Sep 18-19th, San Francisco – Los Angeles – Needles, CA
Este artigo artigo pode ser encontrado em Português.
On Sunday I left San Francisco heading south to LA – four hundred miles on the road, where I could meet my brother Carlos and sister-in-law Dianna, since they where in Southern CA for several days. We had dinner at Irvine, at Javier’s Cantina (www.javiers-cantina.com), a great place to eat, according to my brother who used to live in the region and once there visiting, he always makes everything possible to try their famous beef enchiladas! Irvine is also known by the University of Irvine, one of the most renowned in America, located in Orange County, one of the best regions to live in the country. It’s in the region of Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the famous beaches of Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Dana Point, Disneyland, and about one hour driving from San Diego. All of this, close to Santa Monica and its famous Pier, where I started my Route 66 journey.
Once at the Pier, I made plans to stop and visit the famous “End Of The Trail Sign”, which symbolizes the sentimental end of Route 66, in my case its beginning from LA to Chicago. LA and Santa Monica are twin cities and the sign there was inaugurated during Route 66’s 83rd anniversary with the support of the Route 66 Alliance which supports numerous business owners along all of the Route.
There I was able to meet a very special person – Dan Rice, married to his sweet and kind wife Jessica. Both are rejoicing with their first child’s arrival, but even with the new parent duties, they were able to spend time with me, giving myself hints of the road and recommendations to visit – Dan has done more than twenty five Route 66 trips and owns the 66-to-Cali Gift Shop, a very well-known spot at the Pier. Not only a gift shop, Dan is responsible for making the finest shirts with the Route 66 logo, all US made, which makes all sense to me for a road as American as Route 66! If you have any doubt of where finding Dan’s spot at the Pier, just locate the End Of The Trail sign and ask anybody around and you won’t miss it. Dan is a unique kind of guy; I could see that in a matter of seconds. He demonstrates deep passion of what he does for a living, his life goals, happy with his wife and baby, dedicated, responsible and let me say something that amazed me, due to today’s fast paced daily life – he “donated” his time to me, which in my point of view, seems even greater for a society that was driven to become so straight to the point, sometimes even exaggerated and artificial. Cutting long short, we spent almost one hour, both of them – Dan and Jessica writing down the places I had to meet on the Route 66 all the way.
There’s one great guide for traveller’s on Route 66, called “EZ 66 Guide for Travelers”, by author Jerry McClanahan. You can find it at Amazon.com, for example or you can buy it from special people like Dan Rice, since if you purchase at his gift shop, the unique hints, great conversation and future friendship is for free ! Another cool information is the book “End Of The Trail” (www.66tocali.com/66-products), with Dan’s autobiography, on a pretty bad accident he had in the past and his successful recovery, having Route 66 as one of the story’s background. I confess I haven’t had time to read it, but sure it’s already in my backpack and to do’s list!
After speaking to Dan on Sunday evening, Monday was the first part of the Route, from Santa Monica to Needles, California’s state line with Arizona, driving through some stunning views! Once at this five thousand population city, I stayed at the America’s Best Value Inn, by Route 66 and I-40, where you can find David, the Hotel’s Manager, a very kind guy. He recommended me eating at “Juicy’s Famous River Café” (www.juicysrivercafe.com), a local Diner, where we had dinner – pretty good food, let’s say! I was surprised when the waitress asked me if I wanted the check before throwing it on my table, something not so usual in America, different than Latin based countries, such as Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, etc., where we usually get asked before getting the final check. For those who don’t know, we’re used to sometimes having desserts and always drinking an espresso shot before even thinking of paying the check… Well, those are different cultures, let’s say this way!
Tuesday I drove through an amazing part of the trip, more than 300 hundred miles and met a eighty-four year old barber, Mr. Angel Delgadillo, from Seligman, Arizona, one of the man responsible for keeping the Route 66 history alive and an inspiration for Disney-Pixar’s Animation Movie – Cars. Next article you’ll be able to get to know Mr. Delgadillo better… It’s worth it.
At last, some facts on Route 66:
- Founded on Nov. 11th, 1926;
- It goes through eight American states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California;
- Original length in 1926: 2448 miles;
- Also known as “Mother Road”, Will Rogers Expressway/Highway”, “Main Street Of America”, etc.;
- In 1985 was officially removed from the United States Highway System after it was decided the route was no longer relevant and had been replaced by the Interstate Highway System, but portions of the road were later designated as Historic Route 66, National Scenic Byway of State Route 66, after hard work from special people like Angel Delgadillo and Dan Rice!
- Originally it starts in Chicago and ends in LA, or let’s say Santa Monica. It had its end point modified several times in the past.
Eight hundred miles later, Tuesday was even better. In the future I’ll be writing about how Route 66 became an American icon and a pure Yankee landmark.
Keep following me!