Crossing from Arizona into California the first stop on Route 66 is Needles (Mojave: ʼAha Kuloh), a city located in the Mojave Desert on the western banks of the Colorado River in San Bernardino County, California. It is located in the Mohave Valley, which straddles the California–Arizona border. The city is accessible via Interstate 40 and U.S. Route 95. Needles was named after “The Needles”, a group of pointed rocks on the Arizona side of the river. The large Mohave Native American community shares the nearby Fort Mojave Indian Reservation and the town. Needles is a gateway to the Mojave National Preserve.

The Mohave, one of the traditional Native American Colorado River Indian Tribes, are people that have been living in the Mojave Valley area for thousands of years prior to the European exploration of the area. In the Mohave language, they call themselves the Aha Makhav. Their name comes from two words: aha – meaning ‘river’, and makhav – meaning ‘along or beside’, and to them it means ‘people who live along the river’.

Interstate 40 is the major highway through Needles, connecting Barstow to the west and Arizona to the east. U.S. Route 95 also enters the city from the east on former Route 66 as a concurrency with I-40, then splits with the Interstate west of the city, and heads north to Nevada. The Colorado River Bridge crosses the Colorado River on Topock, Arizona, connecting Needles directly with Mohave County, Arizona, and Arizona State Route 95. In the John Steinbeck novel The Grapes of Wrath, the Joad family stops in Needles when they enter California on Route 66.

Onward towards the Pacific Ocean is Barstow, a city in San Bernardino County, California located 55 miles or 89 kilometers north of San Bernardino. Barstow is named after William Barstow Strong, former president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Some early Barstow names for the town were Camp Sugarloaf, Grapevine, and Waterman Junction. The Skyline Drive-In, located in the north-east outskirts of the city at 31175 Old Highway 58, is one of the last operating drive-in theatres in San Bernardino County.

Barstow has a number of museums including the Mojave River Valley Museum, Route 66 Mother Road Museum, the Western America Rail Museum, and the Desert Discovery Center. The Old Woman meteorite, the largest meteorite found in California and the second largest in the United States, is housed in the Desert Discovery Center. The Casa Del Desierto, built in 1911 as a Harvey House hotel and train station, now houses the Route 66 Mother Road Museum and the Western America Railroad Museum as well as still functioning as an unstaffed Amtrak station.

Opened in 1975 and operating 365 days a year, Barstow Station serves 20,000 tour buses a year and is a popular stop for travelers on Interstate 15. The site includes a number of gift shops, an ice cream parlour, a Panda Express, Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits, KHWY radio station and a Greyhound ticket terminal. The McDonalds restaurant at Barstow Station consists of three side-by-side railroad cars, which is a reference to the railroad heritage of the city. Musical mentions of the town include the lyrics of Route 66 composed by Bobby Troup. Sheryl Crow’s Leaving Las Vegas mentions spending the night in Barstow. Harry Partch wrote Barstow, inspired by eight pieces of graffiti written by hitchhikers on highway railings in Barstow. The The Residents’ song Death in Barstow, tells the story of two friends who visit and fall asleep in Barstow. One of the friends awakes to find that his friend has died.

Continuing on towards the end of Route 66 to San Bernardino, a city located in the Riverside-San Bernardino metropolitan area and the county seat of San Bernardino County, California. California State University – San Bernardino is located in the northeastern part of the city. The university also hosts the Coussoulis Arena. Other attractions in San Bernardino include ASU Fox Theatre and the McDonald’s Museum, which is located on the original site of the world’s first McDonalds Restaurant. In 1940, Richard and Maurice McDonald founded McDonald’s, along with its innovative restaurant concept in the city.
The California Theatre, the San Bernardino Mountains, and the San Manuel Amphitheater – the largest outdoor amphitheater in the United States are also there. The city of San Bernardino, California occupies much of the San Bernardino Valley, which indigenous tribespeople originally referred to as The Valley of the Cupped Hand of God. The Tongva Indians also called the San Bernardino area Wa’aach in their language. Upon seeing the immense geological arrowhead-shaped rock formation on the side of the San Bernardino Mountains, they found the hot and cold springs to which the “arrowhead” seemed to point. The city of San Bernardino is one of the oldest communities in the state of California. Named for Bernardino of Siena on May 20th, 1810 San Bernardino, in its present-day location, was not largely settled until 1851, after California became a state.
Indigenous people of the San Bernardino Valley and Mountains were collectively identified by Spanish explorers in the 19th century as Serrano, a term meaning highlander. Serrano living near what is now Big Bear Lake were called Yuhaviatam, or People of the Pines. In 1866, to clear the way for settlers and gold miners, state militia conducted a 32-day campaign slaughtering men, women, and children. Yuhaviatam leader Santos Manuel guided his people from their ancient homeland to a village site in the San Bernardino foothills. In 1891 the United States government established it as a tribal reservation and named it after Santos Manuel.
In 1994, Norton Air Force Base was closed and reopened to become San Bernardino International Airport. San Bernardino hosts several major annual events, including the Route 66 Rendezvous – a four-day celebration of America’s Mother Road that is held in downtown San Bernardino each September. The Berdoo Bikes & Blues Rendezvous is held in the spring and the National Orange Show Festival – a citrus exposition founded in 1911 is also held in the spring. The Western Regional Little League Championships are held there each August, as well as the annual anniversary of the birth of the Mother Charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, Berdoo California Chapter. The 1928 California Theater of the Performing Arts in downtown San Bernardino hosts an array of events, including concerts by the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra, as well as touring Broadway theater productions presented by Theatrical Arts International, the areas largest theater company. The Glen Helen Pavilion at the Cajon Pass is the largest amphitheater in the United States.
San Bernardino is home to the historic Arrowhead Springs Hotel and Spa, located in the Arrowhead Springs neighborhood, which encompasses 1,916 acres or 7.75 square kilometers directly beneath the Arrowhead geological monument that presides over the San Bernardino Valley. The resort contains hot springs, in addition to mineral baths and steam caves located deep underground. Long the headquarters for Campus Crusade for Christ, the site now remains largely vacant and unused since their operations moved to Florida. The $300 million Casino San Manuel, one of the few in southern California that does not operate as a resort hotel, is located
approximately one mile from the Arrowhead Springs Hotel and Spa. The city is also home to the Arrowhead Country Club and Golf Course. In downtown, Clarion, adjacent to the San Bernardino Convention Center, is the largest hotel while the Hilton is the largest in the Hospitality Lane District. San Bernardino International Airport is located within the city. The facility is within the jurisdiction of the Inland Valley Development Agency, a joint powers authority, and the San Bernardino Airport Authority. Hillwood, a venture run by H. Ross Perot, Jr., is the master developer of the project, which it calls AllianceCalifornia. The airport does not currently offer commercial passenger service, however the airport passenger terminal has been remodeled, and it will be taking international flights starting sometime in 2013. Southeastern Jet Corporation will also begin a private charter service at the airport in the fall of 2013.
State Route 2, or Santa Monica Boulevard, begins in Santa Monica, barely grazing State Route 1 at Lincoln Boulevard, and continues northeast across Los Angeles County, through the Angeles National Forest, crossing the San Gabriel Mountains as the Angeles Crest Highway, ending in Wrightwood. Santa Monica is also the western or the Pacific terminus of historic U.S. Route 66. Close to the eastern boundary of Santa Monica, Sepulveda Boulevard reaches from Long Beach at the south, to the northern end of the San Fernando Valley.

Just east of Santa Monica is Interstate 405, the “San Diego Freeway”, a major north-south route in Los Angeles County and Orange County, California. Hundreds of movies have been shot or set in part within the city of Santa Monica. One of the oldest exterior shots in Santa Monica is Buster Keaton’s Spite Marriage in 1929, which shows much of 2nd Street. The comedy It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, filmed in 1963, included several scenes shot in Santa Monica, including those along the California Incline, which led to the movie’s treasure spot, “The Big W”.

The Sylvester Stallone film Rocky III filmed in 1982 shows Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed training to fight Clubber Lang by running on the Santa Monica Beach, and Stallone’s Demolition Man filmed in 1993 includes Santa Monica settings. Henry Jaglom’s indie Someone to Love filmed in 1987, the last film in which Orson Welles appeared, takes place in the Santa Monica Mayfair Theatre. Heathers filmed in 1989 used Santa Monica’s John Adams Middle School for many exterior shots. The Truth About Cats & Dogs filmed in 1996 is set entirely in Santa Monica, particularly the Palisades Park area, and features a radio station that resembles KCRW at Santa Monica College. 17 Again filmed in 2009 was shot at Samohi. Other films that show significant exterior shots in Santa Monica include Fletch filmed in 1985, Species filmed in 1995, Get Shorty filmed in 1995, and Ocean’s Eleven filmed in 2001. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? in 1969, The Sting in 1973, Ruthless People in 1986, Beverly Hills Cop III in 1994, Clean Slate in 1994, Forrest Gump in 1994, The Net in 1995, Love Stinks in 1999, Cellular in 2004, Iron Man in 2008 and Hannah Montana: The Movie in 2009.