Tag Archives: RVtravel

Vanishing Historical Route 66

cover back-cover


Vanishing Historical Route 66! The pictorial book with 904 color photos from the ‘Mother Road’ has been released. Starting in Chicago and ending at the Santa Monica Pier with 3,000 miles of adventure and nostalgia along the various routes of Highway 66.

I’m so excited to have completed this trip and had the opportunity to capture the Historical Route 66 in film to share. From 1926 to 2016 Route 66 has faithfully served the imagination of Americans and inspired TV Shows and movies. This piece of Americana is not to be missed. But be quick! Route 66 is vanishing before our very eyes. Both paperback and Kindle version in full color!

Route 66 celebrates 90 years of providing America with travel from Chicago to Los Angeles in 2016. Much of nostalgic sights along the route have disappeared and many more are in danger of deterioration. There are many communities across the 8 states that have embraced the spirit of the Historical Route 66. Within these communities there is an American pride that cannot be hidden. The photos I’ve taken along the way are provided to help maintain for future travelers what is here in 2016. I only wish I had taken this trip a decade ago to catch the fever and spirit of what is becoming a Forgotten Historical Route 66. Enjoy the photo journal as I pass through the ‘Mother Road’.

Walk in Confidence – The Paula Coffer Story


   Click image to order paperback book

Available on Amazon in kindle format: Walk in Confidence

Never a victim, always a winner.

BE HERE NOW! Live in just this moment, this day. When you walk out the door don’t look for acceptance, take for granted that you are accepted. Don’t live in a world where you are looking at a timeline that appears impossible. Live in the moment and relish, with gratitude, what you do have and recognize how far you have come. Make plans today for tomorrow but live in the today. Make your life now.

 Life is a series of journeys that take each of down separate paths. Sometimes the path intersects and sometimes it doesn’t. Regardless we must each own our own journey and make a positive difference in this world.

 This is Paula’s journey and the many paths she has traveled to succeed in making this life a positive experience.

 Be strong, be confident, be genuine

I served in Vietnam with the US Navy and retired from the US Army as a Finance Officer. I am traveling the US in a Motorhome towing a Jeep/Kayak and bicycle. I am an author maintaining a travel blog (paulacoffer.com) and have just published a trilogy of books called ‘Afghan Journals’ that are my daily journals while working with the DOD and DOS in Kabul, Afghanistan from 2011 – 2014. I am a parent of 4 adult children that I travel to see often. I transitioned in 1996 and have worked in multiple professions that include being a College Professor, Federal Examiner for NCUA, Anti-Money Laundering Revenue Agent with the IRS, Finance Director at Job Corps and as a Mentor/Advisor to the Ministry of Interior, Afghanistan. As a Soldier I was in the Finance Corps and served in Texas, Germany, Indiana, Korea, Baltimore/Wash DC and DFAS-IN. My hobbies are bicycling, Kayaking, Hiking, traveling, grilling and having fun with friends and family. My life story is published in a book ‘Walk in Confidence”.


Forgotten Historical Route 66 May 18, 2016 END OF JOURNEY

May 18, 2016

When I departed Ludlow, CA this morning I had no idea that my Route 66 journey would end today. I would never have been able to make this trip without the superb guidance provided in Jerry McClanahan’s book ‘EZ 66’ Route 66 Guide for Travelers 4th Edition. When I started this journey I had downloaded a couple of Route 66 guides in Kindle version and pdf versions. While these books provided the cities to pass through and a little of the path, nothing I had provided a turn by turn guide like the ‘EZ 66’ book has provided me. I would have been lost so many more times than I was. Yep, I turned around more than once to catch the correct Route 66. A lesson I’ve learned is that traveling solo isn’t the greatest way to do something like Route 66. It would have been nice to have someone to share this fantastic adventure with but a navigator or another set of eyes on the map, the guide and the road would have been helpful too.

So I leave Ludlow and ‘go west young man, go west’ take off into the morning mist. Visible for quite some way is the Amboy Crater and there are National Landmarks from the Dept. of the Interior along the way. The lava flow even extends across Route 66 at points.

Next stop was Newberry Springs and the Bagdad Café. I want you to know that I exercised great restraint and refrained from getting their t-shirt.

The Bagdad Café of movie fame had a large group of European motorcyclist departing as I arrived.






In Daggett I took a side street to get a photo of the Desert Market and the 1880’s garage.



When I reached the Marine Corps Logistics Base I almost continued on Route 66 as I am a retired military officer. But I kept to the security aspect of ‘not necessary’ for me to travel through when I can take a quick detour to the other end of the base.

Barstow is next on the route. I don’t know what the pit is for but this whole thing looked like it should be photographed.


I just love the 3D effect of this wall mural.

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I just don’t know what this is but it looked old so I took a picture. Just more junk beside the road – er I mean more oddities beside the road.

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As I’m traveling between Barstow and Helendale I found this sign. Don’t know what the company does but that’s a catchy name!

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Just west of town is all that is left of a Polly gas station.


Oro Grande obviously hosts many bikers.

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An odd sight caught my eye as I looked across the terrain. Up on top of the rise was a group of planes. A graveyard of sorts?

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There was a whole little community all closed up. I hope that some of these attractions become lively and profitable for their owners as summer draws near.

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A majestic 1930 ‘Modified Baltimore Truss’ bridge carries Route 66 over the Mojave River.


Victorville, CA is next up with a route 66 museum. Or at least I thought there was a museum on D street between 5th and 6th streets. But I guess I missed it – not having a navigator and me having to watch the road!

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Springtime is an awesome time in the desert. Look at this blooming Yucca.

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On the old road near Cajon Summit there were lots of old vintage Route. Notice on the side of the traveled road the unused ‘Eastbound’ Route 66 lanes.


In San Bernardino Route 66 isn’t just an American celebrated ‘Mother Road’.

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From this point on the towns just blur together as a continuously populated area. I tried to catch some of the signs and some of the features peculiar to the area where I could. But traffic was flowing and I’m in an RV towing a Jeep!

Rialto provided another WigWam motel. This franchise didn’t have the old cars and trucks like the last one I photographed.



I needed to pull over for a moment and discovered a ‘Mans Cave’ store across the street!

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Some of the different Route 66 markers.

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I missed the trail head and turned around in this parking lot.


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Foothill Blvd is Route 66 for miles.

In Upland is the ‘Madonna of the Trail’ statue.

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There are hundreds of Lilac Trees that help overcome the stench of the ever present smog.


Just a random photo I took of a pristine old (I think) Ford Ranchero.


Signs are about the only way you can tell you’ve gone from one city to the next.

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The remnants of a Drive-In movie theater. I wonder how many are left in the nation?

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Santa Monica Blvd

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If you look hard (while driving in traffic) you can spot the Route 66 signs.

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A music store with lots of neon lights.


I must be in Hollywood.

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I think maybe it’s West Hollywood. These PRIDE signs were on every pole

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I couldn’t but think of Libby and Alexis when I saw this sign. Now they can come to LA from Seattle to visit the wizards. In fact this area reminded me of Capitol Hill in Seattle with all the rainbow sidewalks and flags.

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I kept looking for the old truck Jed Clampett drove with Granny, Eli May and Jethro.

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Rodeo Drive! Get out your pocket books and buy a souvenir.


The infamous Betty Ford Clinic.

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Nice Murals

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The end is here. Olympic and Lincoln Street is the official end of Route 66 in Santa Monica, CA.

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But I had to go to the Santa Monica Pier before heading up the Pacific Coast Highway. Too bad the streets are crowded and no place for me to park.

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Now I’m off on another adventure! The PCH – Pacific Coast Highway.

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Forgotten Historical Route 66 – May 17, 2016

May 17, 2016

Route 66 here I am again. Beginning in Flagstaff I had to make choices about which route I would be taking. Just outside of Flagstaff was the opportunity to take a recommended scenic route but I chose to bypass this option as it included a gravel road. So got onto I-40 until exit 178, Parks, AZ. At exit 171 I had to rejoin I-40 to avoid another gravel section. At exit 165 on I-40 I again picked up the trail for Rte 66 to head into Williams. The main attraction here is the Grand Canyon Railway. I just kept moving through for the 4 miles that constitutes Williams to rejoin I-40. I escaped I-40 again at exit 146 to enter Ash Fork, AZ. 

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For Tina and Cheryl here are a couple of motorcycles.


This is a 1958 Desoto perched on the roof of an old gas station.

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A nice historical rendition of Ash Fork.


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Remember me mentioning the Burma Shave road signs a few states back? Well I had a chance to capture this series for you as I was nearing Seligman, AZ.

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I had no idea that I would run into a Route 66 town! The entire town of Seligman, AZ. It seems that this is a stopover point for tours of Europeans going from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. I saw lots of tour buses and rented vans. Seligman is also one of the end points for 159 miles of uninterrupted Route 66 driving pleasure.

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Many of these stores could also be billed as museums. But then that has been the case for my entire trip of Route 66 so far.

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As I was talking with the ladies at the counter in this shop they told me about the European visitors and advised that I take a walk to the back of their shop.






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It was near lunch time and my guide book mentioned the Snow Cap so I wanted to eat a typical Route 66 road lunch there. As I walked in the guy that was driving this car below tells me that he is on break and will be with me in 10 minutes. I tell him no problem, I’m retired. He took my order anyway. He asked me if I wanted cheese on my cheeseburger. I told him that we might as well. He picks up the mustard squirt container and asks what else I wanted on the burger. I told him the works and he squirts a string out of the mustard container at me. I had read that the original owner was famous for his pranks on customers with comments like slightly used napkins and false doorknobs. His family has continued the joking tradition since his death in 2004. I tell him that I’m sorry about his father and he and I have a nice conversation. He gave me his business card www.delgadillosnowcap66.com. A great place.

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Garishly decorated, it was fun eating here.


Lovely Cheeseburger and fries – happy face included!



Then out back the jokes continue.




The stroll back to my waiting RV was also picturesque and fun.





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Always good advice!

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Next up on the attractions list is the Grand Canyon Caverns. These are only a mile off the road but I only stopped for a photo opportunity as I didn’t want to go inside the caverns. At least they were open, not like the Merimac Caverns.

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Kinda like the sign states, I’ve been going the Wrong Way for most of my life!

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Peach Springs, Truxton, Valentine and Hackberry are breezed by on my way to Kingman. I missed my chance to take a picture of the 14 foot tall ‘Tiki’ (Easter Island) idol that was just sitting out in the middle of nowhere as there was nowhere for me to turn around after I passed it.

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From Kingman it was westward bound through some fabulous terrain on the Oatman Hwy/Back Country Byway. There were times that I couldn’t really enjoy all the scenery because the road definitely required my attention.


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A ‘comfort stop’ still operating and there is quite a view from here. The 1926 store was originally rebuilt for the movie ‘Universal Soldier’ but after Claude Van Damme was through not much was left. Based on old photographs it was again rebuilt and is a great gift shop.

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Eyes on the road, hands on the steering wheel, I can just hear my father telling me.



Now I get to traverse down the mountain to Oatman. A little hazy but here is the Colorado River down in the valley.

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I watched trucks move in and out of this area in the picture. I have to wonder if there is something being mined and processed?

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Hello Oatman!

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What is it with all the burros? Mary Eileen and I encountered them near Yellowstone (Begging Burros) and this is the second batch on this trip! And to think that they are protected, you can’t get rid of them or use them as beasts of burden.


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The place definitely had character and lots of customers. I’m not a shopper so and there was no place for me to park so I kept driving through.

This looks as if it might be an old mine of some sort.

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I’m not sure what the decorating of the bushes was all about but there were several along this route that were decorated and ready for ? Christmas?


At Golden Shores I thought that maybe I was back in Florida with the Palms.

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Toprock, AZ provided great views of the Colorado River from the bridges as I crossed over to California where the desert took over again.


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I was wondering what these were called.

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Welcome to Needles, CA! California is the last state in my quest to conquer Route 66.

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Cadiz Summit is the sight of café/station/garage and cabin complex that is now only low walls. It seems that graffiti is accepted on these walls.




Again popping on and off of Route 66 and I-40 California proves to be a mix of Route 66 preservation. It is on this stretch of Route 66 between Cadiz Summit and Ludlow, CA that I passed a truck running on the side of the road that kindly gave me a rock to the front windshield. With the crack now in my windshield it will have to be replaced, probably when I get to Oregon where I will hang out for weeks at a time in one place.

Roy’s Café and Motel in Amboy is a 1927 business that has been restored.

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Time to fill up the tanks and settle in for the night at Ludlow. This café was open but I didn’t see anyone going in or out so I prepared my own dinner and then breakfast while using a large parking area next door for a safe haven during the night.

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Forgotten Historical Route 66 – May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016

The Verde Canyon Railroad trip through the rugged Arizona terrain proved to be a good choice. While not as grand as the Grand Canyon the trip on an old train was a welcome diversion before hitting Route 66 again. We rode in a train pulled by this locomotive, one of 10 in everyday use, while following the Verde River through the steep walls of the canyon.


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The train ride took us to the Perkinsville station and returned. There are functional tracks that run another 18 miles to the BNSF train tracks in support of the Perkins ranching operations.

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Ready to begin the trip – here I am in a rare photo.

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It seems that the burros run wild here too! These end up at the station depot about dinner time.

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Prepare for a slide show of what the Verde River and Verde Canyon look like as the train progresses down the track.


I did not learn what the stone tower was.

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The cactus were in bloom, clinging to steep rock walls.

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Yep, both bridges and tunnels!


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Arriving at Perkinsville we learn that this depot was the same one used when filming ‘How the West was Won’. Debbie Reynolds stepped off the train to this depot. Of interest is the structure that would hold the water tower to refuel the steam engines of yesteryear. During the filming 3 cameras were set up to capture the water tank as it was blown up. Sadly 2 of the cameras failed so the scene was never placed in the movie.



Of course the Indians were here and gone long before these ranchers.

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Huge deposits of slag are a result of the mining in Jerome and was processed here.

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As we drove through Clarksdale I couldn’t resist this rooster.

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And just as on Route 66 we have old gas stations being rejuvenated as tourist attractions depicting days gone by.



Forgotten Historical Route 66 – May 15, 2016

May 15, 2016

A great day to be in Arizona! Today is a day for being outdoors hiking and enjoying the local scenery. Back in Michigan Robin is getting snow while I’m enjoying lots and lots of warmth and sunshine!

The entry at the Family Center – Verde Valley RV Park


A few flowers and a snake always make for a fun hike.




This rattle snake was in the middle of the road and I couldn’t get the camera out quick enough to get a good shot of him. He was running away as quickly as I was backing up and getting the camera out.

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Shots of the Verde River. Not a clean river and not one I would take my kayak on, at least not here. I would have liked to use travel the area beyond the vineyard I visited my first day here.




All that lush vegetation in the Arizona desert, who would’ve known.

So I take off on the nature trails within the Valley Verde, Thousand Trails RV Park.  They are very well marked with what the tree, shrub, cactus or peak in the distance is. 3.68 miles and an hour and a half later I had finished the trails and even traversed down a wash. This wash is an interesting one as on Saturday there will be a herd of sheep make their way through. This must be an annual thing as I have heard several of the folks here talk about it.

There is just something special about a blooming cactus.

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As I walked down this wash I could see caves and the further I went along it the deeper it got.


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The wash.


Once I rejoined the trails above my section of the RV Park I began thinking I’d like to see a bench or large rock so I could remove a stone from my shoe. It was then that I saw my RV as I sat on a bench and removed the stone!


Forgotten Historical Route 66 13 May 2016

May 13, 2016

A view from my RV front door.


Side trips from the Route 66 trip are always fun! Today was the Grand Canyon. A friend of mine has moved to Phoenix and she agreed to accompany me to the Grand Canyon’s Southern Rim. It was great to have a companion along for the day.

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It is difficult to express just how large the Grand Canyon really is. We entered at the Eastern entry and made our way to the Visitor’s center on the map below. Less than 1/4th the distance of the canyon itself. A sign posted stated that the Indian Reservation had a glass viewing walkway only 257 miles away!


We paused along the way to capture a photo of the ‘Little Colorado River’ and its effect on the landscape. This isn’t even the Grand Canyon yet.


Our first stop was at the Watch Tower.



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Our first view of the Grand Canyon from the area surrounding the tower. The Colorado River is seen winding through the canyon floor.




We stopped at another viewing point and I took this photo of the Tower in the distance.

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Photos of the Grand Canyon.


We did stop at the Tusayan museum and ruins to learn more of the Indians that lived on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

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The smell of Juniper Trees was intoxicating as we walked through the forest.

In the distance you can see the snowcapped San Franciscan Peaks.





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So just how adventurous are you? This is part of the trail going down into the canyon.

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Wildlife at the Visitor’s Center




Can you make out the mule train trail?


On our way back we passed through higher elevations and this is the San Francisco Peaks.


Forgotten Historical Route 66 12 May 2016

May 12, 2016

Montezuma Castle is a five-story, 20-room dwelling built by the Southern Sinagua farmers sometime between 1100 and 1300. This is 100 feet above the valley and was assumed by early American settlers to be of Aztec origin hence the name Montezuma Castle.






An owl is sitting in this small cave above the ruins. According to the Ranger other owls bring food while this one sits and protects.

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For Cindy and Norma, my bee keeper friends, this is a swarm of bee’s high up on the cliff.


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A short distance from Montezuma Castle is a different structure.




Next up on this visit in the Verde Valley is Montezuma Well. It is a limestone sink formed long ago, still fed by continuously flowing springs. For those that hear there is nothing here but a lake and not worth the time of a visit I caution you to always visit a site for yourself. I found ruins that date back to about 1050 and there are traces of Indian homes and irrigation everywhere.













Notice that just below the viewing point for Montezuma Well are a couple of ruins.



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Another roadside oddity found in Verde Valley

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