Getting our kicks on Route 66

Yesterday was a free day. The Bro, sister-in-law, nephew-in-law and his girlfriend all met for brunch and then a day of house shopping for the nephew-in-law. I chose to stay behind at the hotel and rest up for the start of the grand adventure.

Today we left the hotel under overcast skies and a 20% chance of rain. I preferred to think of it as 80% chance of NO rain. It just seems more positive. We gassed up the motorcycles and headed out on Highway 134 from Burbank, connected to Highway 210, or as known in LA speak, “The 210”.  In Rancho Cucamonga, we connected to Highway 15 towards Barstow. Yesterday’s temperatures in the 90s had dropped to the 60s today. One of the “issues” of traveling by motorcycle is the need to pack gear for all types of weather. In a car, you just get in and go: No special gear necessary. It’s not nearly as much fun though.

In Victorville, we had planned to stop at a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’ recommended burger joint, Emma Jean’s Holland Burger Café. Unfortunately, it is closed on Sundays. Major drag. Instead, we opted for a quick bite and cup of coffee at a Del Taco. Not remotely the same, but at least it was food for the belly and a cup of warmth. In Barstow we turned east onto Interstate 40, the “big slab” replacement for Route 66. We gassed up again as I didn’t have the range to make it as far as Needles without being found dead on the side of the road. It was also a chance to peel off some of the cold weather gear.

AZ boarder just outside Needles, CA

AZ boarder just outside Needles, CA

In Needles we picked up Historic Route 66 towards Oatman, CA, aka Oatman-Topock Highway. This is a great remaining piece of Route 66: narrow road winding through the countryside. Along the route we encountered numerous vintage automobiles, all lovingly restored and reliving their glory days on “The Mother Road”. Traffic came to a sudden and complete stop in Oatman.

Oatman, AZ

Oatman, AZ

A dozen or so donkeys had taken over the road in the center of town, non-plusesd by the fact that there were cars trying to get through. After some coaxing and cajoling by one of the locals, the donkeys begrudgingly sauntered off to the side so the traffic jam could thin out. Free to move once again, we sped off for Kingman, AZ.  In Kingman, we stayed on Historic Route 66 and took aim at Seligman, AZ. Whilst cruising along, I reminisced in my head about the old Burma-Shave signs: A series of small signs, each of which bore part of a poem as commercial advertising message for shaving cream, drawing the attention of passing motorists who were curious to learn the punch line.  They were removed in the early to mid 1960s, but, to my great delight, a few have been reinstalled along this stretch of the road.

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

“Big mistake, many make, rely on horn, instead of brake – Burma Shave” “Thirty days has September, April and June, and speed offenders – Burma Shave” “Slow down Pa, sakes alive, Ma has missed, signs four and five – Burma Shave”. The original plan, well, OK, my plan, for heading to Seligman was to stop at the Snow Cap drive-in for a milkshake. Unfortunately, we arrived too late and the drive-in was closed for the day. Dang! We missed out on the burgers in Victorville and now the milkshake in Seligman. Well, at least I got the Burma Shave signs.

Snow Cap Drive-In Seligman, AZ

Snow Cap Drive-In
Seligman, AZ

Our goal for the day was to make it as far as Flagstaff, AZ for the evening depending on how we felt once we reached Williams, AZ. We stayed the night in Williams, being too cold and tired to ride the additional 30 miles to Flagstaff. An interesting observation by both the Bro and I: As we are traveling in the off -season, the only other travelers appear to be retirees and foreigners. Since I’m retired, I fit right in. For the Bro, he was too tired and cold to care beyond the observation.

One thought

  1. Mitch, this sounds like a great road trip and it is a great tribute to your loved ones. Have fun and be safe.

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