Who knew traveling across the country with your brother-in-law could be so much fun?
Day 6 began earlier than any other–we were on the road before 7 AM for a variety of reasons: to avoid the daytime heat that greeted us when we reached Needles, California the night before; to ensure that we arrived at the official end of Route 66 while there was plenty of daylight to go the last 100 miles to Santa Barbara; and, most importantly, to see our wives who we missed–a lot.
It was rather pleasant when we left Needles, after conversing with a man who grew up many years ago in the same neighborhood in Flint, Michigan where both of us lived for a long time–it truly is a small world! We also spoke with a man from Kansas who was driving a 1950s Bentley (right hand drive) on his own cross-country adventure.
Whether it was the early start, or the fact that it was Saturday, or because we were crossing the Mojave Desert, we had little traffic and smooth sailing. There is not a lot to look at on that portion of the road except the scenery which does not change much, and when we got to Ludlow, California, nearly 90 miles past Needles, we were extremely pleased at our decision the previous evening to stay the night in Needles–other than two gas stations and one, apparently no name, motel, there seemed to be no real services, much less creature comforts.
While neither of us considers ourselves to be high maintenance (do not ask our wives for confirmation of this), we would have been rather disappointed to arrive after dark, expecting to stay there for the night. So, it was on to Barstow, San Bernadino and points further west.
As we got closer to Los Angeles traffic definitely increased along with the speeds of other drivers and there were some congestion slowdowns, but nothing problematic. A really great technical invention is the GPS–wow, did that ever help in navigating the many choices available to route our journey in an urban setting.
We arrived at the Santa Monica pier–the official end of Route 66–just after noon and parked on the pier. We had absolutely zero problems with law enforcement along the entire route (it would have been nearly impossible to have gotten a speeding ticket), so imagine our dismay to have had a police encounter at the very end(see the pictures we added).
NOTE: neither of us is in jail at this point.
Our lovely wives had no idea that we would arrive at the finish so early (when asked via text earlier in the morning, we offered only in the car), and we had no clue that they were driving down from Santa Barbara to meet us.
Imagine the surprise and delight of all of us when we all arrived on the pier within minutes of each other. We had a nice lunch at a restaurant on the pier, took some photos and then departed by mid afternoon. Rather by accident we learned from the Route 66 souvenir stand staff of another traumatic brain injury survivor who is utilizing Route 66 as his medium to bring awareness.
Mark had heard of the individual, but did not know of the parallels and coincidences (is anything really coincidental?) and he purchased the book that this survivor authored (did we already note that it is a small world?) All things considered, this truly has been an excellent adventure.
It was a perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a driving tour across this great country of ours, and spend high quality time between two old guys (old guys rule, as they say) with some striking similarities and no troubling differences (at least once a day someone–often a family member–asked whether we were getting along. What did they think, we were a couple of immature morons who would endlessly torment one another–OK, don’t answer that).
So, it is with some sense of sadness that this portion is done, but also some relief, we find ourselves relaxing with our wives. While the westward leg of the journey is now complete, the Corvair still has to get back to Michigan, so please continue to support us with your prayers and good thoughts and go to the website www.roadtohope.info to track the donations.
Thanks for “riding along with us” on this adventure, for your support to this point, and stay tuned, perhaps there will be more reports emanating from the eastward leg of the journey: Part Deux, now renamed Rose & Steve’s Excellent Adventure, but still working toward the original goal–fun and fundraising.
Happy Trails To You!