Final Ride…Final thoughts…

10 May

After 2,995 miles, some acknowledgments are in order.  There are lots of people who make a trip like this as great as it was and so it’s right to say thank you.  To my dear friend Roger who immediately agreed when I proposed this slightly crazy notion in honor of his 66th birthday.  To Dollar car rental who worked with us to get just the right car, you don’t think we appreciate it, but we do.  To the nearly a dozen hotel front desk clerks that we negotiated with and cajoled who provided us with everything we needed and wanted, with a smile.  To the many dozens of Rt 66 shopkeepers, museum people and waiters, waitresses, hostesses and bartenders we met along the way that filled our bellies and our hearts with their hospitality.  To Jerry McClanahan, author of the EZ66 driving guide, without whose book we could not have found and stayed on the Road.  To the Facebook page called Route 66 Pictures whose members responded to our requests for landmarks with gusto and friendly assistance.  And to my wonderful wife who cheerfully covered for me while I disappeared for 11 days, thank you.

Our last day on the Road began in the town of Pontiac, Illinois.  Give credit to the townspeople here who have turned a  sleepy town into something worth making a special trip for.  The center of town is spotlessly clean with various monuments honoring our war veterans in all the wars the US has been involved in that had losses from among the towns residents.  A Pontiac-Oakland car museum on the north side of the square features all the GTOs, Bonnevilles, Trans Ams, Firebirds, and more that you could ever want.  On the east side of the square sits the Rt 66 Hall of Fame, a jammed packed one room hoarders paradise with memorabilia and honororabilia from the Mother Road.  Upstairs are several rooms with giant color photos from all the states the Route hits.  And on top of that, a fine breakfast at The Apple Tree.

We hit the Road for the final stretch and here are a few photos from the day.

MSC_6152 MSC_6145 MSC_6143 MSC_6137 MSC_6134 MSC_6132 MSC_6129 MSC_6126MSC_6128

Driving Route 66 is about a journey, not a destination.  It’s a journey to remember and a journey to see and hear much of what makes America the place that it is.  If there’s one thing that defines the Rt 66 experience it is diversity.  Beginning n California, we drove through deserts, mountains, hot and cold, rugged terrain and flat.  We drove roads that had switchbacks that gained 500 feet of elevation in a quarter mile, and roads that we so straight and flat one could lash the steering wheel, set the cruise control and take a nap.  We met people of all shapes, sizes, colors and life experiences.  From tourists, to locals, to back country folks to city people, Rt 66 connected us all and provided the common ground we shared.

Even though we came through big cities, Rt 66 is not a road that most people drive because, for the most part, it is near other, more modern roads, that people use to get from here to there.  As a result, for 11 days there were very few other cars.  We could stop at almost any point to observe or take a photo and not even have to pull over.  Its pretty cool to have the road to yourself, and we did much of the time.

Everyone’s Route 66 experience is unique.  Yours will be too should you ever decide to make the drive.  If not, I hope that this blog has given you a taste.  I know that it has been great to have you along with us.

So, another adventure has ended.  You’ll hear from me when the next one is planned.  Until then…


3 Responses to “Final Ride…Final thoughts…”

  1. Bruce Cummings May 10, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    Congrats and thanks for sharing this awesome trip!

  2. Christine Ferrari May 11, 2015 at 8:24 am #

    It sounds like your trip was exactly what you both wanted-Congrats on making it to the end! And thank you for the FERRARI picture at the gas station, I felt like it was taken just for me! Sending love your way, C

  3. C&C Schwendo May 11, 2015 at 9:28 am #

    Wonderful, Michael, just wonderful.

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