One of the things that we (mostly Lisa) didn’t realize about California is how long it takes to get anywhere in California! We spent the better part of Friday getting from Burbank to Santa Monica Pier and back. But we couldn’t start at the beginning in Chicago and not end at the end in Santa Monica! So off we went.
Other than driving past the Warner Bros Studio in Burbank — and seeing that famous water tower! — there wasn’t a ton of sightseeing or stopping to do. Our mission was simply to get to the END OF THE ROAD. Fortunately, Jean had the presence of mind to leave her homeless kits and snacks in the Impala rather than bring them up to our hotel room, because we found a lot of people experiencing homelessness spending their time in the park next to the pier. We spent a good hour handing out snacks and kits, and visiting with a couple of people who seemed eager to talk with us. Everything we brought was gone by the time we left the pier, which was exactly how we wanted it. This felt like the biggest “kindness day”, both because we had so much with us to give out, and because we actually connected with the people we were giving to. If there is any takeaway to be had in this trip, I hope readers realize that you don’t need to make grand, expensive gestures to make a difference to someone. The kits Jean put together were maybe $10 each, but the response from the recipients was incredible. We discovered many times on this trip that opportunities to be kind found us more than we found them. We just happened to be prepared.
After taking the required photos and enjoying a light lunch at the pier, we made the trek back to Burbank. It was the end of our Route 66 kindness road trip, but just the beginning of our convention weekend. Random Acts was already setting up for the convention that evening, so we pitched in to help. We are both on staff at Random Acts as well, so it was good to see people we don’t get to see that often, and lend a hand in preparation for the convention.
All in all, we both loved taking this kindness road trip down Route 66. One of the things we discovered time and time again was the warmth and friendliness of the people we met on our way. Not only did we put kindness out there as we had planned, but we received it back in at least equal measure, if not more. Thank you for following our journey down Route 66! If you would like to know more about any of the places we explored or the acts of kindness we did, just drop us a note. We would love to hear from you!
Day Seven includes a little bit of a “for a good time call” shout-out to Crazy Ray’s Twisted Tees at the Cool Springs Station just outside of Oatman, Arizona. This guy is definitely crazy because he all but jumped out into the street to flag us over to check out his shop! He and his wife Cheryl are super nice, and their shop has all kinds of cool stuff in there! Plus, Ray has a very well-practiced routine where he walks you through some fun posts at the Route 66 mark on the road. And there’s no denying, the view at Cool Springs is nothing short of spectacular.
From there we soldiered on to Oatman, Arizona — a place that’s literally considered a ghost town. There may actually be more burros than people living there, but there were plenty of shops and a couple of restaurants to enjoy. And as one might expect, high noon (okay, 12:30) brought an honest-to-goodness gun fight! Did I mention there were burros?
We had probably the wildest ride of our trip after leaving Oatman. There’s nothing quite like driving on the side of a mountain with a steep drop-off and no guard rails! Jean was the badass driver, and Lisa just tried not to panic. But we survived!
Our first stop in California definitely looked like something out of a movie — if that movie was set in a desert, that is. We stopped in Amboy, California to get up close and personal with the Guardian Lions of Route 66. How they got there remains a mystery, but it was surreal to find ourselves standing in the Mohave Desert admiring one of them. It was so utterly quiet, especially with the absence of traffic. Travelers before us had left a few items at the lion’s feet, and there was even a guest book for us to sign! Definitely a unique introduction to the state of California. From the desert, we took a brief detour at the Joshua Tree National Park before landing in Burbank — our final hotel stay while attending the Supernatural Giving Back Show. As our ongoing kindness trek continued, we left lots of diapers and wipes in various gas station bathrooms and at the state park.
Allllllllmost at the end!
The last leg of our journey was a fantastic time, and we will be writing up a proper recap in a couple of days. But this weekend, we are attending the Supernatural Giving Back convention in Burbank, which is what prompted us to consider making this crazy trek in the first place! So in the meantime, please enjoy this photo of us at the end of our journey, at the Santa Monica Pier. And stay tuned for future recap posts!
Okay, confession time. We aren’t just driving Route 66 on this trip. Part of the reason we hauled boogie through states we’re familiar with, like Illinois and Missouri, was to squeeze in a departure from the Route to visit the Grand Canyon. After all, when you’re planning to spend eight days in a car, a two-hour detour is no big deal. But the Grand Canyon? Yeah. That’s a big deal.
We did still have time for an act of kindness today—leaving treats and a scented candle for housekeeping at the Wigwam Motel. Man, that was a blast. And we took a pit stop in Winslow, Arizona to see a certain street corner. During both our sightseeing stops in Winslow and at the Grand Canyon, we had fun taking photos of strangers for them, and they took photos for us. Everyday kindnesses, for sure, but definitely fitting with our kindness trek.
By this time tomorrow, we’ll be in California!
Spent a lot of time on the road today, though a random stop for necessities at the local drug store also gave us an opportunity to hand out the wonderful homeless kits that Jean put together before we started out. Very glad we were well-prepared for when that particular need for kindness showed up.
We also found the Singing Road outside of Albuquerque, and visited the Sky City in Acoma Pueblo where we got to learn about pottery making and how it’s been done for generations. The only stop we missed was the Navajo Code Talkers Museum in Gallup—we got there fifteen minutes after it closed.
But! We got to spend the night in a wigwam! Talk about the quintessential Route 66 experience!
Listen to the Singing Road!