(TAKE A SPIN ON) STATE ROUTE 210

Here’s the back story on my composition of the song parody, “(Take a Spin on) State Route 210,” along with the 2007 column in which it first appeared. To hear an audio-only version of the song with guitar accompaniment, go to http://www.sbsun.com/ci_6200128?IADID=Search-www.sbsun.com-www.sbsun.com and click on the “Audio” option under the headline. To view a video version, in which I sing the song without accompaniment, go to the San Bernardino Public Library’s website, sbpl.org, click on “California of the Past,” then “State Route 210.”

Imagine a day, and it will come sooner rather than later, when the 210 is just as famous as Route 66.

It will be an icon, a pop culture fixture, a treasured portion of our shared American lore and legend.

That’s what happens to roads when they come to the Inland Empire. We know how to treat them right. We know how to celebrate them properly.

One example: Our Hwy. 18, which traverses the San Bernardino Mountains, might have been just another mountain road. But no, we gave it a fancy name — Rim of the World — and we took steps to have it designated, by the United States Federal Highway Administration, as one of America’s Scenic Byways.

Another example: Interstate 10 crosses all of Southern California, from the Arizona border in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west. But we have claimed such an ownership of it, here in the Inland Empire, that for most of its length, even into the very heart of Los Angeles, it is known as the San Bernardino Freeway.

A third example: Route 66 is famous from end to end, and that’s a 2,000-mile stretch from Chicago to Santa Monica. But where is the big celebration of Route 66 held each year? A celebration that draws a half million visitors from around the world?

That’s right, the Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous is held in downtown San Bernardino, in the heart of the Inland Empire. This year’s edition starts Sept. 15. And where else but in San Bernardino County are there three — count them, three — Route 66 museums to be found? We have the Route 66 Museum in San Bernardino, the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville and the Route 66 Mother Road Museum in Barstow.

So, now that the last link of State Route 210 is in place, and the Foothill Freeway has finally and fully arrived in the Inland Empire, its fame is assured.

This road is going to get the star treatment.

One day there will be a Stater Bros. Foothill Freeway Festival that will rival the Rendezvous in size. Cruisers will line the road from where the 210 enters San Bernardino County in Upland to where it completes its journey in Redlands.

People will wear Foothill Freeway t-shirts and buy State Route 210 souvenirs. They’ll plaster their cars with State Route 210 decals and bumper stickers.

The festival will last just a weekend or two, but the Foothill Freeway will draw visitors year-round. Hotels will spring up along the highway. Restaurants will advertise “Foothill Freeway” specials. Tourists will flock to such roadside attractions as the Maloof Historical Residence and Gardens in Alta Loma, Fontana’s Miracle Mile, the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in San Bernardino, and the Citrus Plaza in Redlands.

Many more attractions will spring up. And the Foothill Freeway’s legend will continue to grow.
State Route 210 highway signs will become pop culture icons.

There will be dozens of State Route 210 guide books, State Route 210 history books, and even State Route 210 recipe books featuring the 210′s fabled roadside diners.
There will be a buddy-cop TV show called “Foothill Freeway.”

And, of course, there will be a song, an anthem, known and sung throughout the world.
It will be a little ditty that goes something like this, sung to the tune of  “Route 66″:

If you feel like a foothill cruise,
There’s only one that you can choose.
Take a spin on State Route 210.

Well, it stretches from Sylmar to Redlands,
A hundred miles of easy curves and bends.
Take a spin on State Route 210.

Well, you hit La Crescenta, then La Canada,
Pretty soon you’re parading through old Pasadena,
You’ll churn through LaVerne, and Upland, and then Ontario,
Rancho Cucamonga, don’t forget Fontana,
Rialto, Muscoy, San Bernardino.

You should take advantage of these clues,
If you choose to make that foothill cruise.
Take a spin on State Route 210,
Take a spin on State Route 210,
Yeah, take a spin on State Route 210.