There was a slower, simpler time before the Interstate decreased travel time

Though it was decomnissioned in 1985, parts of the highway can still be found streatching across the country. Make it a point to stop at the small towns and see if any events are going on!

Cities and Towns

Los Angeles

Today, Los Angeles is a sprawl of over-congested highways full of commuters traveling across the vast city, but there was a time when Route 66 shuttled road travelers in from their long journey or ushered them out of burgeoning LA toward the deserts out east. As the city built up around the Mother Road, much of it was left, just renamed.

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Barstow is another Route 66 town that takes pride in its heritage. There is still much of Old Route 66 to see in Barstow. The famous El Rancho Motel, built with railroad ties from the defunct Tonopah & Tidewater RR, and El Rancho Cafe are Mother Road landmarks.

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Bagdad was long a thriving town along the National Old Trails Road and the famous Route 66. It was bypassed by the opening of Interstate 40 to the north in 1973, and lost traveler's business and resident population. The Bagdad Café was located there and became the fictionalized setting of the motion picture called Bagdad Café.

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Needles was a major stop on the historic U.S. Route 66 highway from the 1920s through the 1960s. For immigrants from the Midwest Dust Bowl in the 1930s it was the first town that marked their arrival in California. Needles is a tourism and recreation center, a tradition going back for decades.

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Ghost Towns

Past Needles, old Route 66 diverges from I-40 and parallels the railroad tracks. Some folks call this the "ghost town" section, and with good reason. Little remains of Goffs, Essex, Danby and Summit.

Ghost Towns in California

The Golden State

California's Route 66 is a must see travel destination on your next vacation. A pathway to California's history, cultural diversity, geology, geography and architecture, Route 66 in California reflects a significant part of our Nations Heritage. The route was constructed in large part along the old Beale Wagon Road, which travelers used to get through New Mexico and Arizona to California during the Gold Rush and westward expansion.

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Escaping the Dust

For much of the early twentieth century, Route 66 was the way most people got to California. After its creation in 1926, it was the way west for migrants escaping the Dust Bowl, hoping to find work in California's fields and factories. California’s Route 66 became a highway of dreams. It crossed the dreaded Mojave Desert and overlooked the fertile valley of San Bernardino, gateway to Los Angeles and the Pacific. It became the stuff of legend and stories. For over a hundred years the old trails had been leading the way to California.

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