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My 2009 summer road trip, Day 1 and 2


My summer road trip for 2009 has me heading to Wisconsin for my 20 year Peace Corps reunion. On the way there and back, I'll do some road exploration and other research and fun stuff. below is the entry for my first two days.

Summer 2009 road trip

Day 1, Friday 26 Jun

I started out from Escondido in the afternoon, and headed first for the Cajon Pass north of San Bernardino. I've traveled down 66 in California many times, but my goad on this trip was to follow the National Old Trails Road as much as possible. I'm primarily using 1915 and 1926 maps. I'd noted most of the things in this area before, such as the old alignment north of Swarthout Canyon Road, but noticed some new things as well. I saw what looked like a road and bridge culvert closer to the RR that I had not seen before.

I also tried driving the dirt road north of Cajon Junction again, but did not really see anything but the road I was on. I'll have to examine aerial photos and record the GPS locations for a future visit. The aerials just seem to show faint, wide traces, but nothing like a real road.

I tried driving to Hesperia along the path of the 1915 highway, but it did not show in maps, so I'll have to look at those aerials too. It may be Tower Road into Hesperia... not sure. I did manage to take Hesperia Blvd north from Hesperia to Victorville, which was the 1915 route.

In Victorville I ate a tin can tourist dinner at a park and watched a slow pitch softball game. In Victorville I had a choice between the main NOTR along the path of Route 66 through Oro Grande and Helendale, or the older alternate route shown on the 1915 map. This was the Stoddard Well Road alignment, and I decided to take it since the weather was good for this road. As I followed the highway to the start of Stoddard Well Road, I notice a very old steel arch truss bridge crossing the Mojave River. This was obviously used as the main bridge and road north of Barstow at one time. Stoddard Well Road starts out paved, but after a while becomes bad asphalt then quickly a graded dirt road. It's dirt almost the entire way to Hwy 247. I camped the night in the creosote desert right at Stoddard Well.

Day 2, Sat 27 Jun

I can't see the section of Stoddard Well Road that went from Hwy 247 to Daggett in aerial photos. It does show a road this way on the 1915 map. So I just went north to Barstow. The NOTR in Barstow seems to have gone north on 6th street (from Main) to Hutchinson St, then west to 1st Ave. It crossed over the RR to the Harvey House and depot, then followed Riverside Drive east.

I followed the NOTR from Daggett along the north side of the RR to Minneola as shown on both 1915 and 1926 maps. Part of this was dirt track. It was likely US 66 for a little while also I suspect.

I had a lot of fun discovering stuff in Newberry Springs. I couldn't figure it all out at first, but both the maps showed the old highway veering southeast along the mountain, then northwest, bypassing the springs and dry lake. Using my GPS I drove the whole route with only a few minor detours. I found remnants of what was once an asphalted one lane highway. Much of it is now quite rough, probably more like the 1915 experience. I backtracked to have a shake at the Bagdad Cafe and to let my hot truck cool a bit. There was a French speaking family there. It's very popular with Europeans because of the movie.

The east track of the NOTR route is called Central Rd, and I suspect is crossed 66 and I-40 to approach Hector siding. I do  see a track the whole way to the Lavic area. I definitely saw that the 1915 road curved down closer to Lavic siding. I followed that road and though it was very rough and narrow, I could tell it was paved in some way. I found more obvious traces of paving farther east.

In Amboy, both maps showed the NOTR bending east immediately north of the rail line. The old highway continued east until finally a track even older than the 1915 NOTR bent southeast to Cadiz (shown as "Old Road" on 1915 map). I found a one lane paved track lining up with Dever Rd in Amboy. I think this track which is hard to see from Route 66 was the NOTR and perhaps even early 66. The 1926 map shows a cemetery north of the highway, and there is an old cemetery on the north side of Dever Road in Amboy. The "old Road" clearly comes off the NOTR in both maps. I did find it, but it comes of this Dever Alignment, not Route 66. The road is also paved for much of the way, and eventually merges with 66 at a very acute angle.

I like the new Route 66 kiosk in the old rest area east of Cadiz Summit.

From Essex, I decided I needed to get closer to Wisconsin for my Peace Corps reunion (20 years). I was also a bit tired of the 100+ degree weather frankly. I drove east on I-40 to Flagstaff, and am staying in a room in an international hostel. It's always fun to see all the foreign travelers. The internet connection is very slow, and I'm tired, so I'll post some photos later.



NOTR at Swarthout Canyon Rd. Route 66 is above.

Culvert bridge near rail line. There are two odd berms down there. They might have been road or older rail lines.

Arch truss bridge on Mineral Rd leading to Stoddard Wells Rd.

Campsite at Stoddard Wells.


"Old National Trails Road" on the south side of Newberry Springs. Note the paving.

Center Road is National Old Trails Rd on the east side of Newberry Springs. Again note paving.

1915 NOTR heading southeast in the general direction of Lavic Siding. This is between Newberry Springs and Ludlow.

My 1915 and 1926 maps showed NOTR immediately north of the RR east of Ludlow, CA. Sure enough, I found this "paved" section running north of the tracks.

A section of the "Dever Alignment" of the NOTR heading east from Amboy toward the Marble Mtns.

Just a note to say I stood on the corner in Winslow, AZ, and now I'm in Holbrook.


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