Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Esotouric to present Route 66 bus tour

Staycation, Route 66 Style: Bus tour reveals the retro jewels in L.A.'s own backyard

WHAT: Esotouric presents Route 66, a San Gabriel Valley bus tour in the "Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles" architecture and urbanism series

WHEN: Saturday January 17, 11am-4pm

COST: $58, or save $25 on four tours with a Season Pass

WHERE: Tours departs from Philippe the Original, two blocks from Union Station

Savvy travelers know that the most incredible adventures are often found close to home. This January, join Esotouric, the offbeat bus adventure company whose tours reveal the secret heart of Los Angeles, as they host an excursion deep into the San Gabriel Valley, along America's most historic highway.

Because if you think the best of Route 66 is hundreds of miles from L.A., you'd best think again. When Esotouric's Route 66 bus tour departs from Philippe's French Dip in downtown on January 17, passengers are in for a five-hour tour packed with stunning retro jewels plucked from L.A.'s own backyard.

On the ROUTE 66 tour, hosted by Richard Schave, several dozen intrepid urban explorers will board a luxury coach class bus and head due East along the old Mother Road (an affectionate nickname for historic Route 66) to explore how Southern California welcomed newcomers for much of the 20th Century.

Route 66 only exists today in small fragments, but many of the unique attractions that dotted its length survive and flourish today.

The ROUTE 66 tour explores California's original mass transit corridor and the building of its dream, from climate to citrus industry, TB hospitals to candyflake car culture.

Highlights in the January 2009 edition (the tour features different stops each time it's offered) include a tour of E. Wald Ward Farm (the oldest surviving commercial citrus facility in LA, where passengers can buy scrumptious preserves and almond-filled olives to take home), a visit to the Durrell Historical Museum of Azusa, a stop at Duarte's Rancho Inn (a rare survivor of the motor court era), a stroll through the halls and private rooms of Robert Stacy Judd's 1924 masterpiece The Aztec Motel (and yes, it's haunted), a visit to the astonishing Egypto-manic Covina Bowl bowling alley (once the 24-hour hub of community entertainment and still a popular destination), and tucked among vast cleared fields awaiting new developmen a stop at the homes of the feuding Slauson Sisters (hidden gems of Azusa lore and family dynamics, and a reminder of how fragile ecologies fall tothe incessant crush of progress). Passengers will also view the evocative bungalows of old Monrovia accompanied by host Richard Schave's lively rendition of a vintage bungalow booster tune.

The Reyner Banham Loves LA series of Esotouric bus adventures provides fresh ways of seeing the Southland and mingling with fascinating fellow travelers, and are a must for urban explorers, architecture buffs, San Gabriel Valley residents and anyone who enjoys turning over rocks to reveal the secrets beneath. Come ride and see for yourself.

Upcoming Esotouric bus tour schedule:
Thurs Jan 8- The Hippodrome & Hazard's Pavilion (Downtown Art Walk Shuttles, free)
Sat Jan 10 - The Real Black Dahlia
Sat Jan 17 - Reyner Banham Loves LA: Route 66
Sat Jan 24 - Weird West Adams
Sun Feb 1 - Reyner Banham Loves LA: South LA architecture tour
Thurs Feb 12 - The Hippodrome & Hazard's Pavilion (Downtown Art Walk Shuttles, free)
Sat Feb 14- Blood & Dumplings
Sat Feb 21- Raymond Chandler's LA
Sat Feb 28 - Crawling Down Cahuenga: Tom Waits' LA
Sat March 7 - The Lowdown on Downtown: The Secret History of LA
Thurs March 12 - The Hippodrome & Hazard's Pavilion (Downtown Art Walk Shuttles, free)
Sat March 14 ­ Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski's LA
Sat March 21 ­ Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice
Sat March 28 ­ Pasadena Confidential

For more info on Esotouric, please visit

For more on Reyner Banham, see

And the BBC documentary "Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles"

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