This is the last blog post from my Route 66 trip which went from July 18 to August 4, 2015 (17 days). It has taken me months to edit and select photos from a collection of over 1000 images, cobble together several short videos from a GoPro Hero 4 action camera and an Olympus OMD EM-5 MK II. Each of my postings averaged over 1400 words and if I was lucky, I would get one full night a week to work on the blog. The pace was slow and measured, but it gave me a chance to take a step back from the trip and see it with a different set of eyes. This winter I plan to sort through hundreds of video clips and produce a mini-documentary on Route 66 and my experiences along the way. My work has just started.
Over the course of this journey, I traveled just over 5282 miles (8500 kms), dealt with a broken video microphone, crazy traffic in Chicago, meeting a 4 day travel companion, Markus Foerster in Wilmington, IL, a motorcycle accident in Adrian, TX, re-uniting my good friend Ray Huston in Barstow, CA as well as Michael DiGregorio in Chandler, AZ. I rode from Adrian, TX to Barstow, CA and back to Ajax, Ontario on a damaged 2008 Harley-Davidson Road Glide which held itself together with stubborn resiliency and got me home safely.
Aug 2 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to St. Louis, Missouri
Over the course of the next three days, virtually all my riding was on highways. Not my preferred way to travel as the interstate highway system makes it possible to get everywhere efficiently and see nothing along the way. It is really quite boring and uninspired, but it had to be done.
I would treat myself to one final Route 66 kick, namely dinner at Missouri Hick BBQ in Cuba, MO. It was a lucky decision because it was their Sunday all you can eat rib special! My mouth is watering as I am this post and gazing at this image, their food is THAT good. Dinner was a bittersweet experience, mixed in with the tasty ribs was a feeling of sadness as it hit me that I must wait at least another year or two before my next Route 66 adventure.
After a decadent rib feast, it was back on the highway to St. Louis where I stayed at some boring, now forgotten, chain motel just past the downtown area.
Aug 3 – St. Louis, Missouri to Toledo, Ohio
Taking the direct route from St. Louis to Toledo, meant I could bypass Chicago and its crazy traffic. I expected an uneventful ride, but a bum steer from the new GPS cost me precious time, however, I traveled on some nice country roads and arrived in Toledo by mid-evening. As a rule of thumb, I always update the firmware and maps on a new GPS, but I did not trust the crappy motel internet connections. The maps were outdated hence, the bad directions. Ah well, it was a nice break from the interstate.
Aug 4 – Toledo, Ohio to Home in Ajax, Ontario
I had written about the arrival back home in a previous post, so I won’t repeat it here. That said, I was so happy to be home and re-united with my wonderful, lovely girlfriend, Missy Ayres and my two parrots, Lucinda and Freddy. It was really quite fitting to see a rainbow at my front door.
The Journey In Hindsight
Life does not always go as you plan. When I embarked on this solo trip, I did so with the intent to use as much time as possible to shoot many videos and interviews and explore a number of Route 66 attractions passed by on previous trips. It did not turn out that way and I fell short of my goals. However, it was misfortune that changed the journey’s dynamic in some positive ways. If my video microphone did not fail, I would have never met Markus Foerster, a Swiss Harley and photography enthusiast who became a great travel partner during four days. The time I wasted in Chicago trying to purchase a new microphone set in motion a series of events that led to to this happenstance encounter. Moreover, through another series of events, I would have never rode into a flash rainstorm in Adrian, Texas and lost control of my motorcycle. Providence spared my life and I count my blessing I have friends in Arizona, namely Ray Huston and Michael DiGregorio who offered to come to my rescue and helped make sure the bike was safe to ride home.
What was supposed to be a story about the history and people of Route 66 became a story of my own adventures and encounters with people. In some ways, this journey taught me more about myself, rather than the history and attractions of the Mother Road. Who am I to resist what life throws at me? Sometimes you just have to accept things for what they are and know that the best laid plans can go awry. Between the space of what you plan to do and what really happens is where life is lived. Even if that means having to deal with disaster and moving on, no matter if it hurts and can be dangerous. I count my blessings I have such a wonderful girlfriend, now fiance, and a two great friends in Arizona who always have my back.