Day 15 on Route 66 — Rolling into Pasadena after museum visit

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(July 8, 2016) As we drove the crowded streets into Pasadena on Colorado Boulevard down old Route 66 we couldn't help but think this is the same route the famed Rose Bowl parade takes every year. The Rose parade has survived for more than a century, but Route 66 has been deceased for many years, even as nostalgia for the Mother Road has grown sharply as more people make it a summer "destination."

Bob Sparks, a volunteer in charge of the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville, Calif., on Thursday, told us that in his experience the popularity of the drive from Chicago to Santa Monica on the old highway replicating the route millions of motorists took from the Midwest to the West Coast from the late 1920s through the 1960s has never been higher. And especially among foreigners from such places as England, Australia, South Korea and France.

"I'd say about 60 percent of the people who visit us are from overseas," Sparks said. "They come in tours, especially on motorcycles. We just had group from South Korea yesterday."

The MotorwayAmerica road trip crew made up of editors Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman and their wives, Luci and Trudye, discovered in 15 days on the road how much the popularity of a Route 66 trip has grown by people outside the United States. For instance, we leapfrogged a group of about 15 motorcyclists who were from several countries as part of an organized tour group. We first met up with them in southern Illinois and again in Missouri and Oklahoma. On our 14th day out, we ran into a group from France at Amboy in the California desert.

Our 2,400 mile trek from Chicago on Route 66 will end today at the Santa Monica pier when we will officially reach the "end of the road." Thursday was a rather relaxing day as we took in a very nice Route 66 museum in Victorville and then followed the old route into Pasadena where we visited one of Route 66's most popular West Coast stops, the Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

We started the day at what we determined was our favorite breakfast restaurant — and we ate at a number of really good places — Molly Brown's Country Cafe in Victorville. The portions ere huge — we were warned by our waitress — and the food was delicious. There are four locations of the breakfast/lunch eatery in and around Victorville.

Then we drove a few miles to the California Route 66 Museum that features not only memorabilia from the old road, but the history of Victorville as well. You could pose in a 1966 Volkswagen bus from the flower child days and sit in a 1917 Model T or at a replica of a 1950s restaurant booth. Volunteers were more than happy to snap pictures for you.

Then we traveled the short distance into the Los Angeles metropolitan area, a few miles on the surprisingly scenic Cajon Pass, which remains much like it was 50 years ago driving on an actual section of the old highway.

We will finish up the rewarding trip today. The Biedermans will be home in Encino in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles and the Meachens will fly back to North Carolina on Saturday.

The MotorwayAmerica crew at the museum — from left, Jim and Luci Meachen and Trudye and Ted Biederman