Monday, August 11, 2014

The End of the Trail

With the decision to head directly to LA being made, we hustled along I-15 to where it meets up with I-40 in Barstow, thereby putting us back on (or next to) Route 66 for the final push to Santa Monica.  The Mojave Desert stretches all the way to Cajon Pass, where the old route still exists, and we followed it down into the LA Basin, where two things immediately became apparent.

It got twenty degrees cooler.  This was a very welcome thing.

You could see and taste the air.  This took some getting used to.

We worked our way into San Bernadino and onto Foothill Boulevard, where the old route took us past the other Wigwam Motel, neither of which I got to sleep in.  After stopping for my long-awaited In-n-Out burger, which I've heard so much about and is a West Coast exclusive, we realized we had over 35 miles of traffic lights left if we were to stay true to the old route.  We decided to move off Foothill Boulevard and onto Foothill Freeway, which worked great - for a bit.

There was an accident that had at least 3 of the 4 lanes  blocked, and we sat there again above our hot engines and the hot asphalt, as our arrival time got later and later. 

Now, we constantly hear stories - even heard some from strangers on this trip - about groups of friends or couples, who, out on the road for weeks, have complete meltdowns and end up in massive feuds.  One thing about my Donna and me; this is our therapy.  Any problems we have are at home, and the road is the cure for what ails us.  We are almost pathetic when we are on our adventures together, no matter what goes wrong.  It's pretty cool.

Here, however we did have a bit of a disagreement.

California, to my knowledge is the only state that permits (or tolerates) lane-splitting by motorcycles.  That is, you can zip right between cars whenever the spirit moves you.  This comes in handy when traffic is heavy, but the danger of doing this at 65 should be self-evident.  However, most of LA's freeways, we would come to find out, are moving at less than 25 miles per hour - five lanes across - at any given time.  And at this particular time, they were not moving at all.

This made us the only two motorcycles on the entire 210 freeway that were not lane-splitting our way out of a jam. 

Again, I point out that I have done the same in Jersey, where it is infinitely more dangerous because nobody is expecting it, and of course, illegal.  I hated it and don't do it anymore (much!)  And I would never ask my sweetie to do it while traffic is moving.  Don't want to see anything bad in my mirror that I would never forgive myself for.

But here it was becoming apparent that we would not be moving at all for some time, and every time a bike came scooting past us, I got madder and madder.  Despite my repeated pleas, I could not get buy-in on my scheme.  This became a bit of a domestic issue after a while.

I lost.

Eventually, we picked our way to the shoulder and rode to the next exit, which *is* illegal, but I did not care.  When we got to the next on-ramp, I saw that there were no cars on the freeway, so we forced our way onto it from the wrong lane (hey, we're lost tourists!) and had 5 lanes basically to ourselves for a while.

From there, we went down Sunset to Santa Monica Boulevard, and straight to the pier, where Dan Rice gave us our certificate of completion at his little Rt 66 kiosk on the pier, and we took a few commemorative photos before heading down Pacific Ave to Venice, where Donna had talked our way into an additional day at the beginning of our stay.  It was dark, but we were in a day early and things were about to get good. Again.

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