The Mother Road: California

We rolled into our hotel in Pomona, CA around 9pm which felt like 10pm (we gained another hour crossing into California and the Pacific Time Zone).

Fun Fact: California has border control security at their state borders for cars entering California.

Our hotel in Pomona was my favorite hotel of our trip but like all of our hotels, we were only there for a short time. I’ll post details of our trip accommodations in a future post.

Beginning mileage day 513,064
Ending mileage day 513,654
Total miles driven day 5590

Day 6 began late, relatively speaking. We got a quick bite to eat at a nearby cafe and then visited the NHRA Motorsports Museum at 10am as they were unlocking the doors. My dad is a big car racing fan. National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (that’s NASCAR for you amateurs out there). Funny car. Drag car. Any car.

Day 6 was all about museums and cars. The NHRA Motorsports Museum is small but is packed with inventory. We were both charged senior admission rates which made me happy and depressed at the same time. Pictures were difficult to get because all of the cars were packed tightly together like a can of sardines and it was impossible in some areas to back up far enough to get a full-frame photo of whatever I was photographing.

It took us about 45 minutes to get through the museum, including the time we spent testing our reaction time against the red-yellow-green starting line lights and posing for photos in a Funny Car. It is shocking how unsafe I felt sitting in a stationary Funny Car. There is no padding whatsoever.

We left the NHRA Motorsports Museum wondering how they pay rent on their building. During our visit, we were the only visitors and the museum is a bit out-of-the-way from the lights and smog of LA so it is somewhat of an effort to visit unless you’re passing through like we were.

By the way, at this point in the trip, my dad was still the only person who drove the car since we left Minneapolis. He drove the entirety of Route 66 (plus a few hundred miles!).

Our next stop was to Santa Monica Pier which would officially conclude our Route 66 trip. I was not looking forward to LA traffic but, honestly, Seattle traffic was worse than the LA traffic we experienced.

We arrived at Santa Monica Pier and I brought my Seattle weather with us. It was cool, gray and utterly depressing. We parked in a parking garage about a block from the entrance to the pier (free parking for 90 minutes!) and then walked down the pier.

The pier was not the most crowded place I have ever been but it was full of people aimlessly wandering and randomly stopping mid-step and really just not being aware of the pedestrian traffic going on around them.

I spotted the End Route 66 sign straightaway and slowly migrated to it thinking my dad had also seen it and if not, he would naturally follow me to the left side of the pier but he did not and kept walking so then I had to yell for him to return. “Dad! Dad! Dave! Dad! Dave! Dave!”

He returned and then saw the sign and said, “OH!”

There were a lot of people vying for a photo with the Route 66 sign and I actually got aggravated by this – not because of the people though. I was aggravated because none of those people actually drove Route 66 like we had! I felt like we demanded respect for what we had just accomplished! And our accomplishment should have come with five minutes of alone time with the sign to take as many goddamn photos as we wanted ala Willis Tower Skydeck.

Instead, I became what I like to call “tourist aggressive” and lingered by the Route 66 sign until the person moved and then I did not even have one second to wipe the disgusted look off my face and make myself look a little less disheveled before someone became “tourist aggressive” with me and took over my spot.

We walked to the end of the pier and own a set of stairs. People were fishing off of the section of the pier and it was incredibly windy so we turned around and started walking back to the car.

I took a couple of final photos at the top of the pier and before I knew it, we were on our way to drop the car off at our hotel on Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood.

Beginning mileage day 613,654
Ending mileage day 613,719
Total miles driven day 665

Famished, we ate lunch and then hailed an Uber to transport us from our hotel to the Petersen Auto Museum. It was my dad’s very first Uber ride and our Uber car was a brand new Mercedes. My dad was impressed and I did not have the heart to tell him that not all Uber cars are brand new Mercedes so I sat there, touched wood, and hoped our Uber car on the ride back to our hotel would be just as nice (it was not).

The Petersen Auto Museum is WOW. One of these days I will get all of my retroactive posts updated and posted back on this blog but if those posts from traveling to 35 countries (most of them twice or thrice) were live right now, they would reveal that Peter and I basically never go to museums. We are not museum people.

That said if all museums were like the Petersen Auto Museum, I’d be a museum person. It was impressive as hell. You can even get married in the museum!

Below are a few photos I took during our two-and-a-half hours in the museum.

The Little Miss Sunshine bus…

The Batmobile…

A British-looking car that was not at all British but was nicely restored…

The first practical car…

A McLaren 720S (steel frame only) wrapped in Legos! What the fuck! Mind blown!

There are 280,000 Lego bricks that make up the Lego McLaren and it was built by a team of six people who collectively logged over 2,000 hours to the project. The project took considerably longer than it takes to build a real McLaren 720S at the factory.

Along with cars, there were car-related exhibits like this one which housed car gadgets and equipment like “antique” car seats. I pointed the car seat out to my dad and he was said, “Oh yeah. I remember putting you in that thing. Looks safe, huh?”

I guess being born in the late 70’s now makes me an antique. I did get a senior discount earlier in the day…

My only regret from our visit to the Petersen Auto Museum was that we did not splurge for The Vault tickets. There are 250 more cars in The Vault and I believe that is where the Pontiac Aztec from Breaking Bad currently resides. I would have loved to see that, especially since we did not have time to do a drive-by the Breaking Bad house when we were in Albuquerque.

If – and that’s a big if – I ever return to Los Angeles, I’d visit this museum via The Vault tickets.

After the museum we went to Hollywood Blvd to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I had almost no desire to see this while at the same time, felt as though we had to see it since it was within walking distance from our hotel.

Hollywood Blvd was dirty, congested and gross. We walked three blocks of Hollywood Blvd, far enough to reach the Chinese Theatre, and then turned around, ate dinner and had a late-night happy hour beer at our hotel before turning in for the night.

Next up, an unlucky and late start to the first day of our Pacific Coast Highway trip from Los Angeles to Seattle.

2 comments on “The Mother Road: California

  1. What do you mean. We went to the Museum of Broken Relationships. We also tried to go to the Galileo Museum but we probably had cocktails beforehand and got there after closing. We do try to be museum people.

  2. NKOTB! OK, I need to go to NHRA Motorsports Museum now. Looks awesome! Peta, don’t be sad.

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