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DRIVE TRIP

Route 66 - Eastern California

262.3 miles: 5 hours, 7 minutes

The beautifully stark Mojave Desert serves as backdrop for most of this Route 66 journey through the Golden State. From the outskirts of metro Los Angeles to one-horse desert towns, you'll alternate between vintage two-lane sections of the Mother Road and modern highways I-15 and I-40. Now that you're hip, get set to take that California trip.

TRIP STOPS

1

San Bernardino to Barstow

79.8 miles: 1 hours, 43 minutes

Shutterstock.com/spirit of america

San Bernardino, the final locale name-checked in the song “Route 66,” kicks off the drive. Climbing into SoCal's high desert you'll drive busy I-15, then cruise two-lane National Trails Highway (formerly Route 66) before arriving in Barstow, which offers a handful of worthy attractions and some nifty Mother Road history.

2

Barstow to Ludlow

67.3 miles: 1 hours, 27 minutes

Shutterstock.com/Bradley Allen Murrell

A stone's throw from Barstow is Newberry Springs, a speck in the desert that attracts European tourists thanks to its starring role in the German cult film “Bagdad Café.” From here, Route 66 runs alongside I-40 to Ludlow, once a railroad boom town that today amounts to a pair of gas stations, a diner and a few ghost town buildings from the route's heyday.

Recommended Stops

3

Ludlow to Needles

115.1 miles: 1 hours, 57 minutes

Shutterstock.com/Sierralara

Leaving Ludlow, a lonely stretch of old 66 leads past an extinct cinder cone (Amboy Crater) to tiny Amboy, home to an iconic Route 66 café. The road proceeds to the north side of I-40, where the beautiful Mojave National Preserve warrants a detour. The drive ends in the city of Needles, which harbors a few roadside reminders of the Mother Road's golden age.

Recommended Stops

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