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End of the Trail.

Route 66: End of the Trail

Field review by the editors.

Santa Monica, California

If you'd traveled westward on Route 66 during its actual existence as a U.S. highway (1926-1985), your trip wouldn't have ended at the Pacific Ocean. For the first ten years the Mother Road stopped in downtown L.A., at the corner of 7th and Broadway. In 1936, the highway was extended to Santa Monica, but still ended at the intersection of Lincoln and Olympic Boulevards, a mile from the beach. At the time, frankly, nobody cared.

But after the nostalgia-fueled Route 66 revival of the 1990s, and especially after the success of the Pixar film "Cars" in 2006, Santa Monica decided that the now-mythic Mother Road needed to go out in style. Instead of putting up a sign at Lincoln and Olympic, Santa Monica arbitrarily extended Route 66 to the Santa Monica Pier, calling it the "End of the Trail."

On November 10, 2009, the 83rd anniversary of America's numbered highway system, Santa Monica unveiled its End of the Trail sign on the Pier, marking what it called the "spiritual end of Route 66," as 66 old cars and motorcycles, invited for the ceremony, honked their approval.

Route 66: End of the Trail

Santa Monica Pier

9 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA
Drive west onto Colorado Ave. until it dead ends at Santa Monica Pier. Then walk straight out on the pier for 200 feet. The sign is just past the Bubba Gump shrimp franchise and just before the Playland arcade.
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