BRUNO MICHEL Country Music Journalist
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Kempner, TX 76539
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Route 66 in California and many National Parks

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Our Mother Road experience will be completed after this trip along the last of the eight states of Route 66, California

Tour Map 2003:

We headed for L.A. on July 28. As usual we underestimated traffic around greater Los Angeles, got stuck in a traffic jam and lost some 2 hours before we could move on to Needles. We arrived in pretty tired condition after an eleven hour flight and a six hour drive at 10 p.m.

We drove to Laughlin, Nevada and enjoyed a day in town before

we met the Route 66 Magazine Publishers, Paul and Sandi Taylor. Always nice to see you again guys. I'm a subscriber to the magazine since 1997 and it helped us to get a lot of ideas for our road trips.

Needles, CA, the starting point of our final leg on Mother Road.

Goffs General Store and Roy's Motel in Amboy.

On a side trip, we entered Mojave National Preserve on our way to Mitchell Caverns.

When in Arizona or California, we always take some time off in Las Vegas.

Back on 66; from the Bagdad Cafe

via Daggett with the former Greystone Cafe

to Barstow.

In Victorville there are many things to do. We visited Old Town district, the Route 66 Museum

or shopped at Antique Station in Oro Grande.

We took a break from navigating the old road and visited Joshua Tree National Park. Twentynine Palms area had heavy rain the week before so we decided to enter from the south instead. WRONG DECISION! The valley road was closed due to flooding and we had to go all the way back to see the park.

Our next trip was to Death Valley National Park. We took Highway 395 North to enter the valley from Panamint Springs. Looking beyond the sign makes you think you're there. What we underestimated was the distance between park entrance and the valley.

Nature has it's own style.

Devils Golf Course: we couldn't find a golfball.

282 feet below sea level

Artists Palette - what a view

The last sights: Dante's view

and Zabriskie Point.

Back to civilization. In Bakersfield we definitely recommend the Best Western Crystal Palace Inn & Suites. No, we don't get paid for this nor do we usually recommend hotels. But this place was so great, we extended our stay from two to six nights immediately.

The famous sign near Buck Owens' Crystal Palace.

Actually we came here to visit a concert of Buck and

to do an interview with Buck's Band, the Buckaroos, as Buck does no longer give interviews.

It's said that Buck won the car on the wall was won in a poker game.

A short 30 mile drive from Bakersfield isstill is Tehachapi Loop, a popular train spotting site. It's worth the drive to see the train's engine "catching" the last wagon.

Don't miss Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park. Distance from Bakersfield is only some 120 miles. You can explore all at once but better allow one day for each park. This gives you some time to relax in the late afternoon at the hotel pool.

General Sherman is said to be some 2'500 years old. And it stands 275 feet tall.

Also in Kings Canyon, there are pretty big trees (I am 6'4" tall)

A long and winding road down to Zumwalt Meadows Trail,

where you can take a nice walk.

Back on Route 66 at the Summit Inn.

Train spotting along Mother Road at Cajon Pass. These days it's more difficult. Some of the spots can no longer be accessed legally.

On 66 towards L.A., just before and in Rialto.

The infamous "Do It In A Tee Pee" slogan is gone. The Wigwam Motel is now under new management.

It was difficult to find the old road in Los Angeles. Finally, we passed the Foothill Drive In and turned right onto Santa Monica Boulevard

Looking back on where we came from across Ocean Boulevard. Here's the memorial plaque that marks the end of Mother Road.

Our first visit to Universal Studios in Hollywood after ten years.

There were a lot of new rides to experience since...

...our last time here.

Another Historic Route is Highway 101. We drove a short section from Oceanside to La Jolla.

Near San Diego is Cabrillo National Monument.

Spent some days in San Diego.

The Gaslamp Quarter with many shops, bars and clubs is good fun.

Near by is La Jolla, where our son had a ball during his six-month stay in 2002.

Old Town San Diego

We took the 2-hour harbor cruise

and strolled through Seaport Village.

It was 4'639 miles later on September 15 and time to go back again.



© by Bruno Michel.
US Trip Photos by Bruno Michel or websites. Music photos by Bruno Michel, Artist Management or Griz Weimer (freelance photographer and editor of Hot Country News