Living up to our reputation of creating fun and unique events, West Coast Challengers trekked out upon historic Route 66 on a car club cruise to give the club members a taste of what our parents and grandparents experienced in their day traveling along the “Main Street of America.”

Ghost Run II - WCC Road Rally and Cruise

Route 66

With club members coming from Fresno, Visalia and Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley in the North to San Diego in the South, and all places in between, club members met up early in several locations to caravan together to our main meeting spot in San Bernardino, California, along the 215 freeway. It seemed like an unlimited number of Challengers showed up to attend. Club members visited for about a half hour before being assembled and briefed on the route and the day’s anticipated events.

Route 66

Club member Larry, who would be leading the caravan for this event, arrived on scene sporting a “Route 66″ logo on both sides of his car, to the pleasant surprise of many club members.

Route 66

In true West Coast Challengers fashion, because anyone can simply hop in the car and drive from point A to point B, the club members would also be participating in a Poker Run along the way. The club members would be adding playing cards to their poker hands at each stop along the way. To further spice things up, at specific way points, the club members were given Route 66 and Dodge Challenger related questions, and if the club member could answer the questions correctly before the next stop, they would receive a bonus card for their poker hand. Only five cards could be used to create their best poker hand with duplicate cards considered null. In addition, a single Joker, worth $25.00 cash, was added into the mix.

After the club members were briefed, each received their first two playing cards and their first set of questions. We all then headed for our Challengers, and in a thunderous roar, the engines of some 50 Dodge Challengers roared to life. and rolled out in single file heading off to our first destination, Barstow, California.

Once on the highway, to say that we are a rolling parade that attracts a lot of attention is a true understatement. Fellow motorists always enjoy a slow creep alongside the caravan to check out our cars before heading off on their own treks. Because of this, on our cruise events, the club offers a $25 gas card to the club member who takes the best picture of someone else taking a picture of us, turning the tables on our fellow motorists. This event produced some great pictures of our fellow motorists in that regard.

Route 66

Route 66

Stopping in Barstow, California, for a quick break, the club members were asked to turn in their answers to the first set of questions in order to receive a bonus card for their poker hands. They also received their next two playing cards for their poker hands and the next set of bonus questions before rolling out for our next destination.

Traveling on Interstate 40 for a short time, with Route 66 running alongside of us, we exited the Interstate after a short time and turned onto historic Route 66. As the club members all know now, because it was one of their questions in the Poker Run, Route 66 was commissioned in 1926 but sadly decommissioned in 1985, so it is no longer maintained and is deteriorating rapidly in some areas. We unfortunately hit one of those areas which was worsened with the recent thunderstorms that hammered the area just two weeks before our visit. The road condition caused the caravan to slow to a crawl as we all wished we were driving SRT Jeeps instead at that moment. Fortunately though, we were able to jump back on Interstate 40 and bypass the damaged area and continue on.

Route 66

Our next stop along Route 66 was Ludlow, California, where we got gas and took a short break. While in Ludlow, we were informed that a portion of Route 66 up ahead had been damaged by the recent rain storms as well, so we re-routed the caravan to avoid that section of highway, and dropped back onto Route 66 a little farther down.

Route 66

Route 66

Back on course, the caravan rolled into Amboy, California. Once a small thriving town that catered to weary travelers in Route 66’s hey day with its iconic “Roy’s Motel Cafe” sign out front. The town’s motto is now, “The ghost town that ain’t dead yet!” Club members received a warm welcome and were given a short introduction to the town, then left to visit some of the old buildings, historic motel lobby, and what turned out to be a club favorite, the old Route 66 logo stenciled on the highway. Club members rolled up one at a time in their Challenger as their picture was taken next to the logo while others watched for oncoming traffic.

Route 66

Route 66

Route 66

Prior to reaching Amboy, we encountered a few casualties along the way. Club member Jim had his GoPro camera fall off on the freeway and turned back to recover it only to discover that the camera had broken into a million pieces, which he then graciously offered to donate to the club for a raffle. Very generous to say the least, but there were no takers. The camera’s SD card was not recovered, so we won’t get to see the camera’s final moments. Near Ludlow, club member Ronnie discovered that he picked up an unexpected hitchhiker. A large bolt had embedded itself in his rear tire. Ronnie and his wife left us in Ludlow to head back to Barstow for tire repair. He too graciously offered up the bolt for auction and advertised it as only having 60 miles on it. A few others left us in mid-cruise for various reasons and prior engagements. Undaunted, the club members pressed on.

Route 66

Route 66

After visiting Amboy for a while, the club members were assembled to turn in their bonus answers for this leg of the Poker Run and to receive their next playing card. A few miles from Amboy lies the Amboy Crater, an extinct volcano that last erupted some 5,000+ years ago. Its last eruption was so violent, that it blew the volcano’s cone shape top clean off, leaving it with a flat top and a huge crater in its center. The volcano now sits in its own lava field which is long hardened and spans several miles. In 1973, the volcano and its lava field were declared a National Natural Landmark.

Route 66

Route 66

Club members were warned in advance, that every volcano requires a sacrifice, and this volcano was no different. So, before leaving Amboy and setting off for the volcano, the club members were asked to gather their poker hands and form a single file line. To their surprise, they were then asked to take the worse card in their poker hand and pass it to the club member to their right. Laughs rang out as the cards were simultaneously passed all along the line. While the new card helped some club members, most let out a moan in dissatisfaction. Thinking that was the sacrifice, the club members got a chuckle out of it. However, the club members were then asked that every odd club member in line take a step forward. So it was that club member 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc., in line took their step forward which now created two lines of club members, forward and backward. They were then asked to fan out their poker hand to face the front, and then told to turn to their left and choose a card, any card, from the poker hand of that club member. An echo of simultaneous “What?!!!!” rang out from the club members Now looking to their left and at their fellow club member’s poker hand, the club members were advised that they could take any card. They could take a card to bust another club member’s poker hand or choose one to better their own poker hand. Those with already great poker hands saw their hands destroyed when a good card was taken from them which broke an otherwise winning poker hand — and that was the sacrifice. :)

Sacrifice in hand, we rolled out of Amboy to pay tribute to the volcano a few miles away. Lava rock was spewed everywhere to cause blackened patches in large contrast to the light colored desert sands and plant life. The volcano rises up some several hundred feet above the desert floor and seems almost out of place in this living desert.

Club members left the volcano and headed off for our final destination, the Morongo Casino in Cabazon, California, for a late lunch after a quick stop in Yucca Valley, California, for gas.

Upon arriving at the casino, club members were asked for their final answers to the bonus card questions and received their final two cards for their poker hands. We all then gathered around to determine who was holding the winning poker hands. Trophies were awarded for the Best Poker Hand, the Best Low Poker Hand (Ace through 5), and Worse Poker Hand Overall (2 through 7, no pairs, straights or flushes). The navigator in each car with a winning poker hand were also awarded with a prize, a commemorative event t-shirt.

Club member Carlos won for the Best Poker Hand with a four-of-a-kind (four 3’s) beating out three separate full house hands that were all runners up.

Route 66

Club members Phil and Laura tied for Best Low Poker Hand with Ace through 5, so the deck of cards was brought out to cut for high card to determine the winner. Laura cut the deck for a Jack which drew an “Ahh!” from the club members standing around. A great draw. Phil then cut the deck only to reveal a King, much to Laura’s dismay. So it was that Phil won for Best Low Poker Hand.

Route 66

Club Member Vic won for Best Low Ball Poker Hand or Worse Poker Hand Overall with 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and his two sons eagerly accepted his trophy and his navigator’s commemorative event t-shirt.

Route 66

After the awards were presented, we all went inside of the casino to enjoy a late lunch. Once inside, the club members separated into various groups and ate at many of different restaurants available to end the event.

This was the both one of the largest and longest events that the club has put together for the club members to date, certainly the most sophisticated, and one which we know the club members will be remembering for a long time to come.

More pictures from the cruise can be found in our club photo gallery.

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  1. […] Living up to our reputation of creating fun and unique events, West Coast Challengers trekked out upon historic Route 66 on a car club cruise […]

  2. D. Noyes says:

    I Loved every aspect of this event, it is always great hanging out with my WCC Family and seeing and cruising around with such beautiful rides. Thanks to all who made it possible!!! West Coast Challengers the Best Car Club around…