Route 66 – Tour of a Lifetime (part three)

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This post is part three of our story, following Dave and Mary Jo Sullivan on their trip of a lifetime in their ’67 Firebird, as they drive from Illinois to California on historic Route 66.  Driving last fall in October, part two ended with them in 99 degree temps in the Arizona painted desert and petrified forest.  (As a cautionary note, please don’t drive that section of Route 66 in an old car in July, the heat might be unbearable!)  Part three takes us on their trip from Winslow Arizona (made famous by the Eagles song “Take it Easy”) to the end of the road on the boardwalk in Santa Monica California.

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Standing on the Street Corner in Winslow Arizona The ladies did a “Lets Kick Cancer” tribute at the gathering at Winslow. Very nice group activity to support the Susan from Alaska our Breast Cancer Survivor on the trip.

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After Winslow there is Wenona and Flagstaff where we cut up North to visit the Awesome Grand Canyon. This is a breathtaking side trip and it is worth spending a couple extra days in this area. Some people on the trip took the train from Williams to the Canyon but the trip by car is awesome as well. We visited the canyon then spent the night in Williams. Outstanding Route 66 community.

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Mary Jo and I together at the Grand Canyon along with John & Don and Linda & Marge.

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After we left the Grand Canyon we spent the night in Williams Arizona. Only 3 more nights left on this great trip and the friends we have made will be part of a special trip that has been years in the planning. At the Grand Canyon, we spent some wonderful time with John & Linda. They are from the San Francisco area of California and are a delightful couple. They had shipped their Corvette to a hotel in Chicago and then flew in a few days before the trip was to start in Joliet. They spent a couple days exploring the Chicagoland area before starting on the Motor Tour. Arizona was a state where Mary Jo and I could easily spend a couple months exploring as we hid from Illinois winters.

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Angel Delgadillo the Barber is the father of Arizona Route 66 Association and is credited with saving Historic 66 in Arizona especially Seligman. This town gets bus after bus of tourists from Los Vegas and California from tourists doing Route 66 on the way to the Grand Canyon.

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The Kingman Motor Club group.

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At the Hackberry General Store We met up with the car club from Kingman and they led us into Kingman where they hosted a car show and a cookout for us and fed the entire group from the Motor Tour. This was the 3rd year in a row that the club has done that for the tour.

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On the Road to Oatman the road is filled with interesting places to stop and observe the desert. After Cool Springs the roads wind out into the hills and the roads are 20-25 MPH many places. At Oatman the town has staged gunfights in the streets. Wild Burros come down from the hills and wander in town begging for food. They stand in the streets in will not move till someone escorts them out of the way. It’s not uncommon for hundreds of people to be visiting during the afternoon at the village. Awesome town.

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Dave said this little burro stayed right there and refused to move, backing up traffic for about five minutes, until a kindly storekeeper came out and asked it to move!

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Big Dave stands with the town Marshall while wearing a Firebird Friday Shirt and hat.

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Gunslingers in the streets!

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“I’ll move if you feed me.”

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As we cross into California Needles is one of the fist stops.

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At our hotel in Barstow California many of us gathered before dinner for a photo op.

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At the Bottle Tree Ranch I meet the many who have created “Bottle Art”

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At Victorville we visited the Route 66 Association Museum.

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We spotted these “hippies” hanging out in a VW micro-bus.

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As we arrived at the Santa Monica Pier we were able to park our cars on the historic wood Boardwalk. Now the group will gather for the Group photo at the famous “End of the Road” sign.

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These photos are with Don & Marge Johnsen from the Chicagoland area and our dear friends who traveled with us the entire trip to California and back. They had traveled 66 a couple years before and were so very helpful to us in the navigation and in planning the trip. We all are planning a Road trip in Michigan with many of the people from the Midwest who were on this trip with us. Great Fun.

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Mission Accomplished! (Now how do we go home?)

This concludes our Route 66 portion of the trip and it was about 2,400 miles with the side trips. This was such a wonderful experience, and the people we met and the friends we made along the way really made it the trip of a lifetime!

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So now that your vintage Firebird is in California, over 2,000 miles from home –  what’s next?  Stay with us for our final post of this series as Dave and Mary Jo take a different, but equally interesting and scenic, route home.  Dave highlights their extended trip up the coastal Highway (Historic Route 1) to the “Golden Gate Bridge” and then back home on the Lincoln Highway and Pony Express Trails as they ventured back home to Illinois!

(Story and pictures by Dave and Mary Jo Sullivan.)

Midwest Firebirds

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