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Capturing moments. Sharing adventures.

Los Angeles native. Tennessee transplant. 

Route 66: Day One

Route 66: Day One

Well, I finally put it together! A day by day guide of Route 66. Over the next couple weeks, expect the route, with approximate mileage, driving time, projected itinerary (of things we meant to stop at and sometimes couldn't, but maybe you can), and the approximate expenses for what I saved/recorded (I split some of the expenses with the person I was with, but I included the whole amount as if you were driving yourself). 

I also just drove into Los Angeles from Nashville, putting me on part of the route again, so I'll feature some of that trip as a bonus at the end of the post. Hope this helps anyone looking to travel Route 66 or just want to check out the trip! 

Day one was a long one... I packed the night before and morning of #typical so I was a little stressed about leaving on time. I almost convinced myself and Stephanie that we should leave later like around 8am. But that would throw off a lot of our plans and put us in the middle of Los Angeles traffic, and honestly, less sleep is worth more than sitting through that.

Our day one {projected} itinerary:

Approximate mileage: 399

Approximate driving time: 7.75 hours 

Approximate expenses: $106.54

  • Gas: $38.19 @ $2.859/gallon, 13.359g
  • Food: $5 at Randy's Donuts, $12.82 Bagdad Cafe
  • Stay: $50.53 at Economy Inn

See below for all details and photo journal...


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As mentioned, I woke up early at 5:25am. Packed the rest of the stuff. Loaded up the car — my neighbors had put a sign on my car that said "We'll miss you." :(  Said goodbye to my mom who was already in tears. Said goodbye to the dogs. Toby, the more attached one, jumped into my car with me and just sat on my lap. 

It felt like any other trip I've taken, so I didn't get too emotional about driving away. The reality of me moving wasn't super scary because I already had a ticket booked to come home for the holidays. And there just wasn't an option of things not working out. I'd be fine. I was really excited about this next chapter in my life. There just wasn't really any other way to look at it. Or else I may never have left.

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Santa Monica Pier was first. We got a picture with the "end of the trail" Route 66 sign — I'd visited Santa Monica Pier so many times before then but it was only researching this trip that I found out it was the end of Route 66, and there was a sign to mark it. 

It seemed appropriate to run around in the sand for a little bit and lay in it for the last time in awhile.

Dropping by my work, I said some last "See you soon's" to some of my early-bird co-workers/friends — It was 7:30am so, not surprisingly, not many people were there.


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Next stop: Randy's Donuts for breakfast. I meant to actually go to the Donut Hole, but we were hungry and Randy's was closer. Maybe it was a bad decision though — they had a USC sign covering the entire huge doughnut! Being a UCLA Alumnus, this seemed like a bad omen. It wasn't a total fail though — we nourished our bodies with a lot of sugar before embarking on our journey officially out of Los Angeles. But not very quickly. Because we did end up hitting traffic. Lots of traffic.


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The official Route 66 highway is on and off. Sometimes it'll blend into the main highway, or sometimes what's left of the road hasn't been maintained in a long time and is not worth driving on. There are signs guiding you to the route though if you should choose to take it.

We knew we were on Route 66 for sure when we saw a Route 66 Museum which ended up being closed...but still had a cool Mater car modeled after the "Cars" movie out in front.


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Onto Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch. I wrote about it here. Although I've visited this site a couple times, I felt like I was finding new things, and it was worth showing Stephanie.


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One of my favorite stops of the day was the Harvey House. Built in 1911 as a train depot and hotel, it showcased really cool architecture with old photographs on the wall of the rooms you stood in — including a dining room that had a round lunch table in it when the place had people coming and going. You were left in an empty room today though. Trains still passed through, but the buzz and the people that once inhabited the place were not to be found. The museums were closed the day we went, but someone who worked there — Macy — was super sweet and told us about the place while showing us around.

We played around on the old trains outside and watched the current ones go by for awhile before driving to our next stop: Bagdad Café.


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To this day, I have yet to watch the movie that gives the cafe it's fame. We pulled up right as a tour bus did. Once all the tourists (foreign tourists from I believe it was France!) left, the place was a lot more quiet. The people were so nice. The owner, Andrea, took a picture of us all together and when all the tourists were out and we had eaten our buffalo burgers she showed us the memorabilia on the wall and highlighted the flags on the walls from different countries that people have come from to visit.

Then onto Arizona! 


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We were going to stop at Pisgah Crater but Route 66 was really awful to drive on at that point (lots of bumps) so right when we decided to take the main highway we found out there was no direct exit to the crater. We saw it from a distance and that was enough for us.


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First stop in Arizona was the London Bridge. Funny that as soon as we got into Arizona from California there was water! I always think of Arizona as the desert, but it was a lot more green than California was. Not a super exciting place because most things were closed (it was 4:30pm). They close early I guess because they open early and it was hottt. We walked around and saw the bridge. Which was actually pretty neat. And then debated about riding a jet ski before deciding we needed some drinking water instead. 


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Then onto Oatman. By the time we got there the sun was setting. It was really beautiful to watch. But the Wild West town was pretty deserted and just the building facades made the town alive. It did kind of feel like you stepped back in time a bit to the Wild West. I'm sure when I come back I'll be able to feed the mules that roam the town during the day.


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My favorite part of the drive came next while we were en route to our final destination of the night in Kingman. There's a windy road that goes from Oatman to Kingman and it's a little narrow at times, BUT watching the sunset here was amazing. It was the first time I really felt like I was out of Los Angeles and on a big adventure. Winding through this mountain or hill or whatever it was we were on, puts you out in nature. I'd get so excited about the rabbits and the burros and cows and bats and deer we saw just living their normal lives and almost crossing in front of me. Loved seeing them. Kept praying I wouldn't accidentally run over anything. It was a slow go.

By the time we reached Kingman and our little motel room, I was deliriously tired. And it was only day one.

Stephanie is an awesome driving partner though. Our singing voices harmonize really well together especially when we can't hear ourselves because the music is turned up so loud and we're jamming out. We get especially pumped when T-Swift comes on — we go all out and then the next song comes on and it's just eh. #swifties 

So many people sent me their well wishes and it's just really cool to feel so much support and love. 

Overall, a great first day.


Bonus: Mohave Museum in Kingman, AZ

Kingman has some pretty fun things in it too that Steph and I didn't get a chance to check out. Matt and I, on my recent trip back to Los Angeles, were able to go to the Mohave Museum and explore the old train they have and some of the small exhibits. You get in free after 4pm (they close at 5pm).

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Route 66: Day Two

Route 66: Day Two

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The Sober Guide to Las Vegas