……..with a sense of relief. It’s not really my kind of town. We were on the road fairly early and were on I-15 down as far as Barstow as it has replaced R66. We had two more iconic American road experiences: a dust storm (which made me think of all those folks in the 30s who drove along this road to escape the dust bowl) and tumbleweed blowing across the road. I used to do a clinic in Lochgelly, Fife in the late 1980s and it was so deserted on a midweek afternoon, I could imagine the tumbleweed blowing across the street. We were now in the Mojave Desert and Joshua Trees have replaced the sunflowers. South of Barstow (no obvious coffee stops), the old highway loops away from the interstate and passed the work of another R66 eccentric: The Bottle Tree Ranch (see photos). There were some French bikers there at the same time as us but otherwise, the road was very quiet. Shortly afterwards we found a mini market that sold coffee and had a pit stop. We passed the huge cement works at Oro Grande but then had to rejoin I-15 to go over Cajon Summit (4190 feet) . Just past the summit we spotted a park that would do for our picnic lunch before we hit the Greater LA freeways. It was a lovely quiet spot away from traffic. I had worked out a route through LA that would be fairly easy to follow and allow us to drive down Santa Monica Boulevard which is the last few miles of R66. We have finally made it!
We woke on Monday to a clear blue sky and the first frost of the season. After breakfast we packed up and set off down R64 to connect with Route 66 again in Williams. We saw the deer crossing the road just before we left the National Park and it felt just like Scotland as we were still in the pine forest. There are a few photo opportunities in Williams, Seligman and other towns along R66. Seligman is a real tourist magnet for some reason but we enjoyed the drive away from the interstate all the way to Kingman. We left R66 there and headed north along the Colorado River for our next diversion: Las Vegas. Not really my kind of town but the approach through the mountains was spectacular and we also got a look at the Hoover Dam. Also weird were the signs advertising machine gun shooting. I still can’t get over being able to buy a gun in Walmart but not a bottle of wine and being asked for ID in one store when I was buying wine. I did enjoy getting an ‘over 50’ discount in one outlet store we visited in Las Vegas. James was keen to see the strip at night so we had a wander but other than some shopping we spent the rest of the day relaxing by the pool.