08 Feb Route 66 Bicycle Tour – Oklahoma to California
This is the last video of the Route 66 route. What I’ve noticed is I shoot less and less as trips progress along. That’s why you’ll see that I have random moments captured on the bike and none that is off the bike.
This is certainly something I need to work on when I document my trips in the future. I should always be shooting as much as possible to capture footage that can help tell a richer story. Anyways, I’m not going to dwell on it all too much, just know that I acknowledge this fault and will take action to improving.
This video is the last of 3 videos and it captured the moments between Oklahoma to California. In Oklahoma, much of the riding paralleled the interstates, and we enjoyed relatively quiet riding for the most part. There were some hills, but nothing as bad as Missouri.
Most towns in Oklahoma seemed to be a shell of what they used to be. Pretty sad at times but understanding that most of the traffic funnels away into the interstate left many of these places abandoned. Only people like us who are seeking nostalgia frequent the area.
Unfortunately, when we rolled through, the towns always seemed to be in a slumber as we traveled quite earlier in the day and finished around 2-3PM everyday. It was just how our group operated. Leave early, come in early and just hang out at camp.
Leaving Oklahoma, we reached the town of Shamrock, Texas where we had one of the best steak dinners on the trip. The stay in town was a cool little motel with a Texas flag motif on the outside.
Texas introduced us to I-40 and a whole lot of headwinds. We had days in Texas where the wind was relentless, like riding into Amarillo. I pretty much gassed out at about 5 miles before camp. Fortunately, my partner had the sensibility to change the camping option to indoor cabins at the KOA.
It is in Adrian, Texas where we reached the midpoint of the trip. The very next day, we left Texas and rode into Tucumcari, New Mexico. The first half of the day was alright with some great riding on the interstate but towards the end, the headwind challenged up until we entered camp.
Leaving Tucumcari, we ended up staying in a town called Santa Rosa. The town featured an automotive museum, which some of our riders really enjoyed visiting. It reminded them of their childhoods and the cars that were part of it.
The day out of Santa Rosa was a damp and foggy one. This was part of the video montage. It was one of the days where the elevation profile seemed a lot more intimidating than it really was. As we dropped down into the valley and headed into Las Vegas, New Mexico (I know, another Las Vegas) the day cleared up and turned out very nice.
Santa Fe, New Mexico was a welcoming layover day as lots of our riders were looking forward to visiting the town for the first time. Everybody enjoyed walking around and exploring Santa Fe Plaza. Most people spent the day fixing up their bike for the last few weeks of the tour.
Leaving Santa Fe, we entered a really cool little town called Madrid. I believe they filmed scenes from the Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy movie, “Wild Hogs”. This took us across some really beautiful locations and into the mountains right outside of Albuquerque.
The group rode through Albuquerque without any issues and made it into an Indian casino right outside of the city. The weather turned cold as we traveled west into Grants, El Moro, and Gallup.
I was hit by a huge downpour in Gallup as I was riding into camp with another rider. We ducked out of the torrential rain in a gas station and waited the rain cell to pass. This led to freezing conditions overnight as temperatures dipped into the lower 30s.
The next day, riders were treated to a light dusting of snow as they crossed into Arizona. We ended up staying at a motel/cafe in a town called Chambers, Arizona. Having a warm stay helped rejuvenate everyone for one of the toughest riding conditions on this trip, through torrential rain and sleet.
We passed by the Petrified Forest National Park as onlookers stared at us with disbelief as we rolled into the Visitor’s Center. I tried to stay warm, but many of our riders couldn’t, so they opted to call the van for a lift into camp in Holbrook.
At Holbrook, the weather began to improve. We rested a day there before hitting the road again. We had an amazing stay at the Homolovi State Park right outside of Winslow, Arizona. Many of our riders strolled into town to recreate the famous Eagles song, “Taking it Easy”. They said that was the one thing they had to do on this trip and they did it.
From Winslow, we rode up to Flagstaff, Arizona. The elevation got higher and higher. The weather got cold, but not as cold as Gallup, New Mexico. We left Flagstaff and made it into Ash Fork. In hindsight, we should have stayed in Williams as Ash Fork didn’t really have anything to see and our campground was one of the worst ones with goat heads everywhere puncturing tires and sleeping pads.
I ended up sleeping in the van that night.
From Ash Fork, we took the scenic route away from I-40 for 2 days. Stopped in at the Grand Canyon Caverns and Grotto and then made it into Kingman, Arizona. We spent our last layover day in Kingman visiting Walmarts and stocking up for the home stretch.
Leaving Kingman was a climb over the Sitgreaves Pass and the old western town of Oatman, where they have daily gun fights and wild burros begging for food. From there, we cruised down into California and stayed in Needles.
Compared to the rest of the states, California was even more desolate! We had fewer options to stay and places to shop. We ended up staying at a gas station right before Essex. Luckily, the gas station owner was really cool about it. He let our riders use the bathroom overnight and stay in the lawn area where people typically stop and park their cars for a quick smoke.
We’ll take it given there wasn’t an alternative option!
From the gas station, we made our way into Ludlow, past Barstow to an oasis called Helendale where there’s a planned community in the middle of the desert. From Helendale, we rode in and out of Victorville and Hesperia down the Cajon Pass. This was where the video concludes.
We ended up in the town of Fontana before taking our time riding from Fontana to Santa Monica to conclude the Route 66.
I hope you had fun following me on my journey through my writing and video. Again, I wish I filmed more to give you a deeper understanding of our conditions, but live and learn.
If you have any questions about the route, please don’t hesitate. I would love to share with you some knowledge. I know I may have left a few things out, so having an open dialogue either in the comments, through my contact page, or an email would be helpful.
Here are the previous two posts on Route 66 if you missed it!
Michael AstlePosted at 18:39h, 01 September
How was the road from Oatman to Seligman, Arizona? Is it wide enough so cars can easily pass? Are there goat heads or other hazards? Any other tips?
Johnny LamPosted at 23:09h, 01 October
@Michael Astle – It’s not so bad and traffic is far and few between in backroads. Goat heads was an issue only at campgrounds. Bring plenty of water from Seligman to Kingman. Not a lot of services.