This day, our last, dawned clear and crisp. That was the good news. The bad news was that my e-mail had been hacked. It seems I was now selling Korean computers, which certainly is better than selling blue pills for men! I quickly changed my password and hoped that all was OK.
For at least half an hour, we'd heard the throaty rumble of 1950s-era engines as other T-Birds rolled into the Wigwam Motel. Here were our fellow T-Birders from several local clubs -- Inland Empire, Palm Springs and Southern California -- ready to accompany us in our triumphal drive to the End of the Trail in Santa Monica. In all, 12 Birds made the trip to Santa Monica, but not without incident.
Before we left the Wigwam, we lined up the four PSEB Baby Birds by one of the teepees with Les and Jo's "California or Bust" Bird in front. Perhaps one of the photos will see the light of day in a magazine?
We began as a grand parade on the freeway, attracting an unbelievable amount of attention. It was beautifully planned: Lucy was in the lead, followed by our little group, and Doc was the last car; they were able to communicate using hand-held radios.
Lucy had arranged for lunch at Bubba Gump's, a popular eatery on the pier that takes its name from the movie, "Forrest Gump." Sad to say, two of our group had to leave at this point: Earl still wasn't feeling well, so he and Jane opted out of the lunch and began the trek home. Also, Les and Jo had to beat feet homeward because Jo was due back in her office on Monday.
Lucy's lunch plans went far beyond the usual. She and the others who joined us on our tour to Santa Monica paired up with a PSEB couple and treated us to lunch! It was such a surprise and so generous of our T-Bird friends.
|Lucy presents a "Mother Road Musical Memories" CD to Nancy.|
Thank you, Lucy!
|Doc presents a certificate.|
We took Pacific Coast Highway, our old Malibu stomping grounds, out of the L.A. area with Duane and Nancy and Bill and Doris on our tail. It was a beautiful afternoon as we sped up the coast with the shimmering ocean on our left. Our goal for tonight was San Luis Obispo, which would put us in good striking distance for another T-Bird gathering tomorrow in Los Gatos.
As we went inland, the sputtering and gurgling we'd heard in the exhaust system when we were in Arizona got louder. By now we were sounding like a truck and as we came downhill into the valley, we backfired every time Gordon let up on the gas. I remember when it was cool to make your car backfire; not now however.
We plan to check it out tomorrow, but for now, it's another motel room in another town.
Saturday, Oct. 9 -- San Luis Obispo, Calif. --
Gordon was on the phone bright and early trying to find a muffler shop that could take a look at the Bird. He located one in Arroyo Grande, about 15 minutes south of SLO and was off by 8 a.m. Once they had it on the rack, it was obvious that the exhaust system was just plain exhausted! The head pipe needed to be replaced. This was something we could not have foreseen -- there had already been a lot of wear and tear on the pipe, but the continued driving at speed and the heat over the past 21 days had accelerated its deterioration. Although it meant we'd be late to Los Gatos, it was something that had to be repaired.
We left SLO shortly after noon and put the pedal to the metal to get to Los Gatos. Our hosts, Barbara and Paul Perry, live in a beautiful canyon surrounded by redwood trees. Barbara had met the other two PSEBers to lead them to her home, but we plugged the address into Gypsy and we had no problem at all. Actually, their house would have been hard to miss -- countless Baby Birds lined the road on both sides -- quite a sight to see.
Although he couldn't be there because of a family wedding in Las Vegas, Doc Dockter, who lives in the Bay Area, hatched the idea of this wonderful T-Bird gathering and did a lot of the behind-the-scenes communications and coordination. We're so glad he did! Thank you, Doc.
Once again we were struck by the genuine friendliness of other T-Bird owners. Perhaps it's because we share the love of an American icon, or perhaps it's that only really cool people own these marvelous machines. Whatever the reason, we revel in the camaraderie we experience no matter where our T-Bird takes us. Our thanks to all the Northern California folks who came to the Perrys' lovely home, and we thank Barbara and Paul for their delightful hospitality. We would love to have the chance to reciprocate some day.
And so our Route 66 saga comes to a close.
Would we do it again? In a heartbeat -- but we probably won't because the open road is calling us to new places: Canada Highway 1 through the Rockies, and the network of back roads from British Columbia into the wilds of the Northwest Territories and Alaska.
Do we recommend it? Absolutely. It gave us a look at a bygone America.
What did we learn? That Route 66 is alive and well . . . traveled, that is, not by the people who once supported hundreds of gas stations, motels and diners as they went from Point A to Point B. Instead, today it is a remarkable asphalt ribbon that is a mecca for nostalgia buffs worldwide who want to catch a glimpse of automobile travel in America as it was 70 or more years ago.
And yes, we DID get our kicks on Route 66.
Judy and Gordon