MAY 17: Petersen Museum, Santa Monica Pier, END OF THE LINE! 

On this last day of our trip, we chanced to meet Dr. Roger Clemens, a research physician with many interests and teaching credentials, whose career cannot be summed up succinctly here. Suffice it to say, he was very interested in our quest to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis and Colorectal Cancer charities, and spoke with us at length about the ongoing efforts to beat these diseases at the genetic or DNA level. His primary focus seems to be diseases of children, but all our discussion seemed to apply to all people dealing with these diseases. This chance meeting on the last day of our driving campaign to raise funds was another of those wonderful serendipitous encounters we’ve been blessed with throughout this two-week trip. We parted as good friends, with intentions to follow his research more closely.

The relatively short but miserable drive from Arcadia, CA to Santa Monica, in loathsome Los Angeles area freeway traffic was well-worth the effort. But first, we visited the 3-story Peterson Automotive Museum in LA, and were blown away. The auto collection there is stellar, and always changing. Today, there was a huge Porsche Racing display, taking up most of the second floor of the museum, plus the Corvette racing cars from the 1950’s to present-day. Third floor held a collection of mid-20th Century one-off cars, prototypes, “dream cars” and cars used in movies. Remember the iconic “Cannonball Run”movie from back in the 1980’s? Well, they had the blue Shelby Cobra featured in that movie on display.

The first floor display was stunning: a just-completed collection of “Lowriders” that will be exhibited for a year. These cars represent an entire culture of art, people, machines, activities, and families. We sure learned a lot, and were speechless at the artistry and workmanship in all the cars on display. Elaborate engraving was found on almost every metal component, exquisite ornate paint jobs were a common denominator,  plus airbrushed portraits of children, wives, deceased folks, and sometimes religious or skeleton images. You don’t see these cars racing. They DO have jumping and dancing competitions, hard to explain, but done by using hydraulic-controlled suspension at all four wheels, so the car can actually jump off the ground at one end or the other, or dance by bouncing from one wheel to another in rapid sequence. The suspension systems allow the cars to be lowered to ground level, or raised higher for street driving. What an education we got! 

We were hungry, so headed to Santa Monica Pier to scope out the location for our last C3on66 event early tomorrow morning…and to find food. The closest restaurant we could find was the “Surfing Fox”, near the Pier. We were welcomed in by our new best friend Sadie, who was also our server. The food was super, Sadie was such a great person to help us out, the service and atmosphere were fine, and we got a photo with all of us in front of a sign saying something about “Route 66 End Point”. Yay, we made it!

Later, we walked the length of the Santa Monica Pier, and found a sign post there marking the “Official” end of Route 66. It probably isn’t the actual terminus of the Route, but it was sure good enough for us. We’ve put in more than 2400 miles to get here from Chicago, so we got photos of us under that sign and are calling it “Mission Accomplished”! 

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