- I am grateful to my wife for not only indulging me on this trip, but for being by my side to experience it with me.
- I am grateful to Ed and Nancy for sharing the adventure with us, and allowing us to share it with them.
- With almost 3,000 page views, I am grateful to all of you who took the time to follow the blog, especially the folks at Thunder Roads Pennsylvania Magazine for carrying the blog on their web site.
- And finally, even though I'm not an outwardly religious person, I am grateful to God for creating what we saw and experienced on this trip, and for making it possible for me to do it.
Thunder Roads Pennsylvania Home Page
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Final Thoughts from Mike
It took me a little longer to gather my final thoughts, mostly because I wasn't sure what I wanted to say. Being home for a few weeks, I've taken note that the stories I'm currently telling are a bit different than when we first got back. Now, the stories being repeated are the ones most deeply embedded in my mind.
I certainly can't say we didn't encounter any difficulties. The mechanical difficulties caused delays that were more of an annoyance than anything else. But those faded quickly...about 10 minutes after we were back on the road. The heat related problems were more of a health threat and much more frightening.
After 31 days on the road and just short of 8,000 miles, what has stuck with me, and filled my brain to a point where I am now boring people talking about it, are three things...
First, the absolute beauty of this country. Beginning with putting our boots in the Atlantic Ocean, everything, including the mundane, took on new meaning as it became part of the journey.
From the buildings and cacophony of our Nation's Capitol, to the Virginia and West Virginia mountains, to the wide open mid-west heartland, to the majesty of the Rockies, to the "Loneliest Road In America" segment in Nevada, and ending the first leg of the ride with boots in the Pacific Ocean, it was nearly indescribable.
Route 50 was my "bucket list" item, and it gave me everything I hoped for: Originally native trails, then Pony Express routes, today's Route 50 provides challenging riding on fairly well maintained and marked roads, coupled with unbelievable eye candy! For me, the highlights were in the west: Pikes Peak, the Nevada Desert and EVERYTHING about Utah!
Riding the Cabrillo and Pacific Coast Highways from San Francisco to Los Angeles was relaxing and mostly familiar, as Juju and I had been on much of it before. The part we had not previously experienced was going through Big Sur. The mountain forest that sharply drops to the rocky Pacific coast line is something us easterners rarely get to see firsthand.
Near Los Angeles, the western end of Route 66 is on the Santa Monica Pier. This marked our turn around point and for the first time we were headed east. Route 66, in L.A. is...well...let's just say difficult. In fact, 66 in most of California is difficult...poorly marked and poorly maintained. Once in Arizona, it was better road, but still tough to follow. This is where I got us lost by about 50 miles.
Oatman,Arizona is a world of its own. A classic ghost town with wild donkeys literally running up and down the wooden sidewalks and dirt street. As Ed mentioned in his comments, the road from Oatman to Kingman was incredibly beautiful and obviously dangerous. This is where Ed and Nancy went down and their ride came to an unfortunate end (No major injuries, but hurt enough to make riding a motorcycle for another week a painful prospect. As of this writing, both are on the mend and the bike is in the shop for repairs). Juju and I continued along 66 to St. Louis before heading home, but it just wasn't the same without them.
The second thing that stuck with me was the outright kindness of strangers. On three different occasions, we found ourselves in rather dicey situations. On two of these occasions, members of our group were suffering from heat exhaustion and nearing heat stroke. The third was the accident.
In each case, strangers stopped to give us water, ice and comfort. I will always remember these folks; the concern they showed, and their willingness to help in whatever way they could. I will also always keep that in mind as I try to pay it forward.
The third, and perhaps most important thing I took away from this adventure was gratitude!
Posted by RVnHOGs at 10:36 AM