Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Route 66 - The State of California

Route 66 – The State of California
California dreaming has been on almost all of our minds at some time or other. Certainly the Beach Boys of the 60’s made it sound like the place to be, where all the action was.
That’s also what the folks in Oklahoma thought as they loaded up everything they owned on an old beat up pickup truck, hoping to leave the dust hole behind and head to the state of flowering trees and mountains, and majestic beauty, not to mention the allurement of the Pacific Ocean. Many never it made it that far, losing their lives along the way. Others crossed the barren and dry lands of New Mexico and Arizona, only to arrive in California, still a desert. Yet, there are those who made it. They found their pot of gold, and that enticement of the lucky few caused many Americans to head west…California or bust!
Many people associate California with being the place where technology speeds ahead, a land of many new innovative ideas, and many diverse ways of life. It’s also the place where movies are made because of it’s year round climate, lots of sunshine, and variety of terrain, let alone creative genius. As far as the terrain, take Mount Whitney, the second tallest mountain in the United States, is only 90 miles away from Death Valley, the lowest point in all of the Western Hemisphere.
Gold was discovered out here in 1848, and California became the 31st state in 1850 The capital of California is Sacramento. By 1962 it was the second most populated state in the union. It has also been a land of disastrous earthquakes, from 1906 when San Francisco was almost completely destroyed, to 1994, when 22,000 people were left homeless in Los Angeles.
There are a couple of scenic ways to traverse the length of California. The scenic coastline runs 1,264 miles along the ocean. The Pacific Crest Trail stretches 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada, with most of it being in California. With its vast terrain, recreational opportunities are wide open: surfing, kayaking, scuba diving, hiking and backpacking, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, fishing, golfing…the list is endless.
Route 66’s very purpose was to connect the roadways to the west from Lake Michigan, with California being the last state to conquer. After traveling 320 miles across this state, the Mother Road ends at the Santa Monica Pier, where the Pacific Ocean takes over from there. Crossing the Colorado River, the division between Arizona and California, was the clue that the end of America’s Main Street was ahead, even though there was another 100 miles of desert to cross. Passing through Needles, one of the hottest places on record, on up to Barstow, where things started getting a little more active because of the railroad passing through, down to San Bernardino, which sits in the largest county of the United States (from the Arizona state line to the beginning of Greater LA), you finally enter the gateway to the Southern California Coastline. At the Santa Monica Pier, you can walk off into the sunset, right into the ocean.
Another city of interest is Pasadena, known to us as home of the Rose Bowl. This city actually started having games, like foot races, burro races, tug of war, back in the 1890’s. They got the idea to have a parade, which soon became known as the Tournament of Roses, and then they decided to add a football game to the festivities in 1902…and the rest is history.
Disneyland was the destination of many vacationers that headed to California. Today there is also Disney California Adventure. Opening in June of 2012 is a new section called “Cars Land”, which is in part a recreated Hollywood when Walt Disney first moved out there in the 1920’s, and secondly it is designed with the 2006 movie “Cars” as it’s fashion plate. There are many characters and place in “Cars” stemming from Route 66 icons. I want to see the movie, and then I want to take my granddaughters to Disney California Adventure. I think it’s going to be a cool place!! Just another way to Get my Kicks on Route 66!!

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