By Rene Ray De La Cruz Staff WriterPosted Aug. 25, 2015 at 3:06 PM
VICTORVILLE — Journalist and bicyclist Lena Faber took a break this week from her long journey across America at the California Route 66 Museum on D Street.
“I left Chicago in late May and I plan to be in Santa Monica by (September),” Faber told the Daily Press. “I love traveling Route 66 because this what America is all about. I love the the country and I love the people.”
Faber is a native of Moscow who now lives in South Africa, and she wryly tells stories of her time behind the Iron Curtain before it collapsed. She says she worked for a “secret Soviet agency” and a Russian-based newspaper where she wrote about travel and new automobiles. She even got behind the wheel and tested many of the new vehicle designs. These days she’s doing her traveling by bike.
“My purpose for traveling along Route 66 is to meet as many people as possible and to discover what American culture is about,” said Faber, who lectures at the University of South Africa. “I plan to set up a tent in someone’s backyard in Santa Monica and write my book about Route 66 on the beach, with my MacBook.”
She then admitted she doesn’t know anyone in Santa Monica but she hopes to meet some new friends, as she’s done throughout her trip.
As a group of curious people gathered around Faber at the Route 66 Museum, Faber said her book, “Folks’n Route 66″ will be filled with photographs and stories of the things she’s seen and the people she’s met along the way.
Faber said she’s authored several books, including the two-part “200000 km Around Moscow” and “A Few Rally Racers: Tips to Make You the Better Driver.”
Faber, who has two children in their 20s and says she’s in her “30s plus,” is not trying to set any speed records while traveling the nearly 2,400 miles of the historic Mother Road.
“I’m taking my time and meeting many wonderful people,” Faber said. “I’m also taking small trips and seeing places like the Grand Canyon.”
Faber said local museum board member Delvin Harbour was one of many people that she’s met along the way who provided local transportation, food, drink and a place to rest.
“This is a wonderful museum and it has so many pieces of the golden age of travel and America,” Faber said. “I was excited to see the map that shows where people from across the world have come from to visit this museum.”
According to the museum staff, approximately 700 visitors come through the doors of the 4,500-square-foot museum each month, coming from as far as Australia, Britain, China, Germany, Japan or New Zealand.
“We’ve had up to 1,000 international visitors during the summer months,” Museum President and Director Sue Bridges told the Daily Press. “The rest of the world recognizes Route 66 as America so they come, and they see, touch and experience it right here in Victorville.”
Bridges said the museum staff of volunteers and sponsors are already gearing up for the museum’s “20th anniversary Birthday and Car Show” on Oct. 24.
According to Faber, her biggest challenge since leaving Chicago was being sidelined for about a month after she was bitten by a dog in Oklahoma. Her other major speed bump was enduring the sweltering heat of the Eastern Mojave Desert.
Faber said she’s a big fan of McDonald’s because of its food, clean bathrooms, drink refills, WiFi and electrical outlets to recharge her phone and MacBook.
“When I lived under Soviet Union control, Western culture was not allowed in the USSR,” Faber said. “Once we received the freedom to travel outside of the Soviet Union, I visited Istanbul, Spain and Switzerland. It was a wonderful to feel freedom for the first time.”
Besides writing her book, Faber said she’d love to see her biography turned into a major motion picture, with Sandra Bullock playing the lead role.
“America is a great country and people should enjoy the freedom of traveling, especially Route 66,” Faber said. “The only problem with America is bad Wifi, but then again — the whole world has bad WiFi.”
To follow Faber’s journey, visit www.lenafaber.com/blog or www.facebook.com/journalist2. The California Route 66 Museum is located at 16825 South D St. For more information on the museum, visit www.califrt66museum.org or call 760-954-1903.
Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLa Cruz@VVDailyPress.com or on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.
Daily News VICTORVILLE — Journalist and bicyclist Lena Faber took a break this week from her long journey across America at the California Route 66 Museum on D Street.