Route 66 and Los Angeles

Heading south again, through the desert and along the California-Nevada border, we entered the Mojave desert. The road follows hill tops and valleys, among barren fields, presenting a exhilarating driving experience and some of the best photo opportunities of a road trip.

The Road;America;California;Travel;USA

Route 127 south, from Deat Valley to Mojave Desert.

At Baker, we entered the Kelbaker road, crossing through the heart of the Mojave desert National Park. The temperature went down a bit, now around 110°F. Unlike the Death Valley, there is some vegetation here, mainly brittle bushes, creosote bushes and Joshua trees. In June, the brittle bushes bloom with yellow flowers, painting the desert yellow. We stopped at the Kelso dunes, the largest eolian sand deposits in the Mojave desert, about 120²km large and 200m high. We attempted a climb with Nikitas, while Chris stayed in the car with the air condition running – he show a snake warning sign and opted promptly out – but the soft sand combined with the heat made climbing quite difficult. We gave up after fifteen minutes and returned to car, now heading to Amboy to join the emblematic Route 66, America’s Mother Road.

 

Route 66
Entering route 66, near Amboy
Kelso Dunes
The Kelso sand dunes in the Mojave Desert.
Route 66
Route 66, westbound on the way to Amboy.

 

Our first stop was at Roy’s Motel and gas station, the archetypal middle-of-nowhere gas station. Roy Crawl opened the gas station in 1938 and progressively grew the business to employ 70 people out of the 700 that lived in Amboy. With the opening of I-40 in 1972, business dropped overnight to zero.

Roy's Motel Cafe;America;California;Route 66;Travel;USA

The famous Roy’s Motel Cafe on Route 66.

From that point on, we immersed deeper and deeper into the Route 66 saga, stopping by places like Bagdad Café – made famous by his namesake 1987 German movie – and Ludlow, a small ghost town that stills hosts a diner. Indeed, that’s where we had our long anticipated lunch, in a route 66 diner. The food was of course greasy, as expected and the crowd was made by local construction workers and passing travellers like us.

 

Old Chevy Truck
An old chevy truck in Ludlow along Route 66.
Ludlow Motel
Ludlow Motel on Route 66.
Ludlow
Abandoned gas station at Ludlow, on Route 66.
Flag Bench
A bench outsode the Ludlow Cafe.
Ludlow Cafe
Inside the Ludlow Cafe on Route 66.
Motel Henning
Motel Henning sign near Cafe Bagdad.
Gas Station
An old gas station on Route 66.
Motel Henning
Motel Henning sign near Cafe Bagdad.
Roy's Motel Cafe
The sign of Roy's Motel Cafe on route 66.
The Saloon
the saloon at the Calico ghsot town theme park.
Cafe Bagdad
The famous Cafe Bagdad on Route 66.
Happy Road Trippers
With the kids in Cafe Bagdad.
Cafe Bagdad
Inside Cafe Bagdad.
Gas Pump
One of the money abandonded gas stations along Route 66, near Newberry Springs.
Calico Ghsot Town
At the Calico ghsot town.

 

A few miles before Barstow, we took a detour to visit Calico town, a ghost town turned into a theme park with some well restored buildings. While the idea is good, the place screams touristy and we did not stay for long. After a night stopover in Barstow and some shopping in the local discount shopping malls, we continued along the National Trails Highway – the official name of the Californian part of Route 66 – stopping and going to get the max of our Route 66 experience.  

 

Mini Mart
Old gas station on Route 66.
Eastbound
A slow train, going east on the tracks along Route 66.
Iron Hog
At the Iron Hog along Route 66.
Iron Hog
The Iron Hog on Route 66.
Route 66
Route 66, near Barstow.
Mohawk
An old gas station on Route 66.
Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch
Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch, along Route 66.
Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch
Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch, along Route 66.
Route 66
An old house facade, along Route 66.
The Van
An old van on Route 66.
On Route 66
Chris and yours truly, outside memorabilia shops on Route 66.
California Beauty
A sweet girls working in a memorabilia shop on Route 66.
Ford Model T
One of the first model T, in the Route 66 museum.
Route 66 diner
A diner corner in the Route 66 museum.
The Letter Box
An old house on Route 66, near Barstow.

 

We took I-15 for the final approach to LA, arriving just before noon. I wanted to show the kids the two faces of America, so I drove straight to downtown, through the ‘homeless district’ close to 5th street and then headed straight to Hollywood Boulevard. The Avenue of the Stars is a crowded place with visitors and street artists filling every inch of the sidewalks near the Chinese and Dolby theaters, the landmarks of the Boulevard. There is a myriad of costumed characters from the Holywood movies, Jedis, Spider-mans, Super-mans, Ninja Turtles or Disney characters that solicit a photo opportunity for a few backs. It is very likely to watch Mini Mouse changing a 20 dollar bill with Batman.

We visited Santa Monica in the afternoon, to see the waves and crowds at the Santa Monica Pier and then lodged in a boutique hotel near Venice beach. The next morning we went to Rodeo Drive, to show my kids the tasteless, rich side of America. We spotted a yellow Rolls Royce, an aluminum painted Mercedes AMG and a fair number of Ferraris displaying shamelessly their owners new riches and bad taste. The dress style on the Drive screams I am rich but I ain’t got taste. Anyways, one hour, including some bad espresso was more than enough.

San Pedro St.
San Pedro st. in the heart of Los Angeles.
Avenue of the Satrs
Avenue of the Stars in Holywood.
Cool
A girl walking on Holywood Boulevard.
Plastic Beauty
A plastic doll, on top of a restaurant roof on Holywood Blvd.
Scientology
The scientology church on Holywood boulevard.
Wax Museum
The wax museum on Holywood Boulevard.
El Capitan
El Capitan movie theater on Holywood Boulevard.
Dancing in the Street
A street artist, dancing on Holywood Boulevard.
Independence Day
The Chinese Theater on Holywood Boulevard.
Guitar
A street artist, on Holywood Boulevard.
Graffiti
My boys on Holywood Boulevard.
Santa Monica Pier
The pier in Santa Monica.
Santa Monica Beach
The Santa Monica beach.
Santa Monica Beach
The Santa Monica beach.
Homeless
A homeless man, at the Santa Monica Pier.
LA Weird
A guy with some funny hair job in Santa Monica.
Black Ferrari
A black Ferrari parked on Rodeo Drive.
Rodeo Drive
Gucci on Rodeo Drive.
the Yellor Rolls
A yellow Rolls royce on Rodeo Drive.
Silver Mercedes
A silver painted Mercedes shining under the Californian sun on Rodeo Drive.

We got back in the car to go to the greatest freak show on earth, called Venice Beach. Here you see all kinds of freaks, hipsters, tourists and normal people blending together. They walk or roll along the promenade, shop in the hippie-style shops, play basket ball or take a dive at the sea. Add the crowds to the countless benches with hippies and artists selling their – usually crappy – thing and the resident stand-up comedy groups and you’ ve got the idea.

 

Venice Beach
Colors and graffiti along the beach walk in Venice Beach, California.
The Game
Playing street basket ball in Venice Beach.
Muscle Beach
A huge 2m tall guy diplaying his muscles in Venice beach open air gym area.
Rolling
Roller scating among the crowds in Venice Beach.
Venice Beach
Strange haricuts are mainstream in Venice Beach.
The Hipster
A guy with an impressive beard in Venice Beach.
Graffiti
Graffiti in Venice beach.
Scating
A girl scating in Venice Beach.
The Bench
Hanging out on a bech in Venice Beach.
Rolling
Rolling in Venice Beach.
Want Some?
Two of the local vendors/artists/beggars of the many found in Venice Beach.
Venice Beach
Walking in Venice Beach.
Tattoo
A girl going after potential customers in Venice Beach.
Pull Ups
A woman exercising in Venice Beach
Beauty
A local beauty posing outside the muscle beach gym in Venice Beach.
Homeless in LA
A homeless guy, taking a nap in Venice beach.

 

We spent only 24 hours in LA, just enough time to get some basic idea about this famous city. Los Angeles is America in a nutshell. A Rolls next to Gucci on Rodeo Drive alongside the myriad of homeless people on 5th street. The Hollywood tourist crowds, a few miles away from the hipsters in Venice Beach. I think that the contrast and diversity was a good food for thought to my children. Eight days and two thousand kilometers on the odometer in the great state of California made the best road trip I could imagine with my offsprings. We will probably come again.

Los Angeles

Bastrow

Amboy

Kelso Dunes

Ludlow

Newberry Springs

Italy

249/per night

Germany

219/per night

Spain

149/per night

Hungary

199/per night
explore
divi pixel travel layout pack
M

Main Pages

Homepage
About us
Our Services
Pricing & Plans
Testimonials

Locations

New York
Egypt
Germany
Los Angeles
Explore More
10% off on your first trip

Explore Ahead!

&
more Related Videos
Your Safety, Our Priority: Explore Our Travel Deals
Unwind Safely: Choose Our Travel Adventures
Journey Safely with Our Trusted Travel Deals