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Salute to Route 66 on its 75th Anniversary

by Sgt. Tim Maley,

Badge - 8940, California Highway Patrol

Photos taken by Bill McFadden

Reprinted from CHP Zenith 12000,

(Volume 48, Number 4, July/August 2001)

Route 66 was established November 11, 1926 by the National Highway Commission. It begins in Chicago, Illinois, and ends in Santa Monica, California—a distance of 2450 miles. Route 66 became the primary route for westbound folks during the Great Depression. John Steinbeck called it the mother road.

A rally to salute Route 66’s anniversary was the idea of Chris Yelland, president of Texas-based Pathfinder Adventure Service, to recognize the law enforcement agencies that have actively patrolled route 66. The caravan of old patrol cars began July 26 in Chicago and ended in Santa Monica august 10. Joining the Yelland contingent was 11-99 Foundation Life Member (2150), Gary Goltz. Riding along with Goltz was Kelly Crawford (the son of late actor Broderick Crawford who starred in the 1950’s television series Highway Patrol). Goltz’s 55 Buick is a replica of the patrol vehicle used by the CHP and featured in the television series.

During the odyssey they were escorted through states by various patrol organizations and local police departments. California was no exception. Upon arrival in California they were escorted from the California/Arizona border by inland division CHP Officers Chuck Wagner (13942) and Ben Nocon (13843). They motored to Victorville where they spent the night. The next day they were met and escorted by West Los Angeles Area Officers Lonn Meeks (16315) and Keith Sweeny (16326) during the last leg. Escorts were also provided by Claremont Police Department and retired Santa Monica Motor Sgt. Patrick Armstrong, who rode a vintage Harley Davidson and wore a vintage uniform. During the stop in Pasadena the group had lunch with Larry Wilcox, star of the 1980’s CHiPs series.

The largest reception given was by the Santa Monica Police Department. The Department sent Officer Greg Barbiera in a restored 1964 Plymouth to escort the group from Pasadena to the Santa Monica pier. Once inside the city limits, approximately six Santa Monica motorcycle provided a code three escort to the pier. Several Los Angeles television stations covered the event and the Chief of Police of Santa Monica, James T. Butts Jr., was on hand to congratulate Goltz and Crawford. All in all, the trip was well received throughout the country and brought attention to the 75th Anniversary of Route 66.

On Route 66 near Victorville

11-99 Foundation Life Member Gary Goltz

Lunch with Larry Wilcox in Pasadena

Rolling onto the Santa Monica Pier

Kelly Crawford being interviewed during press conference