Sunday, June 10, 2007

Heading East

Day 9: 597 Miles
Total: 3,820 Miles

Well actually, it was west, then east. I left the Wigwam Motel at 5:00am this morning for my 70 mile jaunt to Santa Monica. I was dreading the unlimited number of traffic lights and hoped by leaving that early I might actually get there in less than three hours. By my count, 276 traffic signals and a little over two hours later I was in Santa Monica. Talk about anti-climactic though. Route 66 officially ends on Olympic Boulevard, somewhere west of Lincoln Boulevard. I don't know where though because I couldn't find a sign of any kind. I thought I remembered seeing a picture of one, but just like in Chicago I came up blank.

So I did the next best thing. I moved down a few blocks to the Santa Monica Pier to get a shot. Halfway to Santa Monica I realized that I forgot to charge my camera battery, and worse yet, I had left my bag of various chargers (and another digital camera) back at the hotel. So I didn't take any other pictures, wanting to make sure I had power for the end shot. I set up the tripod and framed the shot as best I could. I figured I would step into the picture, see how it was framed, then do a better retake. No such luck. I got one crappy picture before the camera died, so here it is. A lousy picture on a hazy, overcast morning. Like I said, anti-climactic.

By the way, for you Los Angelinos reading this who are interested, Route 66 basically runs from about San Bernardino on Foothill Blvd, then after a few turns winds up on Colorado Blvd for a while, then onto the 110 to Sunset Blvd, then Santa Monica Blvd, and finally Lincoln and then Olympic.

About the time I realized I didn't have my bag, the motel had found it and called me. I told them I would pick it up in a couple of hours. It wasn't out of the way since I was going right back by there anyway. If my trip had been up the west coast as originally planned, I would have had a wasted 140 mile round trip to go get the bag. Anyway, I got the bag, got my battery charged, and was headed toward Arizona by about 9:30 this morning.

I mentioned the movie "Bagdad Cafe" in my blog yesterday. This abandoned motel sits right next the the current Bagdad Cafe where the film was shot. Apparently scenes were shot at this motel too. I haven't seen the movie yet, so I'll have to rent it now.

The drive was pleasant because I knew much of the route so I wasn't constantly looking at directions. Plus I took fewer pictures so I could just relax and enjoy the scenery. The stretch of road below seems to extend forever. You can see along the road for over seven miles at this point. The road is deserted, isolated, and pretty smooth. You can go fast here. Very, very fast.

My original plan was to drive to Kingman, Arizona and stay at the historic Hotel Brusnwick. I got there earlier than I expected to - about 4:00, and I wasn't really ready to stop driving at that point. The hotel only had a "cowboy room" available anyway, which is apparently a room that uses a shared bathroom down the hall. I politely declined, then went back to my car and starting looking for an alternative that was an appropriate distance away.

I mentioned Williams, Arizona in an earlier blog. Williams was about 100 miles further and had a similar hotel - the 115 year-old Grand Canyon Hotel. I liked Williams when I first went through but I hadn't stopped at the time, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity. They had several rooms available, and each is decorated with its own theme. I was allowed to wander around the hotel and pick the room I wanted. I was told that if the door was open the room was available, so I picked the one shown below.

Later I wandered around town. This is a really good Route 66 tourist gathering spot. There are lots of restaurants and bars, many with live music. One good one is Cruisers Cafe 66 where I had dinner and listed to a guy sing and play guitar.

I took this picture of what appears to be an old gas station turned gift shop.

Oh, on the way I stopped off in Seligman again at the Snow Cap. I talked to the daughter of the original owner and told her that 1969 Camaro out in back is worth a lot of money. She nodded and said that people are always trying to buy it. Turns out that her father was the original owner and the car has been in the family ever since, which makes it even more valuable to a collector. She said if she ever tried to sell it she knew her father would come back to haunt her. So I just left it at that.



Anonymous said...

Dad, this is twice in your blogs you have talked about cars. We want you to come back with 1 car, not 3!
Love you, Anna 8-)

Anonymous said...

Hey, Paul - you bet I remember the Albuquerque address song! I'm amazed you remember that!

Love, Sue