Monday, March 9, 2015

CLASSIC TRIP - Route 66 - Part 2

Note: this story was originally written in 2002.  I've tried to update the information for 2010.

Part 1 Here

Day 4

Today, we want to see the ocean. From Pasadena, we take the Gold Line to Union Station.  Take the Red or Purple Line to 7th and Flower St.  Transfer to a southbound Blue Line train to Long Beach. At the end of the Blue Line in Pine Square, we board a free shuttle that takes us to the Aquarium of the Pacific (from Monrovia, take the 187 bus to the Sierra Madre Villa station of the gold line; from Claremont take the Metrolink train westbound to Union Station)

Union Station
It's nice. We see plenty of sharks, rays, and watch a sea lion show. You can walk underwater in a coral reef, see divers feeding the fish, and pet lorikeets in an outdoor aviary.

Winter Warm-up Event: Savings are Hot!

A block away is Shoreline Village (and the Long Beach Convention Center...occasional West Coast home of the Abilities Expo) where you can samples hundreds beers at the Yardhouse. The other way, that same free shuttle can take you to the Queen Mary where you can tour the famed ocean liner. For a completely different adventure, you can catch a ferry to Catalina Island at the terminal next door to the aquarium.

We take a long walk on the beach where a great, smooth, paved path winds a few miles on the sand to Belmont Shore. Lots of families frolicking in the ocean, people flying kites and radio controlled gliders, and speedo-clad gentlemen looking for new friends.

After the beach, it's a long ride back to Monrovia. We have dinner across the street at Tokyo Wako, a teppan-steak house that's very good (think Benihana's).

Day 5

We're tired of traveling around, so we want to stay close. The eastbound 187 takes us again to Myrtle Ave. A three block walk north takes us to the fun and charming Old Town Monrovia district. We have breakfast at the busy Monrovian Family Restaurant where I have a delicious special of eggs and rib eye steak while my wife has heuvos rancheros. Tim has a burger.
It's a very familiar site here, the old-fashioned hardware store, the many quaint shops. Why? Because over 150 movie and TV productions a year film here. You've seen this street many times before, even if you've never set foot within a thousand miles of here.

After strolling around and talking to the friendly (well, mostly friendly) shopkeepers, we take in an early matinee at the Krikorian Theater here.

Day 6

The trusty 187 takes us westbound for a change and deposits us at the brand-new Paseo Colorado mall in Pasadena. This is a wonderful outdoor shopping plaza that makes for as good a place to people watch as it is a place to shop (much better than the Hollywood and Highland mall). Just one block west is Old Town Pasadena where hundred more shops and restaurants tempt you to stop in.

After a morning shopping, we head a few blocks east to Yahaira's, a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant that serves the best tortas I've had in a long time (a torta is a Mexican style sandwich). Their salads are pretty impressive too. For those so inclined, Yahaira's has a bargain priced dinner menu and you can then take in an obscure movie at the art-house Laemmle Theater across the street.

For us, dinner takes us back to the area around our hotel where we have one last meal at BJ's

And so concludes our trip along this unsung portion of Route 66. Although, we didn't do too much kitschy Route 66 stuff, reminders of it abound here with the Historical Route 66 signs greeting you often, the old downtown districts of Pasadena and Monrovia, the old roadhouses such as Pinnacle Peak in San Dimas, The Derby in Arcadia, and the Azusa Drive-In Marquee which is preserved by Azusa Pacific University. Nearby Duarte also has a Salute to Route 66 parade and picnic each September to celebrate this road's place in history. Not to forget, except for our detours to Long Beach and Hollywood, the whole trip takes place on Route 66.

Copyright 2002 and 2010
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