After a busy few days in Vegas its time to head back to Route 66 and into California to the wigwam motel. We took a taxi back to McCarran airport to pickup our new hire car. We dropped off the car and picked it up three days later as it cut down the cost by a few quid as we weren’t paying for parking in Vegas and the taxes were less on the last leg of the journey. We had another Ford Explorer but this wasn’t anywhere near as well specced as the one we picked up in Chicago so we had to slum it with fabric seats, no sat nav and only basic air con lol.
We headed out of Vegas after visiting the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign for the obligatory photographs. We hit the I5 to head back to Route 66 with the open road in front of us but after 5 minutes of driving we were in stationary traffic. It would appear that everybody else had the same idea and the roads we chaos with people leaving Vegas after a weekend of partying. What should of taken us no more than an hour of driving took about three but we had soon made it to highway 95 which would drop us down to Needles and then back onto Route 66.
The traffic had put us behind schedule so we motored through desert and past old abandoned motels and run down small towns until we came to bagdad and the slightly odd Bottle Ranch. The bottle Ranch is another one of those strange stops you come to along route 66, created by artist Elmore Long its 2 acres of modern sculpture and artistic junk adorned with glass bottles of every colour and size. We wandered through the gates, unsure if it was open or not and spent half an hour in awe of the wackiness, in between metal trees with glass leafs were rusty old typewriters, bits of old cars and jeep. The photos of the Bottle Ranch in Bagdad do it more justice than the words i can write so i’ll leave you with those and the video i’ve found on youtube of the creator which was made by the owner of our next destination.
Back on the road with The Bottle Ranch in the distance we headed towards San Bernardino and our home for the night, the WigWam motel. Built in 1947 the wigwam motel features 19 teepee’s which are surprisingly roomy inside and the sign outside proudly asks “have you slept in a teepee lately ?” before the current owner took it over and built it backup to its 1950’s heyday the rooms were available to rent “by the hour” and the sign read “Do it in a Teepee”. Id definitely recommend a stop here if you are on a route 66 road trip as other than the Holbrook wigwam motel in Arizona there really isn’t anywhere like it in the world.
That evening we headed into San Bernardino to take a look around and ate dinner at a great little drive thru which was right out of the 1950s called Chris’s Burgers. The place was packed with locals and despite the lack of plates or cutlery served up great burgers and Mexican food.
We originally drove route 66 in August 2015 – i’ve finally got around to finishing of my Road Trip blog and written this from notes i made at the time