The trip home led me on the most convoluted route so far (on purpose, of course…). The original plan was to drive south to Kingman, Arizona and cross the desert on old Route 66, but this proved to be too much of a drive. I settled for hitting the “mother road” back at Barstow by way of Zzyzx Road and I-15. From there, I headed south through Victorville and across Cajon Pass to San Bernadino (site of the very first McDonald’s).
Route 66 runs across Foothill Boulevard, Alosta Avenue, and Huntington Drive as it winds its way through the “Inland Empire” toward Los Angeles. Unfortunately, a lot of what was once there has been replaced by strip mall nightmares, especially around Fontana and Cucamonga. There are still sights to be seen, however, including one of the original Wigwam Village Motels in Rialto.
In Rancho Cucamonga, a small sign caught my eye, directing me to the Route 66 Visitors Center (7965 Vineyard Avenue, off Foothill Blvd.), a museum and gift shop devoted to the road. Great place, and I spent a good half hour there poking around and talking to the “greeter”.
The next stop was LeRoy’s Restaurant in Monrovia. It’s been there since Route 66 was still the main highway, and still does a brisk local business. friendly, homey kind of place, with a counter (where I sat) and yet more waitresses who called me “honey” without fearing I might sue them for sexual harassment.
The drive through the north section of Los Angeles was daunting, but the scenery was good. It’s hard to trace a few original portions of the route, due to freeway construction. The alignment I followed was Mission Drive to Cesar Chavez Blvd. to Sunset Blvd. to Santa Monica Blvd. At this point, I left Route 66 for old Highway 101 (Ventura Blvd.) headed north. Eventually, I had to hit the freeway at the early end of rush hour. I was making better time on the surface road…
Before long, I was in the thrift store mecca of Ventura, also the headquarters site for Kinko’s. I’d spent time there before and didn’t feel the need to give it more than a half hour of my time.
Next stop was Santa Barbara, where I’d originally planned to stop for the night. I can’t adequately describe how much I hated this town. The place is nauseatingly cutesy and precious and white. There were no malls, except for a downtown which very much resembles one. The whole town was completely sanitized and reminiscent of Marin County. Nothing could have made me spend a night here.
Thus I continued on to San Luis Obispo, home of the Hearst Castle, the Madonna Inn, and Cal Poly. Definitely a little higher on the reality scale than Santa Barbara, although this was a most obvious college town. Since it was almost 10PM, and I’d been driving since 7AM, a stop was in order.
A beer or two was also in order, so I headed to the local queer bar, Breeze’s (11560 Los Osos Valley Road). Nice place, fairly generic music, and a couple of cute boys. I didn’t meet my first obsession. If anyone knows him, tell him to get in touch. I’m guessing age 25 or so, medium height and build, goatee, curly dark hair, and he won a T-shirt for knowing that ABC denied a lesbian cruise line the opportunity to advertise on “Ellen”. He drives a red car. I crave him.
I did, however, meet an off-duty DJ and fellow Mac supremacist named Glenn. He seemed a good person to pass last call with while sitting outside. I sat outside a lot; a city ordinance prohibits smoking inside bars in San Luis Obispo. I could never live there…