End of the Trail

…day jobs, laundry, freelance, Target runs, repeat…we’re probably still on California time!! Wanting to relive the amazing roadtrip, we can’t wait to share our adventures with you via pictures, so hold tight! We’ll get to those as soon as we can. We’ve got everything from a day trip to the weird and wacky defunct Rock-A-Hoola Waterpark to night adventures in the half abandoned fishbone-coated, sandy beaches of Salton Sea Marina. We saw some crazy stuff and met some awesome people! Kumar, the owner of the Wigwam Motel, invited us to go SKYDIVING. Whoa.

Route 66 Polaroids

Meanwhile we’ve got the Route 66 Polaroid book creation unfolding. Scanning Party!!! As our main goal of this trip was to finally finish Route 66, it went hand in hand with finishing up the Polaroids of this crazy stretch of American history…including the end/beginning at Santa Monica Pier. And an insanely perfect end/beginning it was!

We snuck up on the famous (to us!) 66 to Cali booth right near the start of the Pier. Super lucky for us, that evening the man behind the counter was the man behind 66 to Cali, the man that helped give back a REAL end AND a physical sign to what had long been the spiritual end to Route 66 on Santa Monica Pier…one Mr. Dan Rice. While perusing the tshirts, we noticed Dan was bent over one of Jerry McClanahan’s spiral bound Route 66 EZ Guides–the one we followed religiously on all of our trips–scribbling notes in the edges. A couple in front of him watched over the booth. Dan looked up with this spark in his eyes and carried into what we can only assume was another one of many stories he had told them that night. He glanced over at us and asked us if we were at the start or at the end of the road. Turns out the couple standing there was heading out the following morning to do the entire trip in ten days. Awesome!! We explained how we’d made parts of the journey a few times (Chris 4 – Katie 2) but this was the first time getting to the end. He was so excited and the rest of the night we interjected our favorite diners and motels and oddities while Dan read through the EZ Guide, explaining who owns what joint and how nice they are. We told him about Fading Nostalgia and he was stoked that “young people” are still interested in keeping it alive. An atypical fog that had rolled in earlier hung heavy in the air as the time approached ten. Dan eventually got to the end of the guide and after keeping all of us there for a few oddly frigid misty hours…one could sense we all had to get going, but none of us wanted to leave. We wished our Route 66 bizarro travelers a great trip. We bought a couple things from the booth, including Dan’s book End of the Trail about his recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury, coupled with his love for Route 66 and the hope that lies ahead in life. We got a picture with him too–thanks to his vendor friend nearby–exchanged gratitude and wished each other well.

Meeting Dan Rice!

As we walked away from the experience, we could barely speak. It was just such an amazing and unique and perfect thing to happen to us at the end. And to have shared it with a couple just starting the trip? Well, it’s beyond compare. Definitely read up on how the Santa Monica Pier sign came to stand in that spot as it’s quite the surprisingly complex story. We really had no idea!

Santa Monica Pier - End of the Road

Santa Monica Pier – End of the Trail

So our luggage was a slightly heavier on the way home. In addition to several pieces of what some would consider garbage, but we consider pieces of Route 66 that will now sit on our dining room hutch…we have Route 66 souvenirs for all the Jumpstarters who contributed $66+! Be on mailbox lookout next week!! And if you didn’t catch the vid THANK YOU post on our Facebook page, here it is in all its cheesy glory! Seriously, this would’ve been more awesome if we weren’t simultaneously nervous about all the staring, public speaking, and Chris’s cell phone tucked into a paper cup perched on top of a tripod! But you all know how much we love you! Thanks once again everyone! WE DID IT!!

Showing 2 comments
  • dianalaurence@wi.rr.com

    Okay, I got all choked up reading this and the story of the End of the Trail sign! Ending Rt. 66 on a pier seems essential to me. One of the many cool aspects of the Road is that it is a symbol of west-bound exploration and expansion of the United States. In traveling from the well-developed and populated heart of the USA that is Chicago, across the plains, mountains and deserts all the way to the ocean, people who make the 66 journey experience their own little bit of the discovery of America. How can that feel complete until you arrive at the edge of the land and can go no further? Seeing you guys on the Pier was the moment of accomplishment: You did it, you finished Route 66!

    • Reply

      YES couldn’t have put it myself!! And it was quite inspiring, yet sad in a way…being able to go no further. I kept saying to Chris: Can you imagine what it would’ve been like for people way back…coming upon the ocean for the first time? Did they know that was it? Did they realize they found the frontier?

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