Road Trip, Route 66

The Road is Calling

I grew up a Californian. The ocean, mountains, valleys and deserts all have a certain lure; the automobile was my ticket to ride, the vehicle that took me to all these majestic places. From my earliest days, the road was calling, begging me to explore.

I was on wheels at an early age…first a tricycle, then I learned to ride a bike when I was only five…motorcycles when I was 10. Sailing was introduced to to me when I was 8, and I became a water rat. An early dream to fly became reality in the early 90s. But my first love, the road, was always calling.


Even though I grew up in the muscle car era, hot rods had no appeal…sports cars like those I read about in Road and Track and Car & Driver were my dreams as a teenager. My dentist had an old Porsche 356…he saw my passion and gave me a ride one day. I was hooked!

The road was calling.

In 1976, my family took a month-long road trip from Southern California through Arizona and Nevada into Utah and Colorado; up the eastern spine of the Rocky Mountains into Canada and the glaciers of Banff and Jasper. Heading west, we drove south along the Pacific Coast Highway. We had delayed the trip one week so I could complete Driver’s Training. Learner’s permit in hand, mom let me drive a good chunk of the time. I must have logged 2,000 miles that summer, an experience every new driver should have.IMG_0218

The road was calling.

On my 16th birthday, I was at the DMV when they opened. I passed the test and for the first time I was behind the wheel on a public road alone…well, at least legally. An old Toyota Corona bought from my sister for $300 and a new clutch installed by me with her boyfriend’s guidance became my chariot. Every chance I had, I explored the mountain and coastal roads of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. I discovered that a great way for me to shake off teenage angst and trials was to go for a drive through “a dark desert highway.”

The road was calling.

Forty years later, the road is still calling. This time, it’s Route 66…the Mother Road…the road that Bruce Springsteen sang about…”the highway is alive tonight.” As Judy and I prepare to set off on our epic Route 66 adventure, I can hardly contain my excitement…looking forward to driving through the deserts of my youth, into the high plains of Arizona and New Mexico; tornado alley (in Spring, which might make things interesting) and into the Heartland ending in Chi Town.

The road is calling.

I’ve driven cross country once before, when I moved to the East Coast in 2003. I did it in two and a half days…challenging myself to log as many miles each day as I could. The final push was from the eastern border of Oklahoma to D.C. in 16 hours, with stops only for gas and food. It was a monumental feat, but I missed the exploration…the joy that is called the road.

This trip will be different. We’re taking our time…we’re going to stop at every kitschy photo stop, stay in classic Route 66 motels, and eat all-American style.

There’s a whole world out there, waiting to be explored. Go see it, because the road is calling.IMG_0222


Distractions – Southern California – Who Knew??

By Judy

OK, so here’s the thing, for all my world travels, the only time I had ever really been to Southern California was when I was around 8 years old. My aunt and uncle lived in San Diego and we went for a visit. My parents took my sisters and I to Disneyland for a quick day trip. I remember almost nothing about that day except getting VERY sick on the tea cup ride. SO … my idea of Southern California was created entirely in Hollywood.

Sitcoms, movies and my imagination all conspired to have me believe that the whole area called “Los Angeles” was flat and practically one gigantic neighborhood with sections for the very rich (Beverly Hills), the ultra yuppie (Valley Girls), the beach-types (Fast Times at Ridgemont High and a variety of sitcoms like Two and a Half Men) … stuff like that. Heck … you could practically WALK from Pasadena to Malibu right??

Then my guy, who grew up in the San Fernando Valley, took me out there to show me where he grew up and the Los Angeles area I spent three days having all my ideas blown to smithereens. (I’ve always wanted to use the word smithereens in a blog).

NOW I understand CHiPs! NOW I understand Emergency! (Remember those oldies but goodies?) NOW I wonder why there aren’t more TV shows like that … maybe it’s because with all the traffic and the whole area being so gosh-darned spread out like that how could they possibly FILM IT??

I can’t help but wonder what other wonders of the world are completely wrong in my head. I guess I better get out there and start exploring!