Route 66 in the Mojave Desert

Photo by Lara Hartley, Staff Photographer

Used car dealer looks back on
50 years of wheelin' and dealin'

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VICTORVILLE -- Pat Matlach didn't think he'd be here this long.

Foundation to promote Route 66 for state
FUNDRAISING: Museum hopes to create entity for preservation, maintenance of highway.

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VICTORVILLE -- This city will soon host a state organization that aims to preserve Route 66, stationed midway between the state line and the coast.

Business hopes to cash in on Route 66 funds
ECONOMY: Preservation act hits roadblock in the House.

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ORO GRANDE -- Mike "Doc" Michaels bought the historic building that once was home to the Lost Hawg Saloon, hoping to cash in on what he calls the resurgence of new businesses along Route 66.

He bought the property knowing a portion of a $10 million federal grant will be made available to businesses along the highway this year.

Musuem to breathe new life into old cars

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BARSTOW -- Here's an easy way to see how far technology has come since Route 66 received its numerical designation in 1926 -- lift up the hood of a car and compare what's inside to the inner workings of a 1926 Dodge touring sedan to be on display at Barstow's new Route 66 Museum.

The museum opens on the Fourth of July to breathe new life into the culture, cars, and collectibles of a bygone era. The car, donated by Barstow veterinarian Dr. B.V. Reddy, will be one of the first exhibits in what City Councilwoman Gloria Darling hopes will be a growing list.

A long ride for all the right reasons
ADVENTURE: Phoenix resident closing in on the finish of his Chicago to Santa Monica trek.

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BARSTOW -- Kenn Kemper's doctor told him to get some exercise after he recovered from bowel obstruction surgery, so he took up bike riding.

"I think I carried it to extremes," Kemper said.

The 64-year-old great-grandfather has been on the road -- the Mother Road -- since April 30 when he left Chicago for Santa Monica.

Riding a state-of-the-art eBike with electric power backup, donated by Lee Iacocca, Kemper is collecting stories of those he meets on Route 66 and is delivering a letter to the mayor of Santa Monica from the mayor of Chicago.

Photo by Lara Hartley, Staff Photographer

Still standing / A victim of last October's 7.1 earthquake was the Ludlow Mercantile building. The left front side collapsed in the tremor that struck in the early hours of Oct. 16. The owners of the structure built in 1908 won't level the building and it continues to be a well-visited site on Route 66, about 45 miles east of Barstow.

Don't fence him in
Dennis Caisber preserves the human resources of the East Mojave

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Yes, it was rude, but I had to ask: What’s it like to live 30 miles from nowhere?

“We are here,” replied Dennis Casebier, founder of the Goffs Historic Cultural Center six miles north of Interstate 40 and half an hour west of Needles.

“You are the one who lives far away.”

So it came as no surprise when, two seconds later, he admitted a fondness for “desert rats,” heirs to the original mountain men.

Going Down the Road

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For years, every time I drove by a sign for “Historic Route 66,” I’d ask myself, “Why do people care?” and “Why so many people?” and “Why so keenly?”
I think I know the answer.

Funding for Route 66 just down the road

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BARSTOW -- Route 66, "America's Main Street," is about to get help from Congress.

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