To many Route 66 enthusiasts the Mojave Desert stretch of the road represents nothing more than a desolate wasteland. This is in part because the traveler making his way along the old route today is confronted by long empty stretches of nothing. But what today's traveler sees as emptiness is often the site of a once booming community. While most of the towns along National Trails Highway are small and while much of what has been is no longer, there is still a tremendous amount history to be found.
It is perhaps due to the severe blow the highway towns endured when I-40 was opened that today we still have access to this information. When something that has touched the lives of enough people is lost, it gains a certain quality, it becomes precious. Had it lingered on, its existence would have been taken for granted and the stories in which we now delight may have been washed out into a sea of apathy.
Many people have labored long and hard to preserve the history and heritage of the Mojave stretch of Route 66. Here we can only offer a brief overview of what they have saved for us. What is most important to remember as you travel the route is that what 66 was, was people. Behind every building or ruin you encounter there was life; the lives of those who lived there, the lives of those who passed through, the lives of the people who have come searching before you, and now your life.
Needles to Victorville
Then and Now