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Our family followed Route 66 to California in August 1963, and I'm trying to organize the few photos of the trip that I've found.

I believe we stayed at this motel, and that it was in California. The names Needles and Barstow come to mind, but not with any reliability.

I doubt it's still there, but perhaps the mountains are distinctive enough.

Motel

  • The ground and vegetation don't look like the hardpan/dry/desert one sees in Barstow and Needles. The mountains might be San Gorgonio or Mt. San Jacinto ("Mt. Baldy"), both in the San Gabriels north of Route 66 and further west towards Los Angeles. – David May 20 at 13:45
  • @David: I think you're on the right track with the San Gabriel range. A couple geographical corrections though: Mt. Baldy is in the San Gabriel range, but its proper name is Mt. San Antonio. Mt. San Jacinto (which is not called Mt. Baldy) and Mt. San Gorgonio are not in the San Gabriels, and they were not to the north of Route 66, which crossed the mountains at Cajon Pass (present-day I-15). – Nate Eldredge May 20 at 14:10
  • Also in favor of @David's point is that the mountains appear to have snow on them, and it's August. I think the mountains around the LA basin are the only ones anywhere near the route that would be high enough for that. – Nate Eldredge May 20 at 14:16
  • Right you are, Nate. I lived in LA when growing up, and attended and worked at a summer camp in the San Bernardino Mountains, where San Gorgonio is located. Climbed it, even. Baldy is indeed Mt. San Antonio, and not Mt. San Jacinto. And I was wrong about Rte. 66's route, too. But I disagree about the snow, which is almost always wholly absent on these peaks in the summer. The OP's trip was, IMO, in winter or spring. – David May 20 at 15:38
  • @David, no, the original date is correct. We were moving from Southern Ontario to Orange, California, and the new school grade started in September, a few weeks after we got there, so it was definitely August. Then a few months later the JFK assassination fixed the year. – Ray Butterworth May 20 at 16:33
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Barstow was an important spot on Route 66, and that's a good reason for you to have the name in mind when remembering the trip to Orange.

The city does have a very old motel (El rancho) which looks pretty similar to this one you have in this picture. However, I could not find any place in town with such a mountain view. See some Barstow pics here.

The closest mountain view I've found is actually a picture taken from Hacienda Heights (west coast).

I think you should not disregard the possibility that this picture could have been taken after crossing the mountains. If you look at the map with a terrain view, the valley near Riversdale has great chances.

The motel in the picture looks small, probably got sold and repurposed, making difficult to identify it from nowadays photos.

If you wish to share this amazing pic and also get some extra guidance to locate it precisely, you could join the Route 66 historic group on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/historicroute66/

If you get the point, let us know! :)

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