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The Gordons of Temecula decided to take advantage of some late fall weather in the Southwest, and check out some small stretches of historic Route 66 in neighboring Arizona....by way of Nevada!

Deciding to take the roads less travelled, we scooted from Temecula CA across the illustrious Hemet/San Jacinto valley into Beaumont Ca, where we picked up I-10 east towards Palm Springs, but detouring to Yucca Valley. Leaving on a Friday morning, this less direct route would accomplish 2 things; keep us off the super-slab through the "Inland Empire" with it's tight and fast workaday traffic, and a large volume of 18 wheeler traffic, but more importantly to provide more scenic and remote roads to scoot by.

Yucca Valley is the neighboring community, nearest to Joshua Tree, and of course the national park named for the same. Yucca Valley also boasts a small enclave called "Pioneertown", a dusty wide-spot in the road, built in the early days of motion pictures by some enterprising actors to rent back to their studios for filming many westerns so popular at that time. Pioneertown is indeed a worthy stop, but we've been there before (it's a day trip from where we live), and chose to bypass the road to Pioneertown, and pick up State Hwy 247, aka "Old Woman Springs Road" towards Lucerne Valley Ca., and beyond.

Hwy 247 is a lovely recently paved 2 laner, rolling past many desolate and remote homes, some "mobile", others just plain old and dusty and it also includes some long stretches without any signs of civilization. It is about 70 miles from Yucca Valley to Lucerne Valley....with just one overpriced gas-stop in Landers. Landers is a seismic zone and has been the epicenter to a fairly large earthquake, even by Southern California standards, sometime in the early '90's. The Landers quake!

The days ride was to head essentially south to north along this valley to Barstow Ca., picking up I-15 in order to stop in Baker Ca, home of the world's largest working thermometer...a stop in Zzyzx Ca., was in order, then back OFF the super-slab, and into the Mojave National Preserve south and east towards Searchlight, NV.

After stopping in Baker for a photo-op with the big thermometer, AND a dose of the MOST expensive (3.799/gal) and lowest quality fuel of the entire trip, we jumped back on the freeway, I-15 to Zzyzx Road, and Zzyzx, Ca http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zzyzx,_California...."just to say we've been to Zzyzx!"

And just to say we did, is about ALL one can say about Zzyzx....go there and see for yourself!

Zzyzx didn't take long, but we did encounter a couple of crazy golfers, in the midst of some personal tradition, hitting a copy-paper box full of balls into the wasteland off of Zzyzx Road. We spoke briefly with them....they SEEMED normal, they even offered us a cold beer, or "a Vodka drink" delivered out of the back of the Tahoe they had parked on the gravel shoulder. We declined the cocktails, but enjoyed the moment nonetheless. Back on I-15 to Cima Road, to re-cross the desert south and eastward, through a portion of the Mojave National Preserve. We had the park to ourselves, save for a few million Ocotillo trees, and a sign warning us to "Watch for Tortoise"....

Beautiful.

We enjoyed our ride through the preserve (not the entire preserve mind you...it's huge....hundreds of miles of roads) and kept eyes out for "Tortoise", but no luck. The sun was lowering and the scenery was splendid, and splendidly lit...had to make Searchlight NV....and hopefully a motel!

In case you haven't looked at the pictures already (I always go there first....since Kindegarten!) and haven't wondered about fuel....YES! we both carried a 1 gallon gascan, me under my seat, and Patty in her topcase....glad we did too. We only put .9/gal in each to minimize fumes and spills and that worked well....and that also gave us each 55~60 add'l miles of range. We needed the spare fuel 3 times each throughout the trip.

After making it through our portion of the preserve, we headed towards Nipton Ca on Starlight Mine Road, a gently undulating two laner taking us miles and miles past n-o-t-h-i-n-g but nature, and the sun and shadows dancing on the distant hills and vistas just like a painting. For these city-folks, it was amazing!

Rolling into Searchlight NV was....anti-climatic. A Terrible Herbst gas oasis, a couple of clean and modern looking greasy-spoons, and a sign advertising Laughlin NV a mere 30 miles or so away....hmmmm, tons of hotels and buffets, gambling, and Colorado Riverfront location a mere 30 miles away? Let's do it! We'd already clocked over 300 miles today but neither of us was opposed to 30 more. Sun beginning to set, we topped off the gas and hauled our keisters towards Laughlin.

Laughlin is at the river's edge...we had to exit US 95, and head down a lengthy but beautiful 10 mile pass through some very craggy and picturesque rock formations winding lower and lower into the river's valley, the water's edge and Laughlin on the NV side. Lights, big hotels, the "strip"....

For those of you who have not been here before (this was our first time) Laughlin is sort of a "Vegas Light" with a much slower, more westerny feel and they seem to cater to the AARP crowd, more seniors then juniors there. Pretty mellow, although each year in April Laughlin hosts a River Run for bikes of a different nature....bikes with 2 names, from Milwaukee. You know which ones Im referring to. The rest of year it's a "few" bikers, and a bunch of their grandparents! There is also an excellent and free vintage car/motorcycle/slot-machine museum there which we visited....highly recommended!

After spending the night in our really nice 62 dollar/12th floor room, we saddled up (the Vespas that is....we left our saddles at home in Temecula ) and crossed the Colorado River into Bullhead City AZ, and then headed south to pick-up old Route 66 near Oatman Arizona. The temperature at 8:30 am was perfectly pleasant, the fuel prices amazingly were quite a bit cheaper than in the Golden State, and thus far the pavement was fresh, smooth, and great to roll the scooters on!

The road off the Hwy....Route 66 seemed to get progressively narrower and narrower....but the scenic hills and horizon got increasingly more beautiful! We came across some old livery, un-molested, un-graffiti-ed, and "just sitting there". Go figure...really contrasts with our modern Vespas! Just a bit up the Route....we rolled into Oatman. Oatman boasts lots of wild Burros, milling about, blocking traffic, friending it up if you've been sucker-punched to buy a bag of carrots from a local store, and just laying around! In fact, the evidence of these Burros can be found on Old Route 66 for several miles into, and out of Oatman....very authentic. Even Disney couldn't outdo that detail. Oatman is a one street town, lined with weathered wooden buildings from the 1900's, some residences on the hills above Main street and of course lots of Burros and Touros (I just made that word up...it's Oatman-esque for Tourists!)

A quiet morning in Oatman....and more to see. We meet a man on a Harley, a recent transplant from Indiana to nearby Kingman AZ, who was telling/whining about the twisty road from Kingman to Oatman...."lots of tight turns and switchbacks....real slow going". "Which way did you say that was? Thataway?" Hmmm. We're there!

The piece of Route 66 between Oatman and Kingman was....well, "Designed for Vespa" best describes it! About 35 miles of the tight switchbacks and narrow passes through abandoned mines were (for me) the best riding of the entire trip! This stretch took us nearly 90 minutes, partially due to the driving requirements, and partially for photo stops. The evidence of wild Burro invasion was visible on the pavement, and in the sighting of wild Burros galloping just a few feet from the narrow roadway we were on! Spectacular.

As we climbed up and over away from Oatman, and towards Kingman, we could on a couple of occassions, look west (behind us) and see the Colorado River in the distance...

We had to share the Route briefly, with a convoy of modern, and varietal Corvettes headed west towards Oatman as we head east towards Kingman! They were friendly, giving us heartfelt waves and horn blurts as we passed oneanother....I felt they were as pleased to see 2 Vespas, as we were 30+ Corvettes. Really made for a Route 66 moment, in my opinion! This portion of Route 66 is known as the "Oatman Highway"...calling that portion a "Highway" is stretching it, but it is what it is....

If you've ever seen Pixar's "Cars", the scenery here and into Kingman is indeed the inspiration for those creative types, and I felt as though I was in the movie! We continued on this twisty, tight, I'm-glad-I-don't-have-to --shift segment of the route which suited the performance and size of our Vespas perfectly, until we reached the summit, and started to drop into another valley....winding our way towards the valley and Kingman, we see Cool Springs Station sitting there, all by itself on the edge of Route 66/Oatman Highway. Gotta stop! After an ice cream outta the top-load cooler, we rested, took a few pictures and continued on towards Kingman....boyhood home to actor Andy Devine and a major stop on Route 66 in life, and in song!

We needed to make some time towards home, and an ill pet, so we hit the interstate, I-40 in Kingman, for a high-speed (by Vespa standards anyway) blast back to Temecula, and an ill Doxie, Duke. I-40 in AZ boasts a 75 mph limit, which means sharing the road with 80, 85mph vehicles many of them Freightliners and Peterbilts. Breezy. Draft like a NASCAR driver or get blown off the road!

This was the least enjoyable segmant to say the least, but things calmed down once we crossed the stateline into California, and a more reasonable 70 mph limit, AND some CHiPpies on patrol.

Consuming fuel at a much higher rate by interstate, we stopped a couple times, including in Ludlow, not terribly far from that crapgas I got in Baker earlier, and the price and performance were the same....my bike didn't like this fuel any better than the Baker stuff, but thankfully we burned that swill quickly enough, needing another, and final fuel stop in Hesperia, before dropping down the Cajon Pass into our area...The Inland Empire at sundown! We typically don't do much night riding, but tonight we did, making it home to our ill (now better) mini Dachshund, our adult kids, and the warmth of our home and memories of a great taste of historic Route 66 as well.
On Hwy 62 heading towards Yucca Valley and away from the Palm Springs wind farms in the background. The San Jacinto mountains in the far, far background.
On Hwy 62 heading towards Yucca Valley and away from the Palm Springs wind farms in the background. The San Jacinto mountains in the far, far background.
Baker California. World's largest working thermometer....and crappiest, most expensive gasoline.  I'm just saying...
Baker California. World's largest working thermometer....and crappiest, most expensive gasoline. I'm just saying...
pointed south on Zzyzx Road.
pointed south on Zzyzx Road.
Must be a golf-thing which I "don't get".  But they were probably thinking..."those crazy moped riders....!"
Must be a golf-thing which I "don't get". But they were probably thinking..."those crazy moped riders....!"
Stopping outside the Mojave National Preserve....we enjoyed lotsa of miles which looked just like this.
Stopping outside the Mojave National Preserve....we enjoyed lotsa of miles which looked just like this.
After a brief stop for a picture and a purchase of an unlucky Lotto ticket in nearby Nipton, CA...we crossed the stateline in NV.  The afternoon was getting a little long in the tooth.
After a brief stop for a picture and a purchase of an unlucky Lotto ticket in nearby Nipton, CA...we crossed the stateline in NV. The afternoon was getting a little long in the tooth.
We stumbled into here, and for 62 bucks a night, got a nice upgraded room on the 12th floor. We parked our scooters RIGHT in front of the valet stall and had no worries whatsoever all night about them.
We stumbled into here, and for 62 bucks a night, got a nice upgraded room on the 12th floor. We parked our scooters RIGHT in front of the valet stall and had no worries whatsoever all night about them.
This exhibit from the free museum in Laughlin displays the bike, and other artifacts from a 10 year worldwide motorcycle journey by a man and wife...Emilio Scotto; Google it!
This exhibit from the free museum in Laughlin displays the bike, and other artifacts from a 10 year worldwide motorcycle journey by a man and wife...Emilio Scotto; Google it!
Hard to believe this WAS the way to get there from here back in the day....before they painted the logo on the pavement!
Hard to believe this WAS the way to get there from here back in the day....before they painted the logo on the pavement!
Route 66, just outside of Oatman AZ.  The hills in the background are real....NOT a painting!
Route 66, just outside of Oatman AZ. The hills in the background are real....NOT a painting!
Once upon a time....this WAS the fast way across country
Once upon a time....this WAS the fast way across country
Main Street, Oatman AZ
Main Street, Oatman AZ
Burros apparently don't have cell-phones....and this guy really monopolized the pay-phone!
Burros apparently don't have cell-phones....and this guy really monopolized the pay-phone!
"whadda ya mean you got no carrots? Hee-haw"
"whadda ya mean you got no carrots? Hee-haw"
A photo-stop on the Oatman Highway, and if you look real close in the background, you can see what is typical of the road between Oatman and Kingman
A photo-stop on the Oatman Highway, and if you look real close in the background, you can see what is typical of the road between Oatman and Kingman
"Cool Springs Station" 8275 Oatman Hwy, Kingman AZ. A blast from the past....and to me, looks like from the film "Cars"!
"Cool Springs Station" 8275 Oatman Hwy, Kingman AZ. A blast from the past....and to me, looks like from the film "Cars"!
A refreshing stop at Cool Springs Station!
A refreshing stop at Cool Springs Station!
Kingman....boyhood home to Actor Andy Devine who also played high-school football there.
Kingman....boyhood home to Actor Andy Devine who also played high-school football there.
His voice is probably better-known than his face....distinctive voice caused by a boyhood injury, but apparently helped his screen career!
His voice is probably better-known than his face....distinctive voice caused by a boyhood injury, but apparently helped his screen career!
I-40 at the Colorado River....not exactly home yet, but at least the speed limit dropped a bit and the incidence of paid speed-limit enforcers increased!
I-40 at the Colorado River....not exactly home yet, but at least the speed limit dropped a bit and the incidence of paid speed-limit enforcers increased!
⚠️ Last edited by gogogordy on UTC; edited 8 times
UTC

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UTC quote
Love that!

Thanks for posting it
@erich51 avatar
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GTS 250ie - SHINY YELLOW
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@erich51 avatar
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UTC quote
You two are awesome
Thank you for posting a great ride in photos. Hope to see you two around one of these days. Do you have a GPS system that gets you to your destinations? Or is it shit luck to you find yourself in such curiouse places?
@scootergirlinal avatar
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UTC quote
Great report and marvelous pictures!
@jess avatar
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Gorgeous pictures, great post! Thanks!
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Molto Verboso
Current: 1976 150 Sprint V Previous: VS5 GS 150, 1974 Rally 200, 2005 GT 200
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Molto Verboso
@cipote avatar
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UTC quote
fantastic photos and what a great ride.
@sergeibelski avatar
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Great job! Beautiful photos!

Sergei
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SawStop
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UTC quote
Really great ride report, Matt. I like the picture of the burro, it almost looks like he's smiling!
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UTC quote
Matt,

Awesome. After getting a taste of scooter touring this summer, my mind immediately went to Rt. 66 as a possible next route. It may be a year or two before I can get out and do this, but I think about it often.

This report just whets my appetite to get out and do this. Maybe I'll make it all the way to ABQ...

Thanks for sharing the story and pics!
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wow - love this thread!
What a fantastic write-up, Matt! I read it over and over, even before I got to the gorgeous and plentiful photos. Really and truly, for me, this ride report epitomizes the spirit of the forum: great detail, interesting route and destination and lots of "local color." And the photos are the icing on the cake. I especially loved the ones of Cool Springs Station and lovely Patty with the Historic Route 66 sign. Thank you for putting so much time into this post. You've inspired me and made me envious at the same time.
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
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UTC quote
Re: You two are awesome
erich51 wrote:
Thank you for posting a great ride in photos. Hope to see you two around one of these days. Do you have a GPS system that gets you to your destinations? Or is it shit luck to you find yourself in such curiouse places?
Thank you Erich51 and everyone else for the nice comments. It was our most epic ride....yet. We aren't done "scootin' the 'Route"!

To answer, no it wasn't "shit luck" or any other kind of luck that found us there...it was all by design and "YES" I have GPS, have been sporting one on my scooter for a long, long time. The route was planned in advance and went off without a hitch....except the I-40 part home, that was due to needing to make some time back to La Casa. Would have much preferred a more scenic and leisurely pace home but oh well.

For those of you not punished enough by the photos, here's a few more of my favorites from the trip, then I'll stop. I promise.



Have a Happy and Thankful Thanksgiving everyone....
Beautiful Nipton Ca., and the sign that suckered us into those lousy lotto tix! (and countless others I'm sure)
Beautiful Nipton Ca., and the sign that suckered us into those lousy lotto tix! (and countless others I'm sure)
The lack of traffic (humanity?) in Mojave National Preserve allowed me to clown around with my camera in a way I normally would not while scooting...
The lack of traffic (humanity?) in Mojave National Preserve allowed me to clown around with my camera in a way I normally would not while scooting...
This has to be Oatman. That's the Mayor's tractor!
This has to be Oatman. That's the Mayor's tractor!
Oatman, and the "Harley guy from Kingman" I mentioned...
(note to self: stay OFF the balcony of that building)
Oatman, and the "Harley guy from Kingman" I mentioned... (note to self: stay OFF the balcony of that building)
That rocky spire is known as "Elephant's Tooth" and is between Oatman and Kingman near the Cool Springs Station. That winding road IS Route 66.
That rocky spire is known as "Elephant's Tooth" and is between Oatman and Kingman near the Cool Springs Station. That winding road IS Route 66.
@pat avatar
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I leave the writing to you as you always do it so eloquently. Thanks for the write up and all the planning. Eyelashes emoticon

a most excellent ride.
@ericalm avatar
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UTC quote
mattgordon wrote:
External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text
That rocky spire is known as "Elephant's Tooth" and is between Oatman and Kingman near the Cool Springs Station. That winding road IS Route 66.
This, above all other words and pics, spoke to me and made me want to grab my gear, run out the back door, hop on and go. Nothing but miles and miles of road ahead.
@martys avatar
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'07 Avio Grey GTV250, '07 Buddy Italia 125, '10 Ducati Multi 1200S
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@martys avatar
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Location: Seattle, Washington
UTC quote
great ride report! did you save the tracks from your GPS? if so, can you post them? I'm hoping to do a southwest tour first half of next year, I'd love to hit Rt 66.

thanks a lot!
OP
@gogogordy avatar
UTC

Veni, Vidi, Posti
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
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UTC quote
martys wrote:
great ride report! did you save the tracks from your GPS? if so, can you post them? I'm hoping to do a southwest tour first half of next year, I'd love to hit Rt 66.

thanks a lot!
Tracks? No....if they are in my GPS....I don't know how to extract them. I'd be happy to send you the roads and hiways used...it's pretty easy.
@theoz avatar
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Pretty awesome I must say.

For a split second I thought that the thermometer was digital. Haaaaa.
@martys avatar
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@martys avatar
'07 Avio Grey GTV250, '07 Buddy Italia 125, '10 Ducati Multi 1200S
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UTC quote
mattgordon wrote:
martys wrote:
great ride report! did you save the tracks from your GPS? if so, can you post them? I'm hoping to do a southwest tour first half of next year, I'd love to hit Rt 66.

thanks a lot!
Tracks? No....if they are in my GPS....I don't know how to extract them. I'd be happy to send you the roads and hiways used...it's pretty easy.
PM sent. If you can't get the tracks out that's ok, but if you could do up a google map with the key roads that would be awesome.
⬆️    About 1 month elapsed    ⬇️
UTC

The Host with the Toast
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The Host with the Toast
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UTC quote
Very cool ride I did somthing like it this past April it was so nice, The wind farm in the picture is owned by my employer AES.
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Most Excellent Ride
Some day I hope to be able to take rides like this. Thank you for letting me be part of yours.
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