Day 30 - The Road ends at Dan Rice.

The day has finally come. The final day of our "drive". We will arrive at the Pier today for sure. As we were packing the car, which, by the way I'm getting really good at by now, Kumar came up to us to chat. Kumar's family bought the San Bernardino Wigwam hotel about 7 years ago. He told us that the drive to the pier would take us about 5 hours. He was almost dead on. You have to remember that the distance was only about 70 miles but you have to take into consideration LA traffic and the fact that you are driving on city streets the whole way. Well, that and, you'll PROBABLY stop to take some photos, which we did, on occasion.

The first thing we did, as usual, was a bit of backtracking. We headed back a bit to the McDonalds Museum in San Bernadino. It sits on Route 66 at the location of the very first McDonalds. It is a mixture of McDonalds and Route 66 Memorabilia. Its a very low key, mostly unorganized and free.

Leaving San Bernardino you head into the Fontana, Claremont, Uplands area of Route 66. In this area they have really embraced their Route 66 heritage. Some would say that its because they have nothing else to talk about but no matter the reason, they show a lot of spirit for the road.

Fair Oaks Pharmacy is on a corner where the LA Route 66 took a turn at one point.  The exact path thru the LA area for Route 66 is NOT EASY to find or to follow and many other resources cover it better then we could here. Which leads you into a real interesting controversy concerning the exact end of the road in LA.

Nearly the most expensive gas of the trip except for the middle of the California desert.

As we approached the 405 we stopped at a gas station to use the bathroom. This was the first place that we had to ask for a key just to use a restroom. Definately a difference in "hospitality" than we saw on the rest of the trip.

We parked our car at the hotel and unloaded. We chose a nicer hotel then the ones we had been staying at for the rest of the trip and yet... it was the smallest room we had the whole trip, it was nearly the most expensive of the trip, with the exception of the room on Michigan Ave in Chicago, and it was the first hotel on the trip that wanted to charge us for internet access and parking. Even the Munger Moss in Lebenon Missouri had free wifi.

Back in Paris Springs, when we met Gary Turner, Gary made sure to tell us, and drill into us the importance of finding Dan Rice once we got to the Santa Monica Pier. Dan, and his wife Jessica, runs a t-shirt concessions stand on the end of Route 66 and you have no idea how loaded that statement is.

First of all to call what Dan does "running a t-shirt concession" is like discribing Bono as a "song writer". Dan sells t-shirts... YES, but Dan sells T-shirts of his own design and will gladly tell you the story of how a couple years ago, as he took a buddy of his down Route 66 that he tried to find just one t-shirt that was made in America. 

He couldn't.

Dan, in a nutshell decided to try his hand at going into business making Route 66 apparel that is all American made. In 8 days of "sales meetings" (driving the road and stopping in on the best establishments) he had enough pre-orders to launch a new business.

Secondly, to even call the pier the end of Route 66 you have to credit Dan Rice. Dan is responsible for making the city of Santa Monica even acknowlege that Route 66 was worth promoting anymore. When he petitioned to get a vendor cart on the pier selling Route 66 stuff, they turned him down and told him that Route 66 doesn't even exist anymore and it didn't even end at the pier.

Lets just say, Dan knows history, he knows politics, he knows federal regulations for defining a highway, and he is PASSIONATE about this old road. The city of Santa Monica now recognizes Route 66 BECAUSE of Dan Rice. Go Dan!!

I think we took about 90 minutes of Dan's time, way more than was fair at the end of a long weekend of "Preaching the Road" to passers by, but what a joy. I now know why Gary Turner was so emphatic about making sure we met Dan when we arived.

Dan and Jessica, if you are reading this please contact us and let us know. It was such a pleasure to meet you and talk. And one more thing Dan... "DO TOURS!!!"

If you ever get a chance to travel the road with Dan... DO IT! Dan went on and on telling us stories of the road, places to see, people to meet, facts to share. FACINATING guy. A trip down the road is totally incomplete without a visit with Dan. (oh, and buy a shirt... they're the highest quality and made in the USA.)

We walked away from Dan and Jessica feeling complete... feeling like we had really truly made it to the end. Tomorrow, we begin our drive home to the Bay Area.


« Day 29 - California has Wigwams too. | Main | Day 31 - America's Main Street. »

References (2)

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  • Response
    Dj Shinski
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    This bethfenwick blog has been updating and sharing best information about the road ends at dan rice keep it up. Best photography arrive at the pier today for sure with spirit for the road thank you.

Reader Comments (6)

Bono's Historic Orange... that's funny. Next time you drive Route 66, you should do it the other way and *start* with Dan... sounds like he was a wealth of interesting info that would have added to the experience.

Sunday, July 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Stennet

My favorite picture of all - THE KISS AT THE END OF THE TRAIL.

I will have to eat my words - it was a GREAT IDEA!
Better than Australia, better than Europe - who would believe it?
GOD HAS blessed American and ROUTE 66 is one of the Ways!

Monday, July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Fenwick

Great story, thanks for sharing your adventure.
I sought out your blog due to your guest appearance on the TWIP podcast.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Tom thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoy reading our adventure. We hope to get back "out on the road" where ever that might be soon.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 | Registered CommenterBeth Fenwick

Chris and Beth, I am truly humbled and yet I laughed out loud several times as I read your flattering words. With the cooperation of the city, I hope the tours you want me to do so badly will begin within the next 1-2 years. We need an actual storefront first, but if the city and the pier will give us that opportunity, we'll finally have a rallying point at the end from which to start and finish. It was truly a pleasure meeting and talking with you on the 27th...immediately after you left we were approached by Joe Frederick, a former Emmy winning news producer out of Philadelphia, who's now doing a documentary on the people of Route 66. With our win of "New Business of the Year 2010," the week before, he decided to include us in his film, so perhaps you brought a little positive vibe just before his arrival. It was a true pleasure, and I look forward to seeing you again some day here at the end of the trail. All my best and be well!

Your friend at the end,
Dan Rice, "66-to-Cali"

Saturday, July 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan Rice

Beth & Chris,
Just like Tom above, I also came to the blog after listening to the two of you on the recent TWIP episode. I read through all the entries and loved them all. What a terrific travel log! And I loved all of the photos and videos, I felt like I was along for the ride!

In a little over a week my family and I will be heading from Houston to Colorado for vacation, passing through Amarillo along the way. We will be stopping by the Cadillac Ranch and I will be sure to look for your inscriptions! :-)

Take care and thanks for sharing your adventure!

(and like many you ran into on your trip....a California transplant now living in Houston!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRichard

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