June 10-24, 2008
What a ride! On Wednesday, June 10, I left for a solo ride of Route 66, the "The Mother Road". It was a great ride of contemplation, discovery, and solitude. All-in-all I covered 4833 miles (including a conference in Los Angeles and racing back to Michigan to fly out to South Africa).
Due to a busier than usual semester I did not spend much time planning the ride. The limited planning included downloading the GPS coordinates for the various routes which form the Mother Road (www.route66info.net). I also purchased the EZ66 Guide for Travelers by Jerry McClanahan and the Here it is (Ghost Town Press) map set. As I looked over the GPS routes, I decided to follow RT66 as close to the original 1927 route as possible and to do about 300-400 miles a day.
Other equipment included purchasing a "Cool vest" long sleeve jacket and a 1400 Pelican case for my Nikon D300 and laptop. I can recommend both products to enyone riding into heat and with electronics.
With no no desire to enter the morning rush hour of Downtown Chicago, I joined RT66 in Joliet, IL and stayed close to my covenant of not going onto the superslab unless demanded by the Route. In the process I passed through the downtown of St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Los Angeles, to name a few cities along the way. I even managed some off-road riding in New Mexico and Arizona.
I left Missouri riding through a major storm, part of a system that later flooded Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and much of the Midwest. Otherwise there were blue skies throughout. The Mojave welcomed me with 117F heat, but the "Cool Vest's" evaporation kept me comfortable throughout.
Santa Monica arrived with the cool breaze off the Pacific after MUCH afternoon rush hour traffic through Hollywood.
In Los Angeles I attended the Society for Pastoral Theology meeting and rushed home to Michican, doing two 800 mile days followed by a 600 mile day.
This ride does not rival the trip to Alaska last year, but it is a ride I'll remember fondly for a long time! Whatever kicks RT66 offered me was fun!
A few images etched in my mind:
I apologize--no pictures, but scary traffic due to construction on I-80. I guess the adrenaline of the first day assured that I did not take a single picture in the land of Lincoln.
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, shortly after 6am; a mural in Cuba; and, "another giant."
The 12.7 miles of Kansas brought SIGNIFICANT THUNDER, LIGHTNING, and MUCH RAIN as I left Joplin for Galena. A friendly gas station--truly Samaritan-like--allowed me in despite being soaking wet. The manager and teller offered me two cups of free hot chocalate as we all waited for the storm to pass. I left with rain still coming down, but no visible thunder or lightning.
Route 66 (RTE1020) near Hydro is still cement with curbs on the side and weed growing as a center line; the National RT66 Museum in Elk City:
Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo), ghost towns, Shamrock (and the Cars Movie) and heat:
Even Big Oil did not survive... My route took me to Sante Fe and Albuquerque and somehow I managed to do that without any pictures.
Winslow; Painted Desert National Park; Petrified Forest National Park; The Wigwam Hotel (Holbrook); The Grand Canyon; Seligman; The Mojave Desert, Oatman.
Santa Monica, the end of an amazing journey!
Back home in Michigan after 4833.4 great and trouble-free miles on the 12GS!