Route 66 Part 2 – 8 to 15 January 2024

Having taken a few weeks away from driving Route 66, we picked up the road again just south of Kingman, Arizona taking the Oatman Highway over the Sitegreaves Pass and down to the Colorado River after which we were in California.

Oatman.

The drive over the pass was stunning but the town of Oatman, once a thriving gold mining town, is now one big tourist attraction with “wild” donkeys roaming the streets and a daily cowboy gunfight.

In Amboy, California we climbed the extinct volcano cone and walked down into the solidified lava lake in the centre. Definitely a unique experience!

A boy crater. Not the last crater we would see in the US

After a couple of days in the Silverwood Lake area we hit the road to Los Angeles – we couldn’t put it off any longer if we wanted to finish Route 66.

Crazy traffic of LA

Safe to say that the LA traffic lived up to its reputation and it took us 9.5 hours to drive about 150 miles into Santa Monica and out again to a campsite.

Lincoln Boulevard

We’re not big city people (a bit strange given June was born in and worked in London all her life!) and if it hadn’t been for Route 66 we wouldn’t have even thought about visiting LA in the van.

The tourist’s sign

There’s not a single designated finish point; there’s one on the road on Lincoln Boulevard, the much photographed “End of the Trail” sign on Santa Monica pier and a third, less well known original end sign on the door of the Route 66 booth at the entrance to the pier, where having signed the log book we also had our photo taken.

A few thoughts on Route 66

Planning is essential!  We thought we’d just hit the road and go but you do have to plan what to see and what road to take as there are so many options and unless your time is unlimited you won’t see everything.  As mentioned previously we used the EZ66 Guide for Travellers as our main planning tool along with the  Ultimate Route 66 Guide App.

Understandably many places play up their Route 66 connection no matter how tenuous, but there are some real gems to visit that we are glad we found.  All the business owners we met and talked to were so friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable on not just their area but much of the Route, usually because they had driven it themselves and often several times.  It was sad to see how many places hadn’t made it though and were in various states of decay. 

Travelling when we did in the offseason meant that a lot of places were closed or open only for limited hours.  For us that wasn’t really a problem as we tend to avoid overly busy places but if planning a trip then it’s worth taking into consideration.  The weather is another factor to think about when planning and we were lucky to avoid much of the winter snow

We really enjoyed from New Mexico to eastern California but that was as much about the natural landscapes as what was on the road itself.

To be honest we were quite pleased to get to the end but at the same time we felt a real sense of achievement at completing the full distance and were pleased we did it.  We saw and experienced a lot of America that we probably would never have seen without Route 66.

Motorhoming

Driving an RV in the southwestern US is so easy.  The roads are wide and the choice of overnight spots is beyond words.  Many of the campgrounds in the national and state parks have service points outside their entrances and therefore accessible to everyone, so we’ve had no problems finding water.

Fuel has remained cheap right up until the California border where it immediately increases by a couple of dollars a gallon, if not more especially in the more remote places – the most we paid was $8.50 whereas back in Arizona it had been around $3.90!

LPG, or propane, is easy to get and prices are pretty much as they are at home.

We avoid the large RV parks wherever possible as we don’t (or can’t) connect to the water, sewage and electrical systems. They are also expensive and in Los Angeles we couldn’t find anything cheaper than $90 a night. By contrast the Mesquite Campground in Death Valley National Park is $14 a night for a pitch without services.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.