The first few days of the Bike Route 66

RobSN

Getting off the lift
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Prescott Valley, AZ
April 11, 2018, Wednesday: Home to LA. A neighbor had a doctor’s appointment in Flagstaff today and consequently was able to give me and my bike a lift up there. Susan (wife) followed in the Honda Accord and we went to have tea near to the REI. We also got some waterproof matches and another water carrier from the REI. After tea, even though it was only 5 o’clock, we went to a pizza restaurant and had pizza. At that time the train was showing on time with an arrival of 8:50 PM. Regrettably while we were at the restaurant the arrival time started getting later and later. I left the restaurant after Susan had already gone home at around 8:30 PM and went to the station. I had about another three hour wait before the train finally arrived, and I loaded my bike into the guard’s van and went to my sleeper cabin. I slept off and on until about 5 o’clock when breakfast was served in the dining car. Not wanting to miss it I got up and had breakfast although it wasn’t particularly good. When I got back to my sleeping cabin I was unable to go back to sleep and just whiled away the next few hours looking out of the window. We finally arrived at Los Angeles Union Station at about 9:30 AM.
 
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RobSN

RobSN

Getting off the lift
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Prescott Valley, AZ
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The start for me!
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The witches house in Beverly Hills

4/12/18 Thursday: Santa Monica to San Dimas. I navigated my way onto the Metro and took it out to Santa Monica pier, finally arriving around about 11 AM. After a picture and getting my water bottles refilled at a restaurant I started out. The GPS, however, didn’t seem to be helping me and finally I gave up and just used the paper maps. It was quite a pleasant day and I cycled out through West Hollywood with only one problem at Wilshire Boulevard where a car passed me too closely and I fell into a lamppost which thank goodness enabled me to stay upright and unclip! I was not particularly impressed with Beverly Hills, thinking that it was but a poor imitation and reflection of Bermuda. Most of the day was spent in city and urban traffic but there were often bike lanes which helped out. It wasn’t until quite late on in the afternoon that it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I had loaded the wrong map into my GPS. Indeed, I had – I had loaded map number one which starts in Chicago as opposed to map number six which ends in Santa Monica (as I was going west to east). I had to stop at a small cycle shop which turned out to be run by Hispanics to obtain cycle clips as my long pants caught in the belt drive a couple of times. Strangely enough, they didn’t have water at the shop for me to refill my water bottles! Finally, towards evening I was approaching Azusa and I called the Doubletree Hotel there. Unfortunately, they were still fully booked and had had no cancellations. I sat on a bench and looked for a decent hotel within a few miles. Finally, I found one with availability at a Holiday Inn in San Dimas, and arrived at about 6:30-ish. I showered and then went out to a nearby Thai restaurant that was within walking distance. I was starving as I hadn’t stopped for lunch during the day – naturally, the service was very slow – Murphy’s Law! Distance: 48.2 miles, riding time: 5:34, elevation gain 2,211 ft.
 
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RobSN

RobSN

Getting off the lift
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Prescott Valley, AZ
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The old road deck of Route 66 on the right

4/13/18 Friday: San Dimas to Victorville/Hesperia. It was a beautiful day to start off and after breakfast I cycled through various commuter suburbs until I hit the Pacific Electric cycle way which had been laid over an old tram or train track. The cycle way was wonderful with numerous places to stop with water fountains and even cycle pumps and bicycle repair stands! Unfortunately, there were also quite a lot of homeless people who seem to use the cycle way which somewhat detracted from the beauty. When I reached Fontana, I had to turn 90° and head due North, unfortunately straight into howling headwinds which must’ve been at least 30 mile an hour. Part way up this road on the way to Nealy’s corner, the bike lane disappeared. While in normal circumstances I could have ridden the narrow strip of asphalt next to the fog line, with this being a 55 mph speed limit road and howling headwinds which made me unsteady, I had to walk the bike for about 1 ½ miles to get to Nealy’s corner. The route then turned slightly further easterly and I was able to cycle again. I finally stopped at a gas station in Devore and had a sandwich and a Coke. At this stage I was just beginning to get a little concerned about the time. I had a great deal of climbing on the interstate still to do get to my hotel. The people at the gas station were very unfriendly and would not refill my water bottles. I left and carried on up the hill into Devore itself. I found a little store where I ate an ice cream and the lady there was happy to fill my water bottles and I set out in the late afternoon to try to get as far on as I could. The next 8 miles along Cajon Boulevard took me two hours including stops. Interestingly the road deck of the old Route 66 was alongside the new road, but it had numerous roadblocks on it which were easy for a bike to get around. Hence, I cycled on that leaving the motor traffic to go past on the new road. Finally, this met up with the interstate. It was now about 5:40 PM and I realized that I would be unlikely to be able to get to my hotel before darkness - I still had 1100 feet of climbing to get to the top of Cajun pass and 12.3 miles to my hotel, all into a very strong head wind. At this juncture I decided discretion would be the better part of valor and hitched a ride with a pickup truck to get me to the hotel. I was pretty pleased to arrive at the Courtyard Marriott, where I showered and ate at the hotel. Distance: 39.8 miles, elevation gain 3,378 ft, riding time ~5:10 plus ~ 30min?
 
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RobSN

RobSN

Getting off the lift
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Prescott Valley, AZ
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The Bank of Oro Grande on the left, delapidated.
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Cheap gas …
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At Elmer's bottle tree ranch

4/14/18 Saturday: Victorville/Hesperia to Barstow. Another beautiful day. It took a few miles to cycle through Victorville, and towards the end I stopped at the California Route 66 Museum, which included a fair few items that made it across the Atlantic in my childhood. Only 2 further miles outside Victorville was Emma Jean’s Holland Burger Café, which I had read about and seemed mildly famous – so I stopped for a very early lunch and had a junior Holland Burger, which seemed to be hamburger and runny cheese in a toasted sourdough sandwich. Not worthy of being rated as immensely famous in my view. However, it transpired that the waiters and waitresses would do tricks on unsuspecting types (viz. me), and my waitress pointed a tomato ketchup squeeze bottle at me and squeezed: a stream of red shot out at me and I almost fell off the barstool backing up, only to realize that it was actually a bit of bendy red plastic. They got me. (The diner is also famous as the diner into which ‘the Bride’ a/k/a Uma Thurman staggers after escaping from her coffin after being buried alive in Kill Bill 2). After lunch, I cycled through some real old Route 66 towns, mostly somewhere between totally dead and fossilized – the Bank of Oro Grande had seen better days for example. In the early afternoon, I stopped at Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch and took some pictures – it was unusual to say the least. Just after Helendale, I went down a small hill and an opening on the left showed the train tracks only a few yards away. As I did so, the front cab of a freight train went past at my level and I waved at the conductor, getting a toot toot in reply. But it was hot in the desert, upper 80’s and 90’s, so I was looking forward to finding enough civilization to buy a cold drink – however, there wasn’t much until I got to the outskirts of Barstow where finally I stopped at a gas station and guzzled a large coke. I made it to my hotel in Barstow at about 4:45pm and after stopping in at a supermarket for provisions for the next day, went to an Italian restaurant within walking distance and had shrimp scampi and a small carafe of “Chainti”* as the menu had it, misspelt (no-one seemingly had ever pointed this out as my waitress kept saying “No, Chianti” until I showed her). Distance: 47.0 miles, elevation gain 1,231 ft, riding time 4:36.

[* Hey, @Tony S , if you've never had yersel' some good ol' Barstow Chainti, you ain't never lived! It's a reeel eenofile's lip-smackin' wine ...]
 
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RobSN

RobSN

Getting off the lift
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Prescott Valley, AZ
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A desireable motel …
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4/15/19 Sunday: Barstow to Ludlow (and then home). Today, I really got out into the wilderness. There was a short ride along I-40 before getting off onto the old Route 66, which meandered through pretty much nothing. I stopped for a chocolate milk just before Newberry Springs, and later passed the mildly famous Bagdad Café (but rumor had it that the hygiene was not great, so I didn’t go in). A few miles after Newberry Springs, the ACA maps stated that the road surface was extremely poor and recommended using the hard shoulder of I-40. However, as I got to the turn-off for I-40, I could see that the road had been resurfaced so I carried on along old Route 66. There was about 13 miles of climbing although the elevation gain was only about 500 ft – nonetheless, in the heat, I could feel it. Part way along, I came across three middle aged ladies walking from Ludlow to Newberry Springs. They had a support driver following at the appropriate 2mph! As I reached the summit, the road crossed I-40 on a bridge, and the retarmaced surface disappeared. It was dreadful and hurt my bottom. My speed immediately dropped, even though I was going downhill, as I had to weave looking for the least painful route. It was at this stage that I realized that I was unlikely to make it far into the Mojave, and definitely not as far as Amboy. The next day had high wind warnings with likely brown-outs. I decided that I had better call the trip off and go home, so called Susan to drive out to Ludlow. I then finished the ride at the Café in Ludlow where I had an enormous ham steak, which I couldn’t finish. Distance: 50.9 miles, elevation gain: 1,020ft, ride time 5:58.

To be continued, one day ...
 

Rainbow Jenny

Out on the slopes
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My folks are in the Hesperia/Victorville/Apple Valley area, I'm marking this TR and maybe ride to Barstow to sample the Chainti for @Tony S too...
 

Tony S

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My folks are in the Hesperia/Victorville/Apple Valley area, I'm marking this TR and maybe ride to Barstow to sample the Chainti for @Tony S too...
Somehow I missed this thread. I'm in. Coffee and beer, though.
 

Jim Kenney

Travel Correspondent
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Thanks for sharing @RobSN .
I drove from LA to the Southeastern US last May and saw parts of old Rt 66 in CA, AZ, NM. Spoke to cyclists in a motel one morning in western NM who were making the ride from Chicago to LA and they were older guys.
Later last summer at age 64 a friend from my high school days rode from San Francisco to Boston on a supported bike ride with a group of about 20. Took him 51 days. He blogged about it along the way and I had fun following his trip. His ride was a big success, but the blog covered fun and not-so-fun items including riding over rumble strips on the shoulder of an interstate highway for an hour at a time on several occasions when better routes were not convenient. Yikes! Here's his blog: https://jamesnealon.blogspot.com/2019/07/june-1-family-friends-neighbors.html
 
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