Day 31 - America's Main Street.

As we sit here in our modern hotel with a room overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean we are overwhelmed with the thought that we are home. Yes we still have the 400 mile trip to get to our condo, our couch, our TV, our bed and of course, our cat, but California really is home for us.

Beth was born on the San Francisco Peninsula and, although I was born outside of Chicago, where we began this crazy journey, my family moved from Illinois to California when I was 3 months old, so I've never known anything but this.

As you travel Route 66, The Mother Road, America's Main Street, you can't help but think about all those that traveled this road throughout the last century in a quest for a better life. We had watched "The Grapes of Wrath" before our trip and so many times as we were driving the old road we thought about that family in the Steinbeck novel and how hard, and HOT, it must have been in that old rickety truck they traveled in, with all their possessions tied to the roof and the hood. What a journey that would have been.

We also talked, many times, about what it would have been like to travel over the same terrain in a covered wagon and I always joked, "Well for starters, I'd stay in the slow lane". But the fact remains, we traveled in style and we traveled for adventure not because of necessity. In our little "spaceship", the Chrysler 300, we have had the benefit and the blessing of luxuries and technology that Steinbeck's family could only dream of.

I also couldn't help but think about the parallels of this journey and the journey that my mother and father made in 1963. My dad came to California for work and they packed up the kids, left Illinois and came to a new life here on the coast. What a pleasure it has been to go back to Illinois, see the old house I was born in, the small town my mom grew up in, and meet people that actually knew my family, my Great Grandfather Tipp and even my Great Great Grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Meade.

All too often, as an adult, I have made fun of "the fly-over states", the states you fly over when you travel between California and New York. All along the way we met people that were kind and took time to meet you, greet you, and in many cases assure that your memory of "their neck of the woods" would be a great one.

Route 66 is an intoxicating drug. There is an allure to it that is unmistakable. You drive it and you look back over your shoulder and,  in almost every instance, you want to drive it again. (Although the bumpy parts of the CA desert with a headache are pretty tough). And, you CAN'T see it all. So many times in the past weeks we would drive by something and say, "put that on the list" of things to see on our next trip.

We'll make this journey again and the one thing that Beth and I can both wholeheartedly tell you is this, make a point to get out there. See a bit more of the country that is not in your comfort zone. Stop at the smaller diners and make a point to say hi and introduce yourself. You'll meet some great people, you'll hear some amazing stories and you'll create memories that will last forever.

Oh, and one other thing… take a few photos, because you'll want to tell your story to others as well.


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Reader Comments (12)

That was great guys... thanks for taking us along with you on yet another adventure... looking forward to the next one!

Sunday, July 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Stennet

Awesome! Thanks for taking the time and effort to share all of this.

Sunday, July 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSam Brown

Thanks for sharing this great trip with everyone. It's not everyday you can travel across the country from your computer at home.

Sunday, July 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJason Alger

Although not everyone can take the time to do Route 66 for a month you should know that there are some wonderful parts that can be enjoyed in the Southwest. you could even drive out from LA or fly to Albuquerque and drive back... but do it!!

Also, we just watched Cars again last night after finishing the blog and if you stay till the end of it you can read a who's who of places to go see that Pixar credited as inspiration for the movie. Take a look at it... its fascinating.

Monday, July 5, 2010 | Registered CommenterBeth Fenwick

i loved every mile! Let's go again! Love, Mother

Monday, July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Fenwick (Mother)

Chris & Beth,
Thanks for taking this awesome trip. I'd love to take it some day, pretty much for all the same reasons you guys took it.
What a wonderful experience!

Monday, July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Roehm

Chris and Beth,
Enjoyed treking with you via internet on Route 66, and all the wonderful posts, photos and videos. Maybe next time you find your way back to the midwest, my father Tom Harrold and I will have the pleasure of meeting you at the Fithian house and farm Such a pity it didn't work out when you were here, but am so glad you crossed paths with "Scottie" and Juanita for your mom.
Happy trails the rest of the way home and a safe journey.
Becky Harrold Kuchefski.

Monday, July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecky Harrold Kuchefski

Chris and Beth,

What a wonderful blog...had a wonderful time reading it. I thought of something to write on just about every entry, but I didn't want to be a "blog hog." Now how many times do you get to say THAT? :)

Be well!

Your pal on the pier,
Dan Rice, "66-to-Cali"

Saturday, July 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan Rice

Dan... "Blog Hog" away... its great to hear from you and welcome your input. If you have the chance you may want to listen to the interview we did on the Saturday after we got home to Northern California. (you get mentioned there too).

We are talking with the producers of the podcast already about putting together a "Route 66 Photo Safari" and when we do we will CERTAINLY be bringing people to see you and use some of your input on things to see... (ie, La Posada).

Take care, great hearing from you.

Chris & Beth

PS, SERIOUSLY... share anything you want...

Saturday, July 10, 2010 | Registered CommenterBeth Fenwick

Great interview on This Week in Photography!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark Jensen

Mark (and everyone else) Thanks for taking the time to listen to the podcast. We love to document and share our experiences (as you can tell :-).

Sunday, July 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterBeth Fenwick

Hi Beth & Chris,

I heard of your trip via the This Week in Photography podcast.

Just thought I'd say hi and thank you for documenting a trip I would love to do, but probably will never get to do. Hey who knows maybe one day after I retire.

Loved the blog.

Edinburgh UK

Friday, July 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOwin Thomas

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