Wednesday, June 29, 2011

End of the Mother Road

Day 11: 403 Miles
Total: 3,319 Miles

Well, we made it! I'm a day late (we arrived on Monday) so I'll try to get caught up. We left Needles early Monday morning, before 7:00am, to try to avoid the heat as much as possible while we were driving through the Mohave Desert. It turns out that we needn't have worried. While it was 113 degrees in Needles on Sunday it never got out of the low 80s through the desert.

There wasn't too much to look at other than the beauty of the desert, but I did get a few shots in of thinks like spray can art.

Lots of abandoned places in the desert too, some restored or partially restored.

We came across the site for an old cult movie by the same name.

A great museum in Victorville, California.

And the third in a series of tepee-style motels. Here's were it got a bit tricky. We wanted to stay here since it would be our last chance, but we made such good time to this point (it was only 1:00pm when we arrived) that we decided to forego yet another tepee and arrive at Santa Monica Pier a day early. We were about 80 miles from the pier at this point so we shot a couple of photos of the motel and pressed on.

It was very difficult to get shots of some of the remaining old Route 66 features along Foothill Boulevard in the LA suburbs because of heavy traffic, but we did our best. There are a surprising number of survivors amidst the strip malls, condos and restaurants that litter the way.

And finally...four hours and 80 miles later...we made it! This sign was put up by the city of Santa Monica just a couple of years ago to mark the pier as the "official" end of Route 66, though technically the Mother Road actually ended a few blocks away at the nondescript intersection of Lincoln and Olympic.

After hanging around the pier and basking in the glow of our trip we decided we were up for the task of driving back to the Wigwam Motel after all. We took I-10 most of the way, reducing our drive time to about an hour and a half. We crawled in, exhausted.

So four years later, this time with a lovely travel partner, I made my third journey across the Mother Road. It was the same, and it was very different. The Road constantly changes, businesses come and go, icons are torn down, icons die, ruins become more ruined, new icons emerge, while the scenery is everlasting. I saw many things and experienced the joy of meeting many new friends this time. So much so, in fact, that I can't wait to do it again.

Meeting the characters of the Mother Road was perhaps the greatest joy of all. That, and realizing I have a travel companion who is very much in sync with my travel habits, affording me the pleasure of knowing that I don't have to make this journey alone.


1 comment:

aunt Mona said...

I'm so glad you got to do this, and Especially now that we have met her we hope the two of you will travel together for the rest of your lives.