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December 2013 Club News

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Route 66, 2012 - continued from August issue

Trudy’s version with a little help from Chester

On route 66.
DAY 11

After breakfast it was off to look at the sun rise over the canyon. Breathtaking views. There were lots of trucks on the road today. They are there every day but this day it seemed there were more. It was non stop trucks. We were constantly having to pass them or be passed as they often drove well over the speed limit. At one stage we hit 95mph. It seems normal that everyone speeds.

On we went through Williams, the last town bypassed by the freeway, on to Seligman. This is a town that is being brought back to life by the local barber. Angel Delgato has worked very hard to make the town a highlight. Lots of the old stores have been done up in the old style and are thriving businesses. Lunch was at the Road Runner Café.

This is where we headed into the Mojave Desert. It was getting warmer. As we drove into Kingman, the traffic was getting a bit heavier and we saw another accident on the freeway. We stopped for fuel here and we all collapsed in the shade of a tree at the servo. Anything to get cool. It was another “free” ride to Oatman. This is an old gold mining town that has been restored to its former glory. You really do feel like you have stepped back in time. Mules strolled the main street hoping for a treat from the tourists. The babies had masking tape on their foreheads with a message telling us that their mammas didn’t want us to feed them.

We stopped to check out one of the diners. The walls and parts of the ceiling were covered with one dollar bills. There were thousands of them everywhere you looked. It is at this diner we got our first feed of fudge. We know why they like it. But it is oh so sweet and not very good for the diet. We bought a selection and fed the whole crew for the next few days.

Laughlin was our stop for the day. We stayed at the Aquarius Casino. They are not like the casinos at home where the accommodation is separate from the gambling area. As soon as you walk in the gambling is in your face. No way to avoid it. Chester gave Trudy permission to have a go at the pokies. Not that he really had any say in the matter. Trudy is useless and never has any luck at the machines. They gobble up the money faster than you can blink. We dined at the Italian Restaurant at the back of the casino. While looking out the window, we saw skunks running about the gardens. They are quite tame and come onto the grassed areas to scavenge food from the outside diners. The temperature reached 97 today. It’s getting warmer.

DAY 12
The morning started with a champagne breakfast at the casino. What a spread. You could eat breakfast or dinner. We are sure some people were just heading off to bed after their night in the gambling rooms.

Hoover Dam.
This morning we got to see the Hoover Dam. It is huge and amazing to see. We saw the documentary about the making of this dam not long before we left home. What a huge task to build it. There is a lot of security here and we had to leave the support vehicle in the top car park. We rode down through the valleys until we reached the checkpoint. You can understand their fear of sabotage of this dam. It supplies a large percentage of the power to the States. It was ice creams under shade at the lookout. It was still getting hotter.

Trudy and Chester at the Las Vegas entrance.
This day’s riding was a detour from Route 66. This was so we could visit Las Vegas. What a place. We rode in to town with all the traffic. The amazing buildings were everywhere. Our casino was the first on the strip, The Tropicana. The day was our own so we decided to take in a show. We booked tickets through the reception and then headed off for a walk along the main drag. The extravagance of all the casinos is mind blowing. It was easy getting lost in the casinos.

They love to let you in, but there are no signs to show you the way out. We only visited a couple of places as we didn’t want to overdo the walking with Chester’s knee. It was going to be a bit of a walk to see the show. The New York, New York spectacular was unreal, with full on streetscapes inside the building. MGM had movie theatres everywhere. You could spend all day and more checking out all the sights. When we finally made it back to the Tropicana, it was time to get ready for the show.

Check in was an hour before the start. They told us the theatre was only two blocks away. They did not mention how big the blocks were. So off we headed at a moderate pace. 30 minutes later we reached the end of the first block. Time was running out. So we stepped up the pace and finally made it to the entrance of the mall. Trudy checked her wallet for the tickets only to realise she had left it in the room. Too late to go back, so we decided to find the theatre and see what could be done. Well the next question was “Where was the theatre?” Just in the door, around the corner, along a bit and to the left. It took another 15 minutes to find it.

Well we were in luck. By doing the booking at the reception, all our details were on file and all we had to do was show our ID. Whew. We made it. We dined in a small café and got talking to a young girl at the next table. Eventually her parents joined in. They were both in the army and had come to Vegas for a break.

Show Time. We saw The Vegas Show. It was a musical telling the story of the old casinos and stars who had performed in them. The Rat Pack, Elvis, Tina Turner, Lionel Ritchie and so many more. The show was very slick with amazing costume changes and great singing. When it was over we headed back to bed, calling in at the Hard Rock Café. It had a giant motorbike sticking out the front of the building. The rest of the crew was supposed to be having tea there. They were all gone so we carried on. The street was crowded with all sorts of people. Tourists and stall holders, buskers and heaps of people in costumes. We never saw so many super heroes before. There were several Michael Jacksons, Autobots from Transformers movie, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe to name a few. Just one big playground. We are glad to have experienced it, but not that keen to go back.

DAY 13
Heading out from Vegas, we rode through more desert. Huge solar power stations appeared like mirages. It took us a while to work out what they were. As we rode on we noticed lots of small camps in the deserted plains.

Everywhere you looked there were humpies and lots of nothing. Every now and then there was a bit of a town and then more humpies. They were not side by side. Each camp had several acres to it. Apparently there is assistance to help people live here. It is cheap living. We wondered what there was to do and how desperate people were to live here. This went on for miles.

Chester and the bottle trees.
The shrubs were disappearing now and it was looking more like the deserts in the movies. We stopped to see the Bottle Tree. This is a weird collection of bottles from all over world. The old guy that has set it up was a bit crazy. He knew where every bottle came from. We asked him if he had a Darwin Stubby- and he did.

The roads to Los Angeles were long and straight. We noticed that many roads had dedications. This strip out of Vegas was dedicated to war veterans from the various campaigns that the US soldiers had fought in.

Amboy is the sight of a huge crater. You could see lots of lava flows along the way. The blackened outbreaks covered a really big area.

The afternoon stop was at Roy’s Motel and Café. It reminded us of the motels on the Nullarbor.  The hotel is not used any more, but it has all been painted up and looks like a real oasis when you ride up to it in the heat.

It was our last night on the road and we stayed at Victorville. A real industrial place with mining and slag heaps. Not a pretty spot at all. We all got together in the dining room for a celebration. It was a really good night and there was a feeling of excitement as we all realised we were almost there. The end of Route 66.

DAY 14
The last day of tiding our final leg of Route 66. The old road is very winding and would have taken too long to get us into town, so we rode over the mountains and into Los Angeles. As we climbed the mountains it got colder and colder. We got as high as 10,000 feet. Half way up we stopped to check out the view and get into some warm clothes.

This was the first time Chester had got out his cold weather jacket. We put all the liners in and pulled on the long johns. Trudy’s fingers were so cold she could hardly do the buttons up on her jeans. It was freezing and we still had a way to go. We were riding in the clouds and there were rock falls along the way.

Half way down the other side we stopped at Newman’s ski chalet. We were all keen to get a hot drink to warm us from the inside out.

We all stuck to LaLa’s tail as we headed for the freeway and the last few miles of Route 66. There were so many vehicles on five or six lanes of highway. The cement walls on either side made you feel like you were in a tunnel with no way out. You sure needed to know where you were going ‘cause if you didn’t you would never get off. LaLa didn’t slow down for us and we reckon it was the tightest pack we had made on the whole trip.

Chester and Trudy and the group at Santa Monica
We went through so many traffic lights and turned heaps of corners before we saw the ferriswheel at Santa Monica Pier. There was the arch right in front and on we rode our bikes onto the pier. People were staring at us and the Japs especially had their cameras out. We must have looked a sight. We turned off into a parking lot on the pier.

We made it. Everyone was so emotional and excited to have reached the end of the road with no major mishaps. With hugs and tears and slaps on the back we headed back to the main thoroughfare for the final group photo under the official end sign of Route 66. We were so surprised by our reactions to this. There had been stresses on the way that had built up but there was also the satisfaction at having completed this very special journey.

To celebrate we went to lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Just like from the movie, ”Forest Gump”. After lunch we wandered down the board walk to the water and dipped our toes in the Pacific Ocean.

Heavy traffic on the pier.
We had one last ride ahead of us. We had to get to Eagle Rider Headquarters. That meant going back into the crazy traffic. We rode alongside LaLa and slightly behind. There was no way we were gonna get lost at this late stage. Well we nearly stuffed it when we thought LaLa was riding through the intersection. She stopped short and we had a screaming skid to stop the bike locking up the brakes. We were only a 100 yards from our destination and Chester nearly upended the bike.

We pulled into Eagle Rider HQ and all the technicians came out to sign off on each bike, making sure there was no damage. Then they bussed us all to the Marriott hotel near the airport. Eagle Rider had organised a big party for all the riders for the evening and it was an early departure the next day, so we decided we had better try packing our bags.

There was no way the stuff we had collected was going to fit into our cases. We now had two bike jackets each with all the other bike gear and our ever-growing collection of T-shirts. So it was a mad rush to get down town to buy a case. We found a bus and got help from the driver to get us to the right stop. Nothing was easy, but we eventually made it to Kohl’s- sort of like a giant Myers but cheaper.

The queue at the checkout was small, but the people in front had exchanges and did not seem to be in any hurry. Then it was our turn and we organised them to get us a taxi and before we knew it we were back at the hotel loading the new case and then getting ready to party.

The main shop area of ER HQ was turned into a dining area. The stairwell was the stage for the live music. There was heaps of food and grog. Party hats and treats were everywhere. All the staff thought they were singers and took turns at the mike.

LaLa was amazing. We suspected her of having a good voice on the tour. She was always singing songs in the morning to get us fired up. Well she had us all cheering with her rendition of “Get your kicks on Route 66” and several other numbers. Chester got an award for being the best patient. All in all a great night.

DAY 15
After breakfast, we did our final packing. We locked the new case and decided we needed to take some stuff out. Well we couldn’t undo the combination lock and had to organise hotel maintenance to send someone out with some pliers to cut it off. We sorted the packing and were so glad that we had emptied some things out as we were right on the weight limit.

We had filled the case with anything that would not be needed for the rest of our trip. We still carried a jacket and the helmets, but at least we didn’t have to worry about all the other gear.

So here ended our big trip across the US of A. We were so glad that we did it. So many good memories and great friends. There is a great tour of Canada that looks very tempting for 2014. We’ll see...

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