What to Know
- Santa Monica Pier
- Vintage redesign for the West Coast's only oceanfront steel roller coaster
- Summer 2020 opening
You know your Route 66 trivia like you know your own dashboard.
You know the funky neon signs, the classic motels, and how this ribbon of road connected a great swath of America just as Americans were falling in love with the automobile.
And you know what sits at the western end of the iconic Mother Road: Santa Monica Pier, which sports an "End of the Trail" sign to denote its status as the Pacific-based terminus of the famous highway.
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Now another pier feature, one that's rather larger than a sign, will pay homage to the history of Route 66. It's the destination's famous roller coaster, the "only West Coast, oceanfront, steel roller coaster," and, starting in the summer of 2020, it will rock a definite 66 style
That means riders will see old-school "automotive decor" around the coaster's loading area, complete with old-timey pumps, the kind you might have spied in front of a vintage Route 66 gas station.
License plates, too, will lend the coaster that Route 66-type vibe, while maps and "specialty memorabilia" will further enhance the theme.
As for the coaster cars? Oh yeah, they're being re-imagined, too. You'll slip into a ride vehicle that recalls the capacious mid-century automobiles that were well-known for rolling along Route 66.
There are even tires on these coaster cars, and sizable fins, too, to complete the retro look. Nope, those tires won't roll, and won't need to, as you'll be moving thanks to roller coaster tech and not rubber.
The redesign, which is priced at over a million dollars, will debut in the summer of 2020. You could probably drive much of the remaining Route 66 blacktop over the summer — Route 66 was just under 2,500 miles, running from Los Angeles to Chicago — but a ride on the Route 66 steel roller coaster at Pacific Park will take considerably less time.
And yet? It, too, will have plenty of cool cachet. For while there are plenty of Route 66 tributes in this world, only a few actually sit on or adjacent to the Mother Road, and fewer still boast movement, fun, and clever design.
Which, of course, are some of the concepts Route 66 will forever be known for, making the rethink of the Pacific Park coaster a fitting and fast homage.