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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    SF Bay Area
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    809

    Default Getting my kicks...

    ... on Route 66. Planning a trip along the western half(ish) of Route 66 for October. As I do, I've already booked the hotels (yeah, I know).

    Anyway (and for what it is worth); the current state of the trip follows. Driver (me) looking for photo opportunities, navigator (Mrs. OldBlue) will be looking for yarn, fabric, artwork (Gallup is going to cost me dearly I fear)...:

    Day 1: Bay Area to Santa Monica. Just positioning at the end (or beginning, as one chooses to look at things) of 66. Staying in a hotel within walking distance of the Santa Monica pier. Will choose between I5 (boring, tired of it) and 101 (slower but more interesting and allows for lunch with friends in San Luis Obispo) later. Staying two nights so we can visit a part of Greater LA we're not that familiar with. (360 miles, 6 hours driving, 1 hour lunch/gas stop: 101 timing).

    Day 3: Santa Monica to Barstow. Long slow slog through LA, catching a few sights (Aztec Hotel, Cucamonga Richfield station, Wigwam Motel, Bono's Orange Juice stand, lunch at Mitla Cafe (inspiration for Taco Bell), Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch, etc. One night in Barstow; shooting neon that night. (150 miles, 5 hours drive time, 3 hours sightseeing/lunch).

    Day 4: Barstow to Lake Havasu (not ON Route 66 per se, but hotel options looked interesting). Mojave Desert, multiple photo-ops in Daggett, Newberry Springs, Ludlow, Amboy, Goffs, and Needles. Lunch in Needles. One night in Lake Havasu. (225 miles, 3 1/2 hours driving, 4 1/2 hours sightseeing.) Side note: a portion of old 66 in San Berdoo County is closed due to multiple (old/wooden) bridges needing to be repaired/replaced; been this way a few years now. Depending on whether that work progresses I MAY be able to add other sights on this leg.

    Day 5: Lake Havasu to Flagstaff. Entering the classic Route 66. Oatman, Cool Springs, Kingman, Hackberry, Seligman (lunch at Delgadillo's), Ash Fork, Williams. Three nights in Flagstaff (laundry stop). (250 miles, 5 hours drive time, 4 hours sightseeing/lunch).

    Day 8: Flagstaff to Gallup. Adding more natural history to 66 history. Twin Arrows, Two Guns, Meteor Crater, Winslow, Jackrabbit Trading Post, another Wigwam Motel, Petrified Forest NP (picnic lunch), a handful of trading posts on the AZ/NM border. Two nights in Gallup (full day spent hitting the various trading posts/art outlets). Staying at El Rancho (historic hotel). (220 miles, 4 hours drive time, 3 hours sightseeing/lunch).

    Day 10: Gallup to Tucumcari. A sprint across New Mexico. Have to hit Tucumcari well before sunset, as intend to shoot through sunset, blue hour, and into the night (may even get up early enough to repeat during morning blue hour, dawn). Lots and lots of vintage neon. Will hit sights as time permits on drive there. Staying at the Blue Swallow, an impeccably preserved 1940s motor court. (320 miles, 5 hour drive time, 2 hour lunch and sightseeing).

    From here we backtrack to Albuquerque and head north on an older alignment of Route 66 to Santa Fe, and return home through Monument Valley, Death Valley, Paso Robles. More on those legs in a subsequent post.

  2. #2

    Default

    Looks like a good pace. I traveled roughly that itinerary several times.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    809

    Default Second half

    Day 11: Tucumcari to Santa Fe. Backtrack on 66 to Albuquerque, then north to Santa Fe on older alignment of Route 66. Hit spots before Albuquerque we passed the prior day, including Montoya, Newkirk, Cuervo, Moriarty. Shoot a few things on old 66 in Albuquerque on the way to Old Town; stop there for lunch, shooting, and shopping. North up the Rio Grande Valley; stop for shots at Algodones and Kewa (Santo Domingo) Pueblo and/or trading post. Three nights in Santa Fe (laundry stop). (250 miles, 4 1/2hours drive time, 4 hours sightseeing/lunch). Various sightseeing in Santa Fe and surrounds the next two days.

    Day 14: Santa Fe to Monument Valley. Second longest driving day of the trip. Lunch at Twin Rocks Trading Post in Bluff Utah (where we have traded $$ for Navajo artwork in the past). Goosenecks of the San Juan. Arrive in Monument Valley (View Hotel; two nights) in time for shooting sunset shots from hotel balcony (just the lit buttes, not the actual sunset), moonrise from front plaza, Milky Way from side parking lot, then more star/butte shots from hotel balcony. Get up early the next morning to shoot sunrise over Merrick Butte from cabin area. Take all day guided tour. More shots that evening. (371 miles, 6+ hours drive time, 2 1/2 hours lunch/sightseeing.)

    Day 16: Monument Valley to Death Valley. Longest driving day of the trip. Covering territory we've been through before, so pretty much drive drive drive. Stop in St. George for lunch and gas. Check in to Furnace Creek Inn for two nights. Shoot Milky Way from valley floor. Get up early next morning to shoot sunrise hitting Zabriskie point. Shoot sand dunes area that evening. Spend some time in the pool/pool bar. (525 miles, 8 1/2 hours driving, one hour lunch stop).

    Day 18: Death Valley to Paso Robles. Breaking what could have been the final leg into two legs, after two semi-brutal driving days. Hit a winery or two upon arrival and/or before leaving the next day. (340 miles, 5 3/4 hours drive time, quick lunch on the way (Bakersfield?) or upon arrival.)

    Day 19: Sprint for home. Pack up Loki and head north to Concord; unload, collapse. (210 miles, 3 1/2 hours drive time, no stops).

    Day 20-200: post-process a few thousand shots to find maybe 100 decent ones.

    Technical note: those of you into taking pictures, even if only on your cellphone, and want to know when and where the Sun and Moon will be and what they are doing on any given date/time of day/location so you can pre-plan a shot should look into an app such as Photopills (my current favorite) or The Photographer's Emphemeris (which I also like and have used in the past).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,648

    Default

    This sounds like a winning plan, and a photographer's delight. I'm looking forward to seeing your photos when you've chosen some!

    If this were me, I'd be adding the Harvey House in Barstow to the list. I'd also make sure that I put the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe on a list of things to at least walk through. (To be sure, the last two times I've been through Santa Fe, I've wanted to do just that, but hubby always convinced me that I'd probably want more than just a walk through and that's all we had time for.)

    In 2011, my husband and I drove through Old Town in Albuquerque. Really interesting! ABQ and Santa Fe have been an alternative to Hollywood for filming lately, probably because of costs. You can run into filming crews in either one these days. In ABQ back then, we ate at Seasons, but in the bar area -- we were joined by a friend in ABQ. (He has since passed away.) He was the one that told us of the filming mecca that the two cities have been, a fact which has been published more recently. Another good place he loved was Little Anita's, which we didn't get a chance to try while we were there. We stayed at the Sandia Peak Inn, because of its proximity to both our friend and Seasons. It's a "2 star" but the room we took was huge, clean and really modern. Hard to believe that was 10 years ago, though.


    Donna

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    SF Bay Area
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    809

    Default We love Fred

    Thanks for the tips!

    Yeah, Casa del Desierto (The 'Harvey House'* in Barstow) is on the list (plan to hit it in the morning on the way out), as is El Garces in Needles later that same day. MAY pop in for a glance around La Posada in Winslow when we pass through... time permitting. Union Station in LA and the San Bernardino depot not currently making the cut, due to time constraints.

    Our hotel in Santa Fe IS La Fonda; we've been there before and you can't beat the location, history and atmosphere. First time there was more than 30 years ago, and it was just a stop for breakfast in the restaurant. I learned about breakfast burritos at that time, bought a New Mexican cooking book ('The Feast of Santa Fe') and have been making breakfast burritos (with homemade from-scratch sauce) for Christmas morning breakfast for the past 20 years or so. Last visit (stayed 4 nights) was in 2015 as part of a trip that started with the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, continued through Acoma, Canyon de Chelly, then Mesa Verde to Santa Fe for return flight out of Albuquerque.
    DSC_7307.jpg

    * For those following along at home: Fred Harvey began his empire by opening lunch rooms along railroad lines, most prominently the AT&SF. He then expanded into hotels. There is a linkage of sorts between Route 66 and Fred Harvey, as 66 follows the route of the AT&SF through much of the southwest. So many of the sights on the route are Harvey-linked properties. Along with the ones noted above, some of the others still existing on or close to the route (many have been torn down) are the El Tovar at the Grand Canyon, Furnace Creek in Death Valley (built by the Borax Company but now owned/operated by the successor company to Fred Harvey, Xanterra; and our stop in DV). For a fictional look at the early days of the company, see the Judy Garland musical, "The Harvey Girls".

    So while there is a positive linkage between the Fred Harvey properties and Route 66, there is a negative one as well. The mobilization brought about by the automobile, and long-distance routes such as Route 66 and others, led to a decline in train travel, and therefore a decline in the linked services such as those provided by the Harvey empire. A trip down 66 is a passage between the era of rail, and the era of car.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,103

    Default

    If you are ever in Kansas City, they have restored the Fred Harvey restaurant in Union Station. It's just a showpiece, the kitchen has not been restored.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    10,573

    Default A bunch of new attractions@!

    Quote Originally Posted by CalOldBlue View Post
    Day 4: Barstow to Lake Havasu (not ON Route 66 per se, but hotel options looked interesting). Mojave Desert, multiple photo-ops in Daggett, Newberry Springs, Ludlow, Amboy, Goffs, and Needles.
    Don, one of the must-stay places in this area is the 29 Palms Inn in Twentynine Palms, and although you have a busy schedule, I would certainly recommend it.

    Here are some brand new RTA maps covering the sections of Route 66 that you will be driving -- these were built to support the brand new Route 66 book we are publishing in August. These were built east to west -- but you can resolve that. And you can download and use these maps.

    Claremont to Santa Monica

    Needles to Claremont


    Ash Fork, Arizona to Needles

    Gallup NM to Ash Fork, AZ

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-30-2021 at 03:44 PM. Reason: well, that was a lame error -- Now fixed

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    SF Bay Area
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    809

    Default

    Thanks! Note: that last link appears to be a repeat of Ash Fork->Needles.

    -->Thanks for the note, I have edited the link to be the correct one.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-30-2021 at 03:45 PM. Reason: yep

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CalOldBlue View Post

    Day 14: Santa Fe to Monument Valley. Second longest driving day of the trip. Lunch at Twin Rocks Trading Post in Bluff Utah (where we have traded $$ for Navajo artwork in the past). Goosenecks of the San Juan. Arrive in Monument Valley (View Hotel; two nights) in time for shooting sunset shots from hotel balcony (just the lit buttes, not the actual sunset), moonrise from front plaza, Milky Way from side parking lot, then more star/butte shots from hotel balcony. Get up early the next morning to shoot sunrise over Merrick Butte from cabin area. Take all day guided tour. More shots that evening. (371 miles, 6+ hours drive time, 2 1/2 hours lunch/sightseeing.)

    Day 16: Monument Valley to Death Valley. Longest driving day of the trip. Covering territory we've been through before, so pretty much drive drive drive. Stop in St. George for lunch and gas. Check in to Furnace Creek Inn for two nights. Shoot Milky Way from valley floor. Get up early next morning to shoot sunrise hitting Zabriskie point. Shoot sand dunes area that evening. Spend some time in the pool/pool bar. (525 miles, 8 1/2 hours driving, one hour lunch stop).


    Technical note: those of you into taking pictures, even if only on your cellphone, and want to know when and where the Sun and Moon will be and what they are doing on any given date/time of day/location so you can pre-plan a shot should look into an app such as Photopills (my current favorite) or The Photographer's Emphemeris (which I also like and have used in the past).
    Sounds like an awesome trip! I have a couple of concerns I just want to make you aware of since you mention October but aren't giving specific dates.

    1. The Albuquerque Balloon Festival is from Oct. 2 to Oct. 10th this year and while we've never been we hear that people stay as far away as Santa Fe and there is a lot of traffic involved.

    2. Since we are going to be in a Dark Sky place for our anniversary in early October, I know that the new moon for Oct. 2021 is on October 6th and we plan to see the Milky Way. You will be in good locations for seeing the Milky Way. That said I don't know the dates of your Milky Way photo opportunities, but a full moon or near full will probably not make them possible. https://www.moongiant.com/calendar/october/2021/

    Utahtea

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    809

    Default

    Thanks; great input! A couple thoughts/input for those looking at this thread...

    We're not doing the balloon fiesta this trip, but you are right, traffic is a mess getting into the site in the morning (everybody wants to watch the 'Dawn Patrol' light up and launch, see picture above) and hotels book up early. When we did it six years ago we booked well in advance, and managed to snare some 'club' tickets (very very very hard to get) that let you enter a separate parking lot using a different route in, and private bathrooms (real, not portapotties: selling point for Mrs OldBlue). Well worth the price (of course, other's mileage may vary).

    Yeah, I've been tracking the moon issue using Photopills; I'm hoping that shots in MV will work as the moon is close to full, but comes up an hour after sunset in the East, and the Galactic Center will be on the Western Horizon. We'll see how that works, but I'm hoping the moonlight will light up the cliffs a bit without washing out the stars too much... at least as long as I'm shooting away from it. (Disclaimer; while I've been doing photography for 5-6 decades, I've never lived somewhere where astro-photography was an option so this will be a first for me.)

    Giving you a glimpse of my planning insanity, here is one page of the 31-tab Excel spreadsheet I'm using to plan various aspects of this trip. Every trip the spreadsheet gets more detailed. This is a screenshot of the SunAndMoon tab.

    SunAndMoon.jpg

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