Road Trip Guide - Page 11 - Open road, open plans continued

Road Trip Guide
- Page 11
Open road, open plans continued
stretches of Route 66 in Pasadena, San Bernardino and Victorville, but I figured I could always explore the California segment another time. My goal on this trip was to get to Arizona and New Mexico — and maybe even the Texas panhandle.

I left Los Angeles early on a Saturday, heading northeast to Barstow, where I merged onto Interstate 40, the transcontinental highway that has largely supplanted Route 66 in the Southwest. I didn’t stop until I got to Needles, my exit marked by a sign that I’d see often during the next several days: Historic Route 66.

Stopping for gas, I discovered the station store was filled with souvenirs emblazoned with the iconic black-and-white Route 66 crowned road sign. Outside, a park bench offered a place to enjoy the panoramic view of the Black Mountains — and my first destination.

When I asked for directions, mechanic Rick East pointed northeast to a ring of craggy peaks about 20 miles away, cloaked in a light haze. “See that hump? That’s Oatman,” said East. “It’s crazy; 66 used to run up there.”

It still does.