October 02, 2016Needles will be your first town in California. It is known as a railroad hub. As you enter Needles you'll pass by a covered wagon that supposedly is the same wagon used in the 1960s TV show Death Valley Days, which was hosted by the great Renaldus Magnus (aka Ronald Reagan). Who knows, maybe it was.
Needles has a bunch of vintage motels. The most interesting one is Fender's River Road Resort. It has a cool red neon sign and offers river side rooms. It's a bit off of the main drag, but there is not all that much on that drag.
The biker bar everyone goes to is the Red Dog Saloon on Broadway. This place is a simple structure, but it is clean. It has a pretty small bar room with a tile floor, and has a huge room on the side with a concrete floor where they sometimes have bands. If you are in Needles, this is the place to go.
The 1906 El Garces was a hotel and Santa Fe Railroad Depot that has been long abandoned. Efforts have been underway to raise funds to restore this distinctive structure; however, today it is just a shell of a building without windows or doors, and has been that way as long as I can remember. Still, it's easy to see how impressive it must have been in its prime.
When you leave Needles, you will be off I-40 for over 100 miles. The road is sometimes rough, and with a few exceptions, there is not much out there, but the scenery is terrific, and after all, the reason for your trip is to see Old Route 66 in all its former glory.