Day 6: Sep. 15, 2005
Tourin' with Scott



Not everyone sleeping in Wigwam Village was inside a cement teepee. Parked here for the night was one of Sixty-Six's mobile icons: Bob Waldmire's 1972 Microbus.

Scott Piotrowski, who wrote Finding the End of the Mother Road, is probably the leading expert on Route 66's western end. Today, nine fortunate roadies got to listen as Scott described the landmarks and complex history of US-66 in Los Angeles County and Mike Ward handled the driving. Most of the time Scott pointed out sights and answered questions as we drove by but we were able to stop at several locations. The Sycamore Inn and the Azusa Foothill Drive-In Theater were the first two. The inn is quite safe and successful and new owners in 2002 should assure that for the foreseeable future. But the drive-in's situation is completely different. A September 19 vote by the Azusa City Council is expected to go against the theater and allow its demolition. The theater could be gone before I get home.

We stopped for lunch at the recently reopened Corky's. Not necessarily a major route landmark but a good place to eat.

Now, this, the Aztec Hotel in Monrovia, is a major landmark. Some major restoration is underway and George, the man in the yellow shirt, is responsible for much of it. A tour of the interior of the hotel, with Scott as the guide, was on the agenda but the tour got a surprise upgrade when George appeared to show us around himself. There are many murals in the hotel which George is restoring. Some original designs are used where restoring or reproducing existing murals is impossible. The hotel's bar, the Brass Elephant, is fully operational and that is where several belt powered ceiling fans are found.

We somehow got under the "Suicide Bridge" on Colorado Street to take some pictures of it and of the hotel that overlooks it. The name comes from the possibly exaggerated reports of people leaping off of the bridge during the Great Depression. In the last picture, Frank, Dave, Larry, Scott, and Mike are either scanning the bridge for jumpers or having a King of the Hill moment.

Another stop was at the Fair Oaks Pharmacy where Scott was first at the marble topped soda fountain. Some others followed his lead including me. The chocolate shake was great.

This area, near the end of the last Figueroa Street Tunnels, is what Scott calls "The Nest". The reason is that it provides a view where several phases of Route 66's passage can be seen - if you know where to look. Scott sure knows where and can point out plenty of details. Sadly, my ability to remember them is no match.

The day ended with a kick-off reception for the Rendezvous/Route 66 event. On the left is the ever smiling event mascot and that's Helen Baker on the right. I'm sure Helen keeps busy all the time and I have seen evidence of her recent activity in keeping the eGroup informed and enthused. In between she found time to send me the occasional email message with info like directions to Mrs. Orcutt's driveway and some insight on La Posada.

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