Sunday, July 10, 2011

Done & Done!

Day 24: 567 Miles
Final Total: 9,092

We made it! 9,092 miles and 28 states in 24 days. The entire length of Route 66 end to end; me traveling it for the third time and Sharon for the first. We also went the entire length of the longest road in the United States, U.S. 20, running a whopping 3,365 miles from the Pacific Ocean in Newport, Oregon to the Atlantic Ocean in Boston, Massachusetts. Plus several other significant legs along the way like north along the Pacific Ocean for over 1,000 miles and south along the Atlantic Ocean as well.

Someone asked me about halfway through the trip to tell them what three things I liked the best so far. It was an impossible task; I'd name three, then remember seven more I liked even better...then another seven. The task just became more difficult the more ground we covered.

The trip started out primarily to make the cross-country trek on Route 66 again, this time with Sharon who was as eager to go as I was. She made the trip so much better than last time when I went alone. Sharon is gregarious and loves to meet people. She can strike up a conversation with anyone, and often does. We wound up meeting several people along the way. People like Gary Turner at the Gay Parita in Ash Grove, Missouri; Laurel Kane at the Afton Station in Afton, Oklahoma; Jerry McClanahan the author of the EZ66 Guide for Travelers at his studio in Chandler, Oklahoma; Robbie at the Four Women on the Route store in Galena, Kansas; Blaine Davis, the curator of the famous Blue Whale built by his father in the 1970s; Connie Echols, owner of the beautiful Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri; Fran Houser, owner of the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas; Nancy and Kevin Mueller, new owners of the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico; Jody, the waitress at Lilo's in Seligman, Arizona; George Chicago, manager of Cool Springs Cabins on the Oatman Pass in Kingman, Arizona; and Matt at the 66-to-Cali shop on the Santa Monica Pier. Meeting new friends all along the Mother Road was a wonderful experience.

Visiting so many places I missed last time made this Route 66 trip almost like new. Custard at Ted Drewe's, exploring the dilapidated John's Modern Cabins, staying at the Wagon Wheel Motel, Supai Motel and the Lincoln Motel for the first time. Visiting new places like Afton Station, Pops, the Round Barn, the Bug Ranch, the Jackrabbit Trading Post, 2 Guns, and the Twin Arrows Trading Post. Then there was the great eateries like the Galaxy Diner, Lilo's and Midpoint Cafe.

And then there are the great places from before like the Hackberry General Store, the Cadillac Ranch, the Blue Swallow Motel and the Snow Cap Restaurant, just to name a few. I could go on and on forever, and that was just one quarter of the trip.

The remainder of the trip was amazing in its own right. We saw amazing scenery like the giant redwoods in northern California, the amazing Pacific Ocean in Oregon, Yellowstone National Park, Wind River Canyon (maybe the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen in the continental U.S.). Also, vineyards in Sonoma Valley and in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, historic structures like the Old North Church in Boston and the Shaker villages in Massachusetts; the New York City skyline and the Delaware Bay by ferry. I was able to share the beauty of Owasco Lake sunsets with Sharon as well as introduce her to the best part of the northeast - diners!

I'm quite sure I have left out far more than I have remembered to include. So what's next on the agenda? How do we top that? Maybe we never will, but it doesn't matter. There are so many possibilities for the future. Maybe a road trip to Alaska. There are also several other national roads to travel like Route 50 from California to Maryland, or perhaps Route 1 from Key West, Florida to the northern tip of Maine. And of course there is always Route 66 again, ever changing, always something new or something missed. Our list just continues to grow!

In closing I'll share a few last photos with you. The first is a silly one of a mini Statue of Liberty in Virgina. The other two are taken from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel as we traveled across it earlier today. And for one last time...


1 comment:

Aunt Mona said...

I'm glad you two are safely home.