020
Day 1 of our Route 66 Journey
Two moto-vloggers passionate about traveling and the open road.
This Route 66 idea was something we had in our minds for a while, and we're glad we were able to make it happen! We may have ridden it backwards but regardless, the route from Santa Monica all the way to Chicago is such an iconic piece of American history we had to experience for ourselves! We got some plans together, met up on PCH, and headed towards the "End of the Trail" sign in Santa Monica where we would begin our 2,500 mile journey across the country.
As we rode through Santa Monica, we decided to swing by Gaylin's daughter's new place and say hi before getting out on the road.
We didn't realize how many historic stops there were in Santa Monica alone! That along with all of the traffic, it took a while to get out of the city, but we made it happen.
We hopped on the 101 and the 110 to get to Pasadena to ride through the historic Colorado Boulevard section of Route 66. The fog was starting to burn off and the riding conditions were great! We took the 66 through Arcadia and ended up in Upland where we stopped to share some history on the Magic Lamp Inn, an iconic Route 66 Steakhouse founded in 1955!
A few minutes down the road is the historic Cucamonga Service Station, which is a 100+ year old service station. Originally built in 1915, it operated as a gas station until the 1970's and was occupied by various other businesses until the 80's when it was eventually abandoned. It was restored years later in 2014 to preserve some of the early 1900's architecture in the area. It was a cool little stop to see, and they still had the gas prices up from earlier times...13 cents a gallon!
Our next stop before getting out on the 2Lanes was the Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino. Built in 1949, it's a popular historic landmark on Route 66, and is still operating today! They have 19 individual Wigwam shaped rooms and it's a unique spot to check out or stay if you're ever in the area.
After getting through there, we hopped on the Cajon Pass section of Route 66 and ended up on the I14, which would take us through the Barstow area. After some time on the freeway, we got off in Dagget to get back on the 66 and ride through Newberry Springs and the surrounding areas before our gas stop in Ludlow, CA. We were finally ripping down some open stretches of road, and it felt great to get out on the 2Lanes after all of the city traffic.
After talking with some other riders we met across the street in Ludlow, we hopped back on the 66 for a while and eventually got back on the 40 to cruise into Arizona. We passed by the Old Trails Bridge which crosses the Colorado River in Topock Arizona and is always a great view from the highway! We filled up the tanks then headed into the Arizona desert back on Route 66 on the way to Oatman!
This is where the roads started to get fun! There was some great sweepers and narrow 2Lanes on the road to Oatman, and as the sun came down, it made for some great views on the open road. If you've ever been through Oatman, you know theres a few things you have to look for along the road though..wild mules!
We've been through Oatman countless times, but it was Josh's first time and he really liked the area, except for one little thing...
Gaylin went to go take him over to get a picture with one of the donkeys and as he approached it not realizing this one was pregnant, he got a nice kick to the legs. Luckily, it was nothing major, but if you want a good laugh, don't forget to check out the video!
Our favorite place to stop in Oatman is the Oatman Hotel Restaurant & Saloon. They have a great restaurant and a full bar, and it's always nice hanging out there for a bit before getting back on the road. We were almost done for the day, and just had one more stretch of road to go.
Our last historic stop for the night was the Cool Springs Gas Station, which is another great restored gas station on Route 66. Before restoration, the last time the lights were on was in 1966. It was deserted, then eventually purchased by a man named Ned Leuchtner in 2001 who decided to bring it back to life. The 8.5 mile stretch of road from Oatman to the station is full of twists, turns, and elevation change into the valley, and we rode down it just as the sun was setting.
We hung out there for a bit and got some cool shots with the drone, then headed off towards Kingman Arizona where we'd be spending the night. We rode about 500 miles that day, which usually isn't that tiring, but with all the stop-and-go of the historic Route 66 landmarks along the way, and capturing all of our favorite shots for the videos, it felt like a pretty long day. We settled in to the Ramada Inn in Kingman, which ended up being a great stay, then walked down the street to grab some dinner. We tried out Oysters Mexican Restaurant and we were not disappointed! We had some great chimichangas, taco salads, and cadillac margaritas and it all hit the spot after a long day of riding! Overall, it was a great day and a perfect start to our journey across the country!
For navigation, we used Route 66 Navigation to get some history on all of the little stops and for ease of navigation to and from destinations on Route 66 as much as possible. Overall, we had a pretty solid experience with their app, so if you decide to ride Route 66, check it out!
We hope you guys enjoyed following along the first part of the trip, we sure had a great time riding it! There's always some great history and restaurants along the way, and we did our best to stop at some good ones! See you next week for the journey from Kingman Arizona to New Mexico!
Stay safe...stay inspired