In this new San Bernardino County blog series, we’ll interview our favorite local folks who will share their top tips for visitors who want to make the most out of their trip to the famous destinations of San Bernardino County, whether it’s Big Bear, Joshua Tree, Lake Arrowhead, Morongo Basin, Ontario, Yucca Valley, or 29 Palms.
Introducing one of our San Bernardino County insiders: Lynne Miller of the California Historic Route 66 Association!
Tell us about California Historic Route 66 Association. What does it do and how long has it been around?
California Historic Route 66 Association recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The non-profit was started in 1991 to preserve, promote, and educate about the importance of Route 66 in California. Its inception coincides with a national movement to save this historic highway after it was officially decommissioned by the federal government and all Route 66 road signs were removed from the highway; this caused concern for the most famous highway in the world and resulted in the formation of preservation organizations in each of the 8 states through which Route 66 passes.
Tell us about some highlights and things that visitors might not know but should! Why is it so famous?
Route 66 is loved worldwide, and associations exist in over a dozen foreign countries.
The section of Route 66 between Needles and Barstow is very popular with motorcyclists due to its beautiful desert scenery and wide expanses of open roadway. It has changed very little since the heyday of Route 66, and provides a unique opportunity to experience the Mother Road as it was.
Something folks might not know: Route 66 was a major transportation corridor during WWII transporting troops and supplies to General George Patton’s Desert Training Center. Vestiges of the DTC remain along Route 66 in the Mojave Desert.
Route 66 has been celebrated through a television series, a Pixar animated film (CARS), neon signs, famous literature (The Grapes of Wrath) and music. “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66” has been recorded by over 100 artists, including Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Chuck Berry, Depeche Mode, and John Mayer.
What have you found invaluable that visitors should know before they go? Anything unexpected, surprising or interesting?
It is easy to follow Route 66 in San Bernardino County. Look for the blue and yellow “acorn” 66 signs between Needles and Victorville and road stencils along the roadway. You can follow Route 66 along Mt. Vernon Ave. in San Bernardino and then Foothill Blvd through Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga and Upland.
Take time to meet the people along the way. Route 66 is a “linear community” stretching 2,448 miles – 326 miles in California. The people along Route 66 make it special.
Did you know that the original McDonalds was located in San Bernardino?… the oldest winery in California was along Route 66? …the Sycamore Inn was a stagecoach stop dating back to 1848?
Tell us about some of your favorite dining, shopping, attractions, sightseeing, historic landmarks, places to stay, etc. in San Bernardino County, along Route 66?
- El Garces Harvey House in Needles
- Goff’s Schoolhouse in Goffs
- Iconic Roy’s Café sign in Amboy (featured in many advertisements) and the nearby Amboy Crater
- Casa del Desierto Harvey House in Barstow that houses the Mother Road Route 66 Museum and the Western America Railroad Museum
- California Route 66 Museum and Emma Jean’s Holland Burger in Victorville
- One of only 3 remaining Wigwam Motels in the entire United States – San Bernardino
- One of the last remaining giant orange juice stands that served parched travelers – Fontana
- Magic Lamp, Sycamore Inn and restored Richfield Station in Rancho Cucamonga
- Madonna of the Trails statue in Upland. Erected in 1929 by the Daughters of the American Revolution to honor the spirit of pioneer women (One of only 12 in the US)
Is time of year important when visiting San Bernardino County? What kinds of different experiences can visitors have depending on when they go?
Route 66 through the desert has very little traffic. Make sure that others are aware of your travel plans.
The desert section of Route 66 has a variety of outdoor activities: hiking, rock hounding, off-road vehicle paths, etc.
During most of the year, the weather is perfect for visiting Route 66 in San Bernardino County. Spring is pleasant and wildflowers abound along the desert section. Summer can be very hot – especially in the desert. Be prepared with lots of water. Fall is a wonderful time to travel.