Home DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT Route 66: Vintage Landmarks on America's Highway
Route 66: Vintage Landmarks on America's Highway PDF Print E-mail

Remember the long-ago popular tune, and lyrics that declare that Route 66 "winds from Chicago to L.A?" Not exactly correct. Route 66 continues past Los Angeles for another dozen miles to the coastal city of Santa Monica. There's an official Route 66 sign just a few feet from the Santa Monica Pier, beach and the Pacific Ocean. It correctly reads: "End of the Trail."

Consider some stops along the way where to “get your kicks on Route 66”. From the song’s lyrics, they include familiar towns of Flagstaff, Winona, Kingman, Barstow and San Bernardino.

Flagstaff AZ: Visit the Galaxy Diner (931 W. Route 66, Flagstaff) With bright red and white plastic decor and a juke box playing Big Band music, you’d almost expect to see young 1940s couples jitterbugging. The Galaxy features Saturday night dancing, some of the music is from the Big Band era.

Flagstaff is surrounded by beautiful Ponderosa Pine forests and the San Francisco Peaks. It's a favorite stop for tourists on their way 80 miles north to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Winona AZ: The legend is that this desolate remains of a town about a dozen miles from Flagstaff was named in the lyrics of the song only because it rhymes with Arizona. Hence, "don't forget Winona". However, there’s not much reason to stop there.

Kingman AZ: The town is about 70 miles south of the Grand Canyon, and includes the Route 66 Museum (120 W. Andy Devine Av., Kingman). Among the relics is a 1950 Studebaker Champion car with the funny needle nose design, an old Chevy truck and memorobilia from when Kingman was a popular stop during the Depression.

That's when migrants known as "Oakies" (many came from Oklahoma) drove west to find work, as depicted in John Steinbeck's classic novel and 1940 movie, "The Grapes of Wrath".

Barstow CA: Route 66 runs right down Main Street of the Mojave Desert town, which is across the state line about 200 miles west of Kingman. Visit the Harvey House at the Santa Fe railroad station. Operated by the National Park Service, the structure is still there today.

It has many of the historic artifacts and photos from when it was a welcome restaurant stop for train travelers during the early and middle of the 20th Century. Remember the 1946 Judy Garland movie, “The Harvey Girls”?

San Bernardino CA: West along Route 66 into California another 70 miles is the city affectionately known as San Berdoo. It’s the beginnings of the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, featuring heavy traffic through the city and on to the end of the road in Santa Monica and Pacific Ocean.

Stay in-the-know about the latest Sports, Life, Money, Tech, and Travel stories. You'll get your first 2 months of USA TODAY for $25 (charged monthly). All print subscribers receive the e-Newspaper included with their subscription.