Home | About | Contact
Custom Search


Route 66 West Central California


Azusa Drive-in Theatre
Azusa, CA
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

Our starting point for this Central California route begins in Azusa, home of the Azusa Foothill Drive-in Theatre, one of the few last remaining drive-in theatres in Southern California.  Here, the marquee beckons the last of the ozoners to the "real" big screen movie in town... one even on 66!

Just west of the theatre are two motels with distinctive "retro" signage, the Colonial and the Stardust, the latter with its two-way signage with one side saying "Stardust" and the other "Motel".


Colonial Motel
Photo courtesy Sal Garcia

Stardust Motel
Photo courtesy Sal Garcia

Stardust Motel
Photo courtesy Sal Garcia



Alta Dena
Glendora, CA
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

Foothill Boulevard then turns into Alosta Avenue in Glendora, and you pass by an old Alta-Dena Dairy sporting multi color paints and a distinctive T-shaped modernistic rooftop.  The paint scheme looks like something straight out of the Partridge Family.


UPDATE :  The reason why the paint scheme is so darn funky, is because  ABC-TV filmed some of that BEACH BOYS movie in late '99.  The scene where you really see the dairy in the TV movie is when "Brian Wilson" talks with "Al Jardine" standing by his black late 50's Corvette about joining the band. Many thanks to Jayson Wall for the above info on this dairy.



Kimura Nursery (Demolished)
La Verne, CA
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

Leaving Glendora, the town of La Verne beckons with a multitude of Route 66 businesses and marquees along Foothill Boulevard.  The Kimura Nursery (closed 9/15/98) and its unique googie sign is located on the right side of Foothill.


UPDATE 12/08 : Here's another shot of the old Kimura Nursery sign off of Route 66. Off to the left of the sign are cars traveling down the Mother Road. This section of the 66 is full of strip malls these days. 12-08



La Paloma Restaurant
Photo courtesy Georg Balandran

On the left side of the street, the distinctive yellow, green, and red colors of La Paloma Restaurant invite you in for a hearty lunch or dinner.

Continuing eastward, you can visit the Village Car Wash to clean off  your car.  While there, visit Coates Schwinn and more of the route 66 signage.  Across the street, the Hi-Brow 66 Lounge reminds you that yes, you are indeed on the old route 66.



Village Car Wash
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

Coates Schwinn
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

Hi-Brow 66
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com


After traveling down for a few miles, you then enter Rancho Cucamonga. Established in 1957, the Magic Lamp Inn has been a stop for travelers for over 40 years.  Further along Foothill Blvd., is the 7 Star Liquor Store, a good example of the type of stores that used to dot the old road in past times.



Bono's Historic Orange
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

An interesting site to stop at in Rancho Cucamonga is Bono's Historic Orange, one of the last remaining orange stands in the area still shaped as, you guessed it, an orange!



Bono's Food to Go
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

A few feet away is Bono's Food to Go (since 1936), serving Italian meals and breakfast.






The next major town with a distinctive Route 66 feel is Upland, as you remain on Foothill Boulevard.  The Buffalo Inn, established in 1929, is a restaurant/tavern serving burgers by the multitude.  On the right side of the street, an old familiar name calls out, a building with famous golden arches.

The McDonald's in Upland is one of the original McDonald's (this is not one of the originals after all, see update below), still preserving the old architecture of the past.  This McDonald's is now called "Classic" McDonald's.


UPDATE 10/06 : The original McDonald’s was built several blocks east of Euclid Avenue on Route 66. While all McDonald’s were built alike in those days, the Architectural Commission and City Council refused to give it a building permit, considering it inconsistent with the City’s image. An alternative design with white brick was also turned down, as looking too much like a “white tooth”. I think the original McDonald’s is still in operation, and I think this “retro” McDonald's was built sometime in the 90’s. It is ironic to see, considering that they could have had an original. You can spot the few remaining originals by their sloped roof, something not found in this re-creation. Many thanks to Bob Wood for update. 10-06



Winchell's Donut House
Upland, CA
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

Another food/snack stop is the Winchell's Donut House on the north side of Foothill Blvd.  This Winchell's sports an old retro sign on top of the roof with the donut shape. Unfortunately, the Winchell's was torn down several years ago.


Rancho Market
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

A bit further down is the Rancho Market with its swooshing arrow.  And, don't leave the area without a drive into the Taco King parking lot, very important no matter how much time is left in your day.


Taco King
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com




El Rey Motel
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

In the sometimes windy city of Fontana, check into the El Rey Motel, another Route 66 lodging point.  While in town, look for the Fontana Bowl.  If you're lucky, you can still find its rapidly eroding signage and building standing.  Update - The building has now been painted with metallic looking paint.


Fontana Bowl
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com




The last towns on Roadside Peek's Central California designation are the cities of Rialto and San Bernardino.  On the left side of Foothill Blvd., is the Orange Bowl, another ten-pin alley that has become an empty ghost location.

Orange Bowl
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com


Nearby, one of the last remaining vestiges of the "wigwam" architecture era is the aptly named Wigwam Motel of Rialto/San Bernardino.  With many cozy wigwam dwellings and even sporting modern conveniences such as color TV and air conditioning (unfortunately not central), the Wigwam Motel is a must-see stop or layover in your travels.



San Bernardino Motel
Rialto, CA
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

Last, but not least, is the San Bernardino Motel and its familiar "astro" looking signage.











© Copyright 1998-2017 Syd Nagoshi. All rights reserved. No portion of this document may be reproduced, copied or revised without written permission of the author.