We began our travels today after a great sleep in the wig wam. It was quiet and peaceful, even being in the heart of the city.
Today we set a course for Santa Monica-where Route 66 ends. As we drive on towards the end of the route, we have been reflecting on the beginning when we started off from Chicago, and couldn’t imagine the end at that time. I think one of my favorite sayings from the movie Hope Floats says it all at this moment:
Beginnings are usually scary,
endings are usually sad,
but it’s what’s in the middle that counts.
I love middles, they are usually where all the flavor settles; chewy, yummy, just the right mix of everything happens in the middle, and sometimes some surprises. Yup, so we are savoring today’s drive as it still counts as being in the middle.
We stopped and visited the McDonald’s Museum, the site of the first and original McDonalds. This was really interesting, and brought back memories to my first trip to a McDonalds when it opened in Niagara Falls. I remember the old architecture of the Golden Arches, and the wrappers of the burgers.
As we travelled on our way, some cities and towns embrace their history with Route 66, and made it clear we were on the route.
We found that many drive-ins along Route 66 had closed, but the towns kept the original marquis to use for community announcements, similar to this one in Azusa.
Here is something I really liked- the bike lanes are separated by a green stretch, I would ride my bike here!
As we got closer to LA, the traffic and the landscape changed drastically. We lived here many years ago, but this traffic is exponentially worse than when we were here, and far, far worse than Northern Virginia traffic. The other thing we notice, there is a loss of neighborhoods, a loss of community. There are stores, gas stations, restaurants, industrial parks, apartment buildings, homes, and they are all packed in together. No delineation, no apparent plan for development, just developed, every square inch- we can see the hand of development on each bit of the landscape.
Driving the last few miles of Route 66 was time consuming. The heavy traffic was a constant on the roads.
We eventually find our way to the end of the route. A Route 66 End sign marks the spot, along with a great diner! What better way to celebrate than to to take refuge at this oasis of the road, at the end of the Route.
Mel’s Diner was a great place to get a meal, because we were really hungry, and it turns out, Mel’s has certificates for those who complete Route 66! Thanks Lexi for some great service and taking our photos!
We headed back into the traffic to find our B&B, which turned out to be a beautiful respite; it backs up to a wildlife refuge, with views of a stunning sunset.
While we completed the official Route 66 drive today, we still have some things on our list to see: the Santa Monica Pier has a retail end of Route 66 sign (It is not the end of the Route, it is a sign on the pier to get you out onto the pier and do pier things. Report on pier things to follow). We also want to visit our home when we lived here in California.
That is for tomorrow, tonight we relish all the middles, which is where this journey unfolded. These wonderful 28 days traveling Route 66 truly was a journey, and so much more than just a destination. Our B&B gave us some wine and treats to enjoy on the deck. If you ever take the drive, and need a place to land, try the Inn at Playa Del Ray. It was the perfect ending.
I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.Susan Sontag
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