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.
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.
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.