United States of America · 16 Days · 82 Moments · June 2018

2 July 2018

Bob Bentley set us up with a room at the residence Inn by Marriott where we could get cleaned up and once again we pack for red eye flights home. We had a do a dinner at a local Italian restaurant just a short five minute walk from the hotel. I have the shrimp cocktail (not pictured), a Caesar salad and a spaghetti carbonara dinner. We toasted or companionship, our perseverance, our ingenuity and most of all details from the road that will last a lifetime. And those of you who know me well, know that in my case there is no need for exaggeration or silly hyperbole for the sake of a few laughs. “Happiness is only real when shared“.
In the end, we finally made it to the Harley Davidson dealership near the airport. My speedometer read it 3052.0 miles in 15 days. We were overjoyed and overheated. The check in process for the bikes of Harley Davidson was surprisingly easy. We learned that they would ship not only whatever was in the tour packs And saddlebags, but also everything else that was attached to the bIke. So we all begin a mad scramble to re-organize and re-pack our suitcases to maximize what would go home with the bike and what we would take on the plane with us home. In the end, I wound up with one carry-on. The bike should be shipped from Las Vegas this week sometime and should arrive at my local Harley Davidson dealership in Winchester Virginia in the next 2 to 3 weeks.
After the roadkill Café, we continued on route 66. The two pictures below do not adequately convey the “magnificent desolation“ of the deserts of northern Arizona. The first picture simply shows how the roads stretches on seemingly forever. The second photo you’ll recognize as a panorama showing the road behind us and paning over to the road ahead. We made good time throughout the day, however the heat never left us. As we entered Nevada that he became so oppressive I could feel my contacts warming on my eyeballs and all of us have drain the water from our Camelback‘s. As we came in to Las Vegas, the temperature was almost 115° and so inconceivably hot when standing on a motorcycle waiting at a traffic light.
“Get a leg up!” is the phrase we used first thing in the morning as we got on our bikes. It was our phrase that meant the road lay head and the journey begin anew. Since we left before we could take it vantage of the super eight motel is free breakfast, we rode for about an hour before stopping at the roadkill Café for breakfast. The roadkill Café is located on route 66, and it’s menu does not disappoint.
So here we are: the last day. Just 260 miles to go to Las Vegas Harley Davidson where we will drop off her bike’s and have them shipped back home. We got an early start, leaving at 6 AM and the weather was 52°. Beautiful. Unfortunately it wouldn’t stay that way...

1 July 2018

On this last dinner of the trip, I finally realized my promise to Sharon to have something green.
So this last night is at a super eight motel in Williams Arizona. And wouldn’t you know the shower is easy to figure out, the showerhead is about 5 feet in the water flow is sufficient to rinse off the soap. Finally! The view of the pool for my room was tempting enough but I jumped him for half an hour and had it all to myself.
Of course, there is more to the Grand Canyon and ice cream. However no magic of photography can capture the stunning beauty in depth and just vastness of the Grand Canyon. You have to see it in person to appreciate it. (Sharon, I promise we’ll see it together!) Once again, it was just blisteringly hot there was no shade to park our motorcycles, and we walk to the visitor center and caught the shuttle bus to one of the main look out points (pictures are below).
This is a very special picture of one very lucky with two great friends. For more than two weeks on winding roads, straight flat out highway at 75 mph, through torrential downpours, through asphalt burning desert, It all seems so easy now.Every day of this journey has been an adventure and more importantly our travels together have been filled with joy, camaraderie, and brotherhood.
Well, the last major site on our epic route 66 motorcycle journey is the Grand Canyon. And what do kids scream for the Grand Canyon? Ice cream!
Nobody at the Galaxy Diner but mad dogs and Englishmen.

30 June 2018

After a wonderful afternoon at Michelle’s, we pulled into the swanky days inn in Flagstaff Arizona. After all the pizza and snacks I consumed this afternoon, I’m going to fast this evening in preparation for a killer breakfast tomorrow at the galaxy diner.
Spent the afternoon with my sister in her beautiful home in Sedona!!

29 June 2018

Once we arrive at our hotel, we usually unload the bikes will take a shower and then meet in the lobby to decide what to do for dinner. I will use the yelp app to find local restaurants and read some of the reviews. One of my favorite reviews is where the man tells the story of calling a diner and asking about the availability of outdoor seating.The woman from the diner replies “you have the wrong number”.Thinking that perhaps he was misunderstood, he calls the diner back and asked the same question. The lady replies “yes, I heard you the first time this is a diner not a shooting range.” For this, the reviewer gave the diner only one star. I swear I’m not making this up.
For dinner, your basic hamburger plus some Indian fry bread which is very reminiscent of funnel cakes from the beach. Fry bread is served with honey and quite good
A simple Reuben sandwich without the sauerkraut for lunch
And this is one of my personal highlights of the trip: a picture of me standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona.This is my favorite picture of the trip.
Finally, we crossed into Arizona. I realize you’re thinking “what’s with the picture of the truck?”Well, if you look very carefully you’ll see a dog behind the steering wheel. I stop, but no drive-through at the national petrified Forest Park. The line was too long to get in.
A pause on our way from grants to Winslow Arizona at the continental divide. Here, rain to the east of this point winds up in the Atlantic Ocean and rain from the west of this point winds up in the Pacific ocean.
A Nother sumptuous south western breakfast at Blakes Lottaburger in Milan New Mexico. I had to pick out all the green Chile bits.

28 June 2018

Here we are at one of the famous route 66 landmarks in Grants New Mexico.
From Santa Fe we motored to grants New Mexico expertly skirting Albuquerque. I wanted to surprise my old friend Rick Smith at his place of work in Sibal the hospital. Unfortunately, he was home recovering from pneumonia but made a supreme effort to meet us at the Wow diner. We had a wonderful evening of brotherhood and laughs. I had to thank especially Larry and Bob for joining us. Larry mentioned that having dinner with Rick was just like having dinner with me. There was no awkwardness or pregnant pause in the conversation, just left her about the good all daysAnd are telling Rick stories about our trip on route 66. The dinner prepared by the Wow diner was a custom preparation not on the menu and a tribute to Rick skill with the owner.
According to Santa Fe lore and the markings on these buildings, these are the oldest registered residences in the United States.
I did notice a rather obvious fashion trend in the south west: everybody wears cowboy hats. In fact, tenderfeet, Yankees, or other easterners are easily identified by their ball caps. I went into the famous Hatmaker O’Farrell in old town Santa Fe and the salesman there immediately set me up with the same hat worn by Robert Taylor in the western series “Longmire”. Each cat is custom fitted using a device from the late 1800s.The hats take 28 weeks to manufacture and are all 100% custom. I think this is a good look for me.Let me know what you think in the comments.
After Madrid, we drove up to Santa Fe to walk around the “Old Town“. When interesting aspect of these pictures is the balustrade that you see on the famous spiral staircase in the old chapel of Santa Fe. The original spiral staircase did not have hand rail or balustrades
Finally, we got off the interstate and route 66 for a side trip through Madrid New Mexico. For your motorcycle enthusiasts, you will recognize the town of Madrid as the serving for the movie “wild hogs“. Maggies diner pictured here was actually built for the movie as a set and therefore is not really a diner. The town is extremely quaint located in the middle of the mountains. The ride up to through and passed Madrid on our wayTo Santa Fe was just gorgeous.
Breakfast at Denny’s! Sorry, I started eating the pancakes before I took a picture. Also the accompanying scribble shows how we do our day-to-day planning.

27 June 2018

And finally, here is the cheapest motel in Moriarty New Mexico, the Motel 6 single queen bed room. The past several hotels we have stayed up I have noticed this trend where hotels are removing the second bed. It seems that these hotels right on the interstate how many transient workers who book a room for one person, pay cash and then end up using both beds. The third and fourth picture show you the view from my room as well as an example of the new single at the Motel 6.
Oh but we did stop at the blue sparrow Boetel for a picture. It is a famous hotel on route 66.
… But don’t worry favored readers of this travel journal. A few miles down the road Russell’s RV truckstop and museum is open 24 hours a day. As you can see, I ordered my usual. I should point out that we have seen hundreds and hundreds of wind turbines. The museum was great fun. Mr. Russell is 81 years old and quite retired. However his collection of automobiles motorcycles and memorabilia is quite impressive. Here’s a model T, a1947 Willys Jeep and Carmen Ghia for those who may know what those are.
Not much today because there’s just not a lot to see through the North Texas Panhandle it into the northeast corner of New Mexico. It is flat, desolate, with tiny hamlets small towns or gas station at the exits every 520 miles. We tried to start our day at the Mid point café, so called because they claim they are at the midpoint between Chicago and Los Angeles the endpoints of Route 66. Their tagline is “when you’re here, you’re halfway there”. We were there at 7:30 AM however they don’t open until 8:30 AM.

26 June 2018

So now we have a pretty good idea of the rest of the trip. Tomorrow night we overnight in Santa Rosa New Mexico, Thursday night in Santa Fe Friday night in Gallup New Mexico and Saturday in Sedona. Sunday we will leave Sedona and stop halfway between Flagstaff and Las Vegas, Monday in Las Vegas Tuesday drop off the bikes and Wednesday fly home.
One thing about the weather: it was hotter than I have words to describe. At one point during our trip today I looked at the weather and it said 100°. It is hard to describe how hot 100° is when riding motorcycle over asphalt.Fortunately, we are pretty well prepared. At the hotel and add water hole number two in Texella we filled our Camelback’s with ice. I’m happy to say that all through the day we were able to drink cold water during the trip.
A quick stop at the Cadillac ranch just outside Amarillo
Well, after a day like this, we were pretty miserable. But fortunately in Amarillo is the world-famous big Texas steakhouse that offers a free 72 ounce steak. Here’s the way the offer works: you sit in that big table in the center and pay for a 72 out steak, 4 grilled shrimp, A fully loaded baked potato and a house salad, and if you eat it all within 60 minutes, you get your money back. Well, we’re not gluttons so I just had the prime rib and we all split a brownie sundae dessert. No dinner tonight for us!
Here’s a great picture showing Route 66 into the right interstate 40.
I forgot to add our stop in Shamrock and a very famous gas station that has been completely refurbished back to the time of Route 66. A couple things to note: the “Elvis sat here” table and the six Tesla supercharging stations in the back.
Our map said to stop at Texola as it is a great example of an abandoned ghost town. As we got off 66, it was indeed pretty much deserted. However, the waterhole number two and tumbleweed grill was open much to our surprise. Judy owns the place for the past 12 years. She was on her way from Las Vegas to Memphis when her car broke down and having no money and no way to get it repaired, she stayed.Texola was a thriving community of 2600 souls in 1987 when interstate 40 opened. Today, only 36 remain.That is really the story of Route 66.
Well, 203 miles to Vega Texas, about 30 miles west of Amarillo.We said goodbye to the super eight at 7 AM and stopped about an hour later for some good old home cooking at the home Cookin café.

25 June 2018

And overnight at the luxurious super eight in Clinton Oklahoma. Oh, by the way, no elevator. And this picture is the promotional picture. Tomorrow, 207 miles are planned and we will pass through Amarillo Texas and overnight in the metropolis of Vega Texas. Vega has several of the most memorable tourist attractions along route 66, including the famous Cadillac ranch.
Our last stop of the day was the incredibly dramatic museum and memorial commemorating the bombing of the Alfred P Murrah building in Oklahoma City.The museum is very engaging and covers all aspects of this unfortunate event in American history. Definitely a highlight of the trip.
Another example of the crazy kinds of things you find along route 66: a motorcycle museum. Well, we just had to stop. These guys have the largest collection of motorcycles of all different shapes sizes and types of years. Even the first minibike I got as a kid growing up in Belgium. Also, right next to the museum an out house that I actually was the first to use real plumbing in Oklahoma.
A quick detour for this original route 66 Bridge still in use and this giant route 66 gas pump.
Another winning breakfast at Dots Café in downtown Claremore. There’s got to be at least a pound of bacon on my plate. Rain should be out by 10 AM and that’s when we will check out and get on the road.
Late start today because of the weather: 10 AM. It’s not the rain so much, but 50–60 mph gusts that keep us off the road until most of the rain has gone through. We got on the road at 10 AM and started with breakfast at Dad’s café where they give you enough bacon to almost cover the entire plate. My kind of place!
I sure don’t like it when I wake up in the weather looks like this. Oh well, let’s put on the raingear.

24 June 2018

After a very relaxing day in the hotel room, watching the storm and wind rain outside, we walked across the street to a small Chinese restaurant and got about what you would expect for eight dollars. There was something green on my plate, but I was able to set those aside. Tomorrow, breakfast at a local family restaurant, a visit to the OKC bombing memorial and then overnight in Clinton Oklahoma. The weather should be much more pleasant.
We all decided to take it down day today. Stretch out our back’s, rehydrate, check over the bikes and generally relax. We’ve gone 1200 miles already and it’s less than 1000 to go to Flagstaff. So tomorrow we go to Oklahoma City and visit the memorial and then ride another 70 miles and overnight in Foss Oklahoma. The weather has been pretty bad all day. While there’s been little rain, there have been high winds.
None of us like to wake up to this kind of weather. Looks like a delayed start today to Oklahoma City, which shouldn’t be a problem as it’s only 134 miles away.

23 June 2018

Overnight at the Super 8 motel in Claremore Oklahoma. Bob is feeling a little under the weather so I have plans for the next day or two are in flux.
As we were following the historic route 66 in Oklahoma, we suddenly found ourselves in a very treacherous gravel road which went on for several miles. At the end of it, we found this historic marker which told us we have been riding on the actual old route 66. This was a great part of the journey for all of us even though the road had not been maintained, the marker told us we had gone where we wanted to go.
Lunch at the Lil Café in commerce Oklahoma.They sure know how to cook burgers in Oklahoma.
And finally, we made it to one of Bob Bentley‘s bucket list items: the Mickey Mantle statue in front of the baseball field at Commerce high school in Commerce Oklahoma. Mickey Mantle was in fact one of the great switch hitters of all time as well as an excellent fielder. He had massive forearms and upper arms and was absolutely built to be a baseball player. His personal life was a mess. You can learn more on Wikipedia.
This is the original Marsh bridge.This was definitely off the beaten path but you can tell it’s official by the route 66 marker on the pavement in front of the bridge
This is just one of those interesting stops on the old route 66. A couple of photographs don’t do justice to the overall experience.
We got on the road promptly at 7 AM and headed over to the back roads diner where we had a delicious breakfast. The owner came by and asked where we were going. You know, we go into these eating establishments and we’re quite a sight for the locals to behold. Anyway, next time you’re at the back roads diner, look for my mark in the entranceway.

22 June 2018

Then back on the road to our hotel the Monger Moss Motel. This hotel has been in continuous operation for more than 72 years by the same family. We were warmly welcomed and given the history of the Lehman family, The hotel business and how the hotel has survived on route 66. We then headed across the street for bowling and pizza before turning in for the night. Tomorrow, 207 miles to Claremore Oklahoma.
We continue down the original route 66 about half a mile into the town center of Cuba, Missouri. Cuba is known for its wonderful murals painted on the sides of different buildings throughout the town. A small sample is shown here.
While waiting at Barnes and Noble, Bob and Larry engaged in Missouri couple and traded information about early fall travel to upstate New York for a recommendation on the best barbecue of the day. I don’t know what Bob and Larry told a couple about for traveling upstate New York, but the barbecue we had Missouri Hicks on the actual Route 66 was delicious. I had the brisket, pork sausage and pulled pork with their sweet and spicy house barbecue sauce. Also, baked beans and German potato salad.
On the road, a quick stop at “beetlejuice” Harley Davidson to see if we can replace the waterproof bag cover that Larry lost early on the first big day of rain. No luck so back on the road.
So now the adventure really begins! Bob and Larry and I sat down at breakfast and mapped out today’s travels and stops. It was a short riding day as Bob had to get his e-book reader repaired at Barnes and Noble. During the downtime, I headed over to Walgreens where the pharmacist diagnosed my bed bug bites as poison ivy.

21 June 2018

And finally, dinner at which can only be described as one of St. Louis is premier barbecue restaurants, Sugarfire barbecue. And let me tell you, it eats good. Tomorrow, our journey begins in earnest as we will be mapping out the sites to see along whatever is left of Route 66 between St. Louis and Las Vegas.
Now for the top of the arch looking west. I can’t wait to see it! Also, to give you an idea of what life is like at the top of the arch.
This is the view from the top the arch, looking east across the mighty Mississippi River. This means but St. Louis is the first city located west of the Mississippi, and hence the earned moniker of gateway to the west.
Then it was off to see the famous St. Louis arch. Designed in 1947, construction did not start until 1961 and buy a 1965 the arch was complete including funicular cars to take tours up and down from the top.
We finally made it to our hotel west of St. Louis in Fenton, and after a relaxing shower I discovered I’ve been attacked by bedbugs the night before. Believe me, the Econolodge received a very stern phone call from me demanding a full refund and I told them if they cared for such things I had some high color digital photographs to share with them if it became necessary.
Well, we got drenched. Soaked. Wet until you can feel your socks dripping on your feet. After about 30 minutes of riding through different intensities of rain, The clouds parted and the sun shone through and there was Wally’s fast food joint waiting for us with hamburgers french fries and a Coke.
First stop today was the museum of Vincennes’ favorite son Richard “read” Skelton.Red Skelton have a remarkable career that Spond traveling medicine shows in the Midwest, vaudeville, movies, television, a star attraction in Las Vegas. There are no other comedians that I’ve been so accomplished over so many different mediums and over such a long period of time.Great fun!
Looks like the day is starting with more rain. Fortunately, it’s only 172 miles to St. Louis so we can get a late start. After morning and early afternoon of blazing sunshine, The sky suddenly turned ominous. I urged my companions to press on noting that the clouds were south of us and moving westward and at most we might get a little bit of rain but not enough to justify stopping the ride and putting on rain gear.

20 June 2018

Introduced Bob and Larry to Cincinnati’s on skyline chili – three-way (spaghetti chili cheese). And that’s our waitress CassieWho told her some of the background and history of skyline chili. It was a smashing success!
After skyline chili, a white knuckle ride on 275 W. which goes around Cincinnati to get on route 50 for 180 miles to Vincennes Indiana the weather was perfect until the last hour when we had to stop and put on our rain gear and ride through a 15 minute torrential afternoon shower. Happily we arrived at the hotel completely dry
Another stop along the way to see the birthplace of US President Ulysses S Grant. However, we were too cheap to blow three dollars to go inside the house
Stopped along the way for a look at the mighty Ohio River
Breakfast at the eightball with 2 other eightballs in Manchester Ohio. As we sat down at the table, Bob realized Daley didn’t have his reading glasses for the menu. I told Bob “it’s eggs bacon home fries coffee, what do you need to read?Do you want to see if the salmon Benedict is fresh today?”

19 June 2018

This morning we started out and it was never hotter. After lunch, the rains came and we’ve never been wetter.
Lunch

18 June 2018

Dinner at Puccini’s! (and look who’s having a salad!)
Made it! Hey comfortable bed at the sleep Inn and suites in Cumberland – LaVale Maryland. waiting for Larry to arrive then dinner, top off the gas tanks and air condition sleep!
Here we go! Bob and I are ready!
The ride of 2200 miles begins!

17 June 2018

This journey across the country on a motorcycle has been a dream of mine high school and it’s a dream that Chris McKinney and I spoke of frequently during your college years. I first whispered this dream to Sharon many years ago, she has been more loving and supportive than I deserve. Then three years ago I took a 10 day journey with David Daley through Michigan in the upper peninsula have learned so much about motorcycle touring. Paige Ballard and Bob Bentley were also very supportive. Bob Bentley made shared his experience from his trip out west it several years ago and also purchased the first maps. But I am a lucky guy because Sharon believed in my dream, and while traveling by motorcycle is not her thing, her love, her grace and her support have been with me each and every mile. And by the end of this journey, that’s around 2900 miles.