My dad and I have been on the road together for eight days and well over 2,000 miles.  We have had such a good time that we wish that Route 66 could just continue on into the sea and into a weird Alaskan version.  But this is it.   Our last day together will take us from Needles, California across the desert and into Santa Monica.  Then we’ll duck down into Irvine, where my brother lives, and spend the night.  My dad’s Mustang USA Road Trip will end there but mine will just keep going.  I have to get home somehow, I live in New York!

puppyknuckles-7-route66-3079We spent the night in the town of Needles, California.  It was a hot, dry welcome rest after the huge day we had previously; the Oatman Route 66 extension really wore us out.

puppyknuckles-7-route66-3081Did I mention it was hot?  That’s the Mohave for ya.

puppyknuckles-7-route66-3091After doing some wrong turns (but fun wrong turns) in the desert, we found the town of Amboy, the “ghost town that ain’t dead yet.”  Another story of I-40 decimation, but also another hopeful candidate for restoration.  Roy’s Motel has been there since 1939.

puppyknuckles-7-route66-3109The Mohave section of Route 66 is interesting.  It’s a lonely, sometimes rough alignment that undulates up and down with the terrain.  There is a complete lack of any kind of attempt to keep the road level across the dunes.  The construction crew was like: “It’s 110 degrees.  Hell no.  Pave it.”

puppyknuckles-7-route66-3117Movie buffs might remember the German film “Bagdad Cafe,” in which a German tourist gets a job at a weirdo desert cafe.  Well, this is it.

puppyknuckles-7-route66-3121When the movie was filmed here in the ’80s the cafe was called the Sidewinder, but has since been renamed to make the connection clear.  Jack Palance was here!

puppyknuckles-7-route66-3131“Boss Lady” Andree Pruett is more than happy to pose for pictures, take pictures, and suggest taking pictures at the Cafe.

puppyknuckles-7-route66-3124Of course, the jukebox at the Bagdad Cafe is weird.  Twisted Sister, Chaka Khan, and Paolo Manotovani.  About as electic as the characters in the film.

puppyknuckles-7-route66-3161Here was a place we didn’t know about until we saw it going past at 60 miles per hour.  Much braking and reversing ensued.  The Bottle Tree Ranch is in Oro Grande, and if the Cadillac Ranch was the “darndest thing” my dad ever saw, it’s my turn to say that now.

puppyknuckles-7-route66-3166The Bottle Tree Ranch was another one of those awesome Route 66 places you just wander into and don’t see another soul.  It was really cool.  Peaceful, actually.

puppyknuckles-7-route66-3137One of my dad’s early memories was being a kid and taking the train right past this very train station.  Originally known as the Casa del Desierto, this is a Harvey House station and a historical landmark.  These hotel/train stations are very interesting, and maybe someday it can be returned to its former glory.  For now, it’s an unstaffed Amtrak station.  There are also a couple of museums inside, including a “Mother Road” Route 66 exhibit, but it was too late in the day to check that out.  We had to hustle to get to Santa Monica by sundown.

puppyknuckles-7-route66-3168And we made it.  Barely!  We pulled into a parking lot and ran over to the coast, looking for some kind of official sign or end to the Route 66 road.

puppyknuckles-7-route66-3226It turns out that the photo-op end to Route 66 is actually only accessible by foot, down the Santa Monica pier.

burnett route 66And here we are, looking like we just drove 8 days straight.  It was worth it.  I wish we had even more time to do it, and hit every page in the guide book.  Until next time.

puppyknuckles-7-route66-3200The weather was perfect, the drive was great, and we celebrated a bit on the pier.  But like I said before, this journey is far from over.  Next, my brother will join me for a drive north into the mountains of California, then to the coast for some Highway One action up to San Francisco.  Stay tuned!


From New York To LA, And Back Again: A Mustang Road Trip

This July, I am going to drive from my home in Brooklyn, New York, to Los Angeles and back again.  It's just something I've always wanted to do.  It's a…

Mustang USA Part One: Into The Land Of Lincoln

It has begun.  The drive from the east coast (Brooklyn, to be exact) to the west coast (California, then up to the top of Idaho) and back again, in this…

Mustang USA Part Two: In Search Of Levi

In part one of the Mustang USA road trip, I drove straight from Brooklyn to Chicago to pick up papa Burnett and we headed down Route 66 in search of fun and/or…

Mustang USA Part Three: Crossing The Midpoint

After my dad and I took a detour into Kansas and found the gravesite of our civil war fightin’ ancestors, we again cracked open our Route 66 guidebook and realized we had a…

Mustang USA Part Four: Getting High In Albuquerque

The Route 66 journey has hit high gear as my dad and I cruise into New Mexico.  After crossing the midpoint in Adrian, Texas it’s getting hotter, weirder and better…

Mustang USA Part Five: Standin’ On The Corner Of Holiday Road

In part five of the Route 66 journey, my dad and I were kicking up dust out of Texas and gobbling up Americana in the New Mexico desert like it was…

Mustang USA Part Six: Rust, Dust, And Spectacular Route 66

Following an incredible drive from Sedona into Flagstaff the previous evening, I feared that we had perhaps had reached the zenith of our trip.  Can it get better than a spectacular winding…

Mustang USA Part 8: Cruising The Pacific Coast Highway

Hey, here’s a fact for ya: California is really far away from New York City.  It’s easy to forget this.   Anyone can chug a margarita (or four) at Sammy Hagar’s restaurant in JFK, pass…

Mustang USA Part Nine: Wine Country To Mendocino

If you’ve been following the Mustang USA narrative, you’ll know that I wrapped up the Route 66 drive with my Dad and now a whole new Puppyknuckles crew has assembled…

Mustang USA Part Ten: From The Redwoods To Crater Lake

It might be borderline offensive to reveal this to those of you who are reading this at work, or facing the prospect of work, or aren’t near a bed, but upon…

Mustang USA Part Eleven: Rattlesnake Grade, Heading For Zootown

Part eleven?  Yes, friends, we are up to part eleven on the coast to coast Mustang USA road trip and Margo and I are still trying to get our asses…

Mustang USA Part Twelve: Yellowstone And Bluegrass

Welcome back to the absolute best dang road trip blog featuring a Ford Mustang you’re going to read all day, I presume.  Time to get into some real cowboy country, and that means…

Mustang USA Part 13: The Badlands And Beyond

Driving with my mom through Wyoming in part 12 of Mustang USA was pure entertainment.  It was like watching a prize fight between Yellowstone and the rest of the cowboy state for the title of…

Mustang USA Part 14: Racing Back To Brooklyn

Welcome to the final chapter of Mustang USA.  If you’ve been reading all 13 entries prior to this (get a job), you’ll know that nearly all of the 8,000+ miles…

1 comment

  1. Hey there, a road trip with a Ford Mustang has been on my bucket list forever, inspired by love of travel, love of cars and my late dad’s first car was a ’67. Finally going to take the plunge and now mapping my route.

    You said in a previous post that you came with an iPhone and your dad had a pile of guidebooks. Did you find any of them useful, and if yes which ones? Thanks! 🙂

    Stoked to find your write-ups and photos, really inspiring and beautiful! 😀

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