“All I Wanna Do is Make it to Santa Monica Boulevard” (apologies to Sheryl Crow)

Well….we made it! We woke this morning had breakfast and headed out from Arcadia to the Petersen Car Museum (on the must do list for all of us) via I-210 and 60. It was typical LA traffic and we had enough of it for John to say, “I don’t want to do that again”. But it is Friday and it is LA so a little more craziness than usual is to be expected. But Lord knows the normal level is more than enough for most people.

The Petersen Museum exceeded all our expectations with incredibly well presented displays covering several different eras and car types, and a very impressive motorcycle section. We spent 2 1/2 hours in the museum and that was not enough, but we had to move on to remain on schedule to be at the Santa Monica Pier and for me to have time to drive over to LAX to pick up Jonathan who flew in from Baltimore today to accompany me on our drive home to Ohio. Once we get home he will then fly from Columbus back to Baltimore and finally drive back to his home in Mt. Joy PA. It will be great to have him share the drive home.

We had lunch near the Santa Monica Pier at a place called “Surfing Fox”. Great restaurant with a diverse menu including chips and guac. I told our server Sadie that I’ve never really been a fan of guacamole, and was told by her that it was because I had never tried theirs. She was right! The entire meal was great and Sadie even stood in for a photo of us with their Route 66 sign on the wall in the background.

After lunch we made our way to the pier and took photographic proof that we had reached our final destination and done so on the time schedule we had set months ago. With all that could have gone wrong and didn’t, and what did go wrong that we hadn’t expected, it felt like a nice accomplishment to have stayed on schedule for 14 of the 15 day itinerary. We have to give credit to John’s considerable mechanical skills along with his problem analysis acumen for that! (for details read John’s account of the repairs/modifications made back in Springfield IL on day two of our trip)

The pier is an interesting spot and hosts an eclectic gathering of people from all over the world. While there I heard no less than five languages being spoken by folks strolling the boardwalk. Kitschy? Yes. Tourist trap? Yes. But totally worth it.

We’re all back at the hotel for the night now and looking forward to tomorrow morning and attending the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles fundraising “Walk & Play” event. It will be the last event we will be attending on this trek. We hope people will ask about the charities and donate as so many others have on this trip. After the event Mike and John will be heading back to Scottsdale where John will stay one additional night with Mike and Karla before continuing on to his home in North Carolina.

Jonathan and I will be heading back to Ohio by way of Las Vegas, Provo, Cheyenne, Omaha, Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Columbus. It will be a memorable trip as we will be stopping to visit Hoover Dam and then crossing the Rocky Mountains in what will be some very scenic country. We also hope to catch a baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the St. Louis Cardinals while overnighting in St. Louis. It will be great to do a road trip and spend time together with one of my sons. But today has been a long one for him (losing three hours with time zone changes is a killer that first day) and he is out as I write this. He tried to do some email before turning in but as you can see from the photo below that was a lost cause.

This trip has been a lifetime dream for me and one my brother and cousin have spoken of since we were teens. To have been able to actually pull this off and do so while giving back to those less fortunate has been tremendously rewarding and I will remember this fondly the rest of my life.

Some final observations. The old adage “you’re only as old as you think” proved so true these past two weeks. It was true while trading stories and jokes at lunch or dinner, when recalling events and times from our youth, and then of course those hours on fantastic roads for sports cars. All these things and more took us all back to younger days. It was wonderful and we all are grateful for having had this opportunity to share this adventure together. But the most profound thing I want to share is the confirmation I received on this trip, and that is that America is a big and beautiful country, and for the most part filled with wonderful people who have equally big hearts. It has certainly bolstered my faith in humanity.

So if you have ever considered driving the length of “The Mother Road” I encourage you to just do it. I don’t believe you will be disappointed, and I know you will discover new and wonderful things about this country and maybe even yourself. I certainly did.


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