Route 66 - Day 21 - Victorville to Santa Monica - End of Route 66
Google mileage: 100 Actual mileage: 116 Total trip mileage: 3,065
Up early this morning to make the most of the day. We are really getting into the American way of life, so had Doughnuts and coffee for breakfast before loading up our bikes for the final time.
The route into LA is simple, but traffic filled and it involves stopping at a serious amount of traffic lights. So, we decided to take a slight detour on our way to Santa Monica, by heading out of Victorville to Highway 2. This is known as the Angeles Crest Highway and cuts through the Angeles National Forest which takes you through quiet, winding mountain roads, through stunning scenery up to about 7,000 feet in altitude. We knew we had made the right decision when a road sign and welcomed with the message "bends next 53 miles".
On the road we met a couple of local bikers called Bob and Bo, who told us about a well known bikers cafe on the route called Newcomb's Ranch. We pulled in around 11 am thinking we would stay for five minutes, we ended up talking to the barman, locals, other Route 66 travelers as well as swapping notes with Bo about his Triumph Sprint. In all, we spent almost two hours there.
The road wound around the mountains and was pretty much empty. So over the course of its fifty or sixty miles, we stopped to take pictures and admire the view. Eventually LA loomed large on the horizon and we started our descent into the city. Winding mountain road soon gave way to interstate and busy LA highway with its rapid speeds and lane changing.
Soon enough we were off the highway and into urban LA. The roads became straight avenues with traffic lights every 100 feet, all which seemed to be on red. The speeds dropped and the temperature soared. It was 98 degrees in the city, hotter on the roads, and even hotter still when you are sat on a stationary engine in traffic. The last ten or so miles took the best part of an hour and a half with stops at every set of lights in heavy traffic. We were so hot at one point that I felt faint, so we pulled off the road to take on water, petrol and to sit for a while in the shade. Once we cooled down we felt less stressed and the last four miles to our hotel on the beach in Santa Monica went smoothly.
We checked into the Shore Hotel, showered, changed, drank a celebratory beer by the pool and then went in search of the Route 66 booth on Santa Monica pier (the spiritual if not literal end of Route 66). Guest books were signed, photos taken and we congratulated ourselves on not only making it to the end of Route 66, but on making it through LA traffic in one piece. Finally we had a walk on the beach to chill out.
As I write this post we are sat on the pier, munching on some tortilla chips, drinking a Corona and watching the sun go down on a great road trip.
Tomorrow evening we fly home. We have to hand the bikes back around midday and we'll be sad to see them go. After so many days on the road it will feel weird not to pack the bikes and head west, so we have decided to make the most of the time we have left. We plan to get up as early as we can and take the opportunity to shoot some canyons and ride the famous Mulholland Drive!