Excluding towns that have been absorbed into large, nearby cities, there are only 19 stand-alone metropoli in the United States with populations over 100,000 that Ruth and I haven’t visited. Last year we made it to Chattanooga, TN, Columbia, SC, and Charlotte, NC. On our 3rd adventure of 2018, we made it to Victorville, CA.
Victorville is north of San Bernardino in the Victor Valley just past Cajon Pass. Those driving north to it on I-15, which cuts diagonally through Victorville, have some fine views of the San Gabriel Mountains. In 1860 Victorville had a population of 10. Growth occurred shortly after that because a telegraph station named after railroad pioneer Jacob Victor located there. Victor’s big lifetime achievement was bringing this nation’s 2nd transcontinental railroad to the West Coast. The California Southern Railway was part of the Santa Fe system. In 1885 Victor drove the first train engine through Cajon Pass linking San Bernardino to Barstow, which is 34 miles north of Victorville. Victorville is on the edge of the Mojave Desert. By the year 2000 Victorville had a population of 64,000. Today it exceeds 122,000.
Some crazy people live in Victorville and commute to jobs in the Los Angeles area. I talked to a very nice woman who lives in Hesperia, which is just south of Victorville. She told me that her husband drives to his job near LAX every day. She starts waking him up for his long commute at 3 am. I have no good photos of Victorville because it’s 95% shopping centers and new neighborhoods strung along I-15, and the old part of town is the dilapidated home of about 3,000.
Surprisingly, 13 movies have been at least partially shot in Victorville. One in the Fast and Furious series was filmed there as was Grand Theft Auto. The script for Citizen Kane was written there. Cowboy star Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Evans were both born in Victorville, and there used to be a museum devoted to their careers here but it moved to Branson before closing permanently. There’s still a small tribute to them in the California Route 66 Museum on D Street in the old part of town, where Ruth & I learned that most of 66’s foreign visitors now come from Brazil. Why?