Monday, 19 May 2008
Here we all are sitting in the BA lounge at Boston airport...its 5:30 and we have 4 hours to kill before our flight.
its been a great tour - the sights in New England have been superb, and its great that our annual tour has grown to add Tim and Paul.
Al our host was superb and today himand his wife Barbara made us breakfast and lent us a car to do a bit of shopping. We said our goodbyes abiout 11 and rode the 160 miles to Boston, to check in the bikes and then Greg the manager at Eaglerider gave us a lift to the airport in his van which is the home of 2 german shepherds Sammy and Jack who came too.
All in all I have ridden 3700 miles and visited 13 states of America - its the longest i have ever been away and cant wait to get back - but its been a superb trip, with some great memories and friends.
Sunday, 18 May 2008
This will be very brief as i am using the hotel owners laptop in Manchester.
Another great day, heading off in glorious sunshine to Mount washington, where we saw this ancient cog railroad to take you to the top, and then had a fantastic ride down the mountain and into Conway.
From there we travelled through New Hampshire to Lebanon before coming into Vermont. About 30 miles out we stopped and said goodbye to Guy and Roger and continued the last bit in the rain to the motel where we are now.
Tonight its a taxi to town for our last night in the USA - then home on the 9:30 flight to LHR - really looking forwards to getting home now.
Saturday, 17 May 2008
...a super day to head upsate New York....loads of lakes and motels - a superb chasm cant remember its name but it begins with A...
Ausable...just googled it http://www.nynaturalwonders.com/
we get to the Canadian border and turn right into Vermont and the land flattens out into dairy farming territory - after 160 miles we gte to Newport by a lake and have a lunch at a cafe which takes forever - Al says they must be Canadians....i have a Philly Cheeses steak...and its great.
After lunch another 100 miles to Littleton in New Hampshire - we stop off at a HD store for T Shirts - but i restrain myself - and just buy some new gloves to replace the one I let blow away from inside my jacket.
In the hotel now and getting ready for night at the 99 Bar and restaurant opposite.
Paul on Bike
We had a really nice night out - we went to the local steak house and had a nice bit of beef and red wine. Had a great chat abbout the world and bikes - the resort is a really nice place and has that european ski resort feel.
Then over for a vermont special at Ben and Jerrys..i ordered the cheapest thing i could see which was a waffle cone at $1.69...well its like a traffic cone - upside down with three scoops of ice cream and cost $6.19 - How?
After that back to the bar to talk about everything from cornering to skiing ... then bed a mere three hours later - job well done..
This morning its beautiful and you can see by the pic why it is called lake Placid - today its a 300 mile trip through New York State up to the Canadian border which we follow through Vermont and then into New Hampshire where we are staying tonight.
Friday, 16 May 2008
We set off this morning at 9;30 my new group of seven including myself....they are the three Americans from Vermont, and my three friends from Tunbridge Wells who i have know for some six years - we met through school where we all have a child of the same age. This resulted in a club called the First Friday Chaper as we all meet for a beer on the first Friday of each month - we also have an annual ski trip - and now an annual bike trip (well for me and Iain its our fourth).
Anyway te americans are from left to right:
Roger, who is a mortgage broker and rides a nice dyna wide glide, he has been friends with Al since junior school.
Al - worked with iain's dad in the 60's and has been friends since - he is our host, and has a 95 Road King.
Guy - owns two restaurants in manchester Vermont and is a mad Harley man doing 100'000's miles on his Harley - he is the tour guide, and rides a fully customised softail.
The TW group are as follows fro Left to right:
Iain ; is a lawyer who does real estate finance so we have some work stuff in common although not much as neither of us works that much - but at least he has a job - he has a Ducati at home - but really wants a Harley but cant swallow his pride and get one.
Me: enough about me.
Paul: is a local TW guy and dabbles in property and runs a car bodyshop business - he will buy a harley aftre this trip - as i can tell he soooo wants one.
Tim: works at Credit Suisse and surprised us at Christmas by saying he would pass his test and come on this trip - he did and Paul lost £100. He has a sportster, but i bet will buy a bigger bike before year end.
Anyway we all set off today, through Vermont and into New York State (how many states is that for me this trip so far?) and its so picturesque - we are mainly in the Adirondak National park, which is full of rivers, and lakes and mountains - superb.
The roads are great with more hills and bends than the whole of Route 66, its a real joy. We are out for dinner tonight and then tomorrow we head upto Canada and follow the border along.
Off to the bar now.....
For a country as modern as the USA its frustrating the when one of your friends gets a mobile signal and the others cant – more so when there is a WiFi network but you cant connect – oh well – i am typing this up in word on Friday morning in the Aspen Motel in Manchester Vermont.
I said a sad goodbye to everyone on Wednesday night at the farewell dinner at the Westin Hotel at LAX – i really hope to see many of them again – but time and distance etc.....Steve and Ian - i certainly will and look forwards to it.
My ticket out said a 10:45 departure and being me – i was there at 9:00, only to see the flight was now 10:05, so i got straight on to an ancient 757, to find that first class was like a wide economy seat – still only a 5 hour flight. This huge guy rightly told me i was in his seat, but said i could keep if if i let him read my V-Twin mag – seemed a fair deal. As we sat down half the people on the plane came on said hello to him. I asked him why and he said he was well known in the US....i said but not in England! He then pointed to the guy opposite and said he was with Pharrell Williams – had i heard of him? (vaguely i think he is in N*E*R*D) – anyway shut my eyes and listened to music the whole flight which arrived promptly at 6:15am.
Got a cab to the Hotel and met Iain, Paul and Tim for breakfast, who are mega excited but i am still a bit tired – so excited we get to Eaglerider HD at 8:15 – they dont open until 9:00, but who cares! We collect the bikes 3 Road Kings and a Fat Boy for Tim and start our ride to manchester about 165 miles away, the weather is cold overcast and the odd light shower, a real contrast to Santa Monica which was a 100 degrees F.
The scenery was beautiful, GREEN as you get, rivers everywhere and picture postcard villages and churches. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant by a river in Battleboro – and then onto manchester – this was the scariest ride of my life, i didnt realise how tired i was and could barely stay awake, and was so glad to finally arrive.
Our hosts Al and Roger were there to meet us and took the other three out for a ride in the evening while i had a sleep (i so needed it).
That evening we went over to Al's and had supper with Roger and Guy our road companions – they are all in their 60's and epitomise “Live to Ride”, a real contrast to their counterparts in Laughlin. A fantastic pasta meal - first non fried meal in two weeks – get the maps out, and it looks a brilliant trip up and along the Canadian border.
In bed at 9:30 and i am now ready and excited about the next three days – hope the WiFi works at the Crowne Plaza in Lake Placid!!
Thursday, 15 May 2008
Well Ga sorted all the problems, with a drill and a bolt he fixed Helena's gear shift and he arranged for a bike for the French to be collected on the way so we all could ride up to Santa Monica Pier about 90 miles away.
Not much to say about the ride - LA Freeways are a nightmare, poor road surfaces, no lane discipline and fast riding - apart from the dust it was quite a buzz though.
it was a bit emotional as we got to Santa Monica as its been an epic journey and we have bonded as a group really well. Lunch was at Bubba Gumps Shrimp House, where i won a badge in the Forest Gump Trivia quiz....."which leg did Lieutenant Dann lose?......."You a'int got NO legs Lieutenant Dann" - being the correct answer.
Tonight is the farewell dinner at the Westin Hotel at LAX where I am now - it starts at 8:00, and i will slip off just after to check in for the flight to Boston.
Hopefully when i am there i can write a nice summary of the trip.
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Well this was the last full day of riding on Route 66 - tomorrow we just have the 80 mile ride into LA and the end of destination at Santa Monica pier. I think we all realised that as it was a quiet day today - but a good one nonetheless.
Still the weather was hot sunny and windy as we crossed the Mohave desert from nevada back onto Route 66 and into California, where we stopped at the towns of Amboy and Barstow, before nding up in Victorville.
The three notable events were that Ga did a photo shoot for us riding solo on a deserted Route 66 in the desert, our lunch was late at 3:00 and took two hours, and then in the 30 mile ride to Victorville, helena's bike broke and we had to hang around on the hard shoulder. Ga couldn't fix it so we left it there and came to the Hotel for a few beers. Ga went and got the part and he has vanished to go fix it.
We are staying on the Quality Inn and Suites, which is another travel inn type hotel - but at least this one has a bar. Tonight we were privileged to see the local Salsa classes, and watch the instructor run a bizarre group of shapes sizes and types through the 6 basic steps of Salsa .....they don't count the 4 as its a half step.....so 1,2,3...5,6,7.
Time for a quick shower then back to the bar as its my last night here before I fly to Boston tomorrow.
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
....a nice start with a bright day as we left Williams and the Grand Canyon to head for the Mohave desert and Laughlin Nevada, which is like a mini Vegas for sad older yanks.
Our first stop was a little town of Seligman, where we had to wait for Ga to gte his haircut which he does aat this barbers twice each season as its the best on Route 66 (not sure that is even remotely true) anyway Angelo who is some chairman of route 66 histotical society came and gave him a haircut.
The rest of us wandered up and down main street of this typical failed route 66 town taking in the deserted shops and motels and trying not to spend in the gift shops, Oh and we havde a fantastic massive brekkie at Westside Loli's - a German who came here 30 years ago, without a lot of prescience.
Anyway after this on the road and into the desert heading for Kingman and a harley dealer so we could all top up our T Shirt collections - all credit to Ga, he got us free bandanas (why would i want one?) and a 10% discount on the stuff we bought.
its now 3:30 and in typical Ga style we should have had lunch in Oatman at 3:00 still its only 40 miles away down a windy treacherous road over the mountains - with the famous deadmans curve....nice americans have made a mini cemetery there.
its a cool ride but Trudi dropped her bike (Trudi is tiny and cant reach the floor at slow speeds - why does she ride?) while we were admiring said curve and as a result decided to ride the rest of the 10 miles into Oatman at 10mph while we all stalled and stuttered behind.
Oatman is another ghost town - but this time because the miners all left - and when they went they left their donkeys which have gone wild and wander around at will eating tourists and gifts outside the shop - they were cool.
Despite arriving at 5:30 Ga still arranged lunch at the million dollar hotel (it has loads of signed $1bills stapled to the walls and ceiling)- i abstained and wandered the town with the icelanders taking pictures. From there a nice 30 mile sunset ride to laughlin, where we are staying in one of those huge lightless tacky hotel casino's - the Aquarius.
We are all meeting now for the buffet dinner with all you can drink for free promotion - cant wait; and then we are off to watch Steve play poker as its one of his main skills at work it seems - lets hope he wins as Ga wants 50%. Just like last time i went to las vegas i don't intend to bet 1 cent tonight!
.......3 hours later i am back in my room - the place is full of fat aging white people just sitting and pumping money into machines. There are NO normal bars in the whole town, so we (me Ian and Mick) went to the Outback steak house in our casino, and had some starters and a few beers - after, we checked on Steve who seems about $30 up aftre 3 hours.....why - and DaVid who was happily $50 up with Christelle standing faithfully behind.
Bed is calling - its 10:30 and we have 200 miles across the hottest part of the desert tomorrow cant wait.
Monday, 12 May 2008
...and i bet he wished he had kept it quiet!
we all ate in the hotel and Ga to his immense credit got a nice cake and some fizz for us all, which lead to a nice impromptu drinking session in the hotel bar, accompanied by a juke box that would have stretched Mr Harveys DJ talents, but we found, Springsteen, Eagles, Led Zep, Garth Brooks.......nothing this century though.
Top night nonetheless and makes you realise what good friends you can make on these trips.
....i left off going out for dinner. Ga had booked this diner in town. We walked there so we could have a few beers - big mistake it didnt sell beer, although the lady who owned it told us the food was real good - and used fresh eggs and potatoes. So 19 of us sat down in the 1960's neon lit diner and waited .....the suspense was too much so Ian and me went to Rod's Steak house, where i had the special of char grilled sugar coated steak, with a marguerita and a beer chaser - a proper dinner.
Later back at the hotel we all met up and anglo group of English, aussie and Irish had a few more.
This morning we all rode up about 60 miles to the south rim of the grand Canyon - and its real WOW - quite spectacular, we also took a helicopter trip over, which made me feel quite ill - so after a quick pizza at the appropriately titles restaurant "WE COOK PIZZA AND PASTA", i rode home for a nice afternoon nap - after sorting out Skype to make free calls home.
Sunday, 11 May 2008
Today was just brilliant, the sun was shining as we left Gallup and it shone all day.....within an hour we entered Arizona and went on to pacific time - now 8 hours behind, After 40 miles we arrived at the Petrified Forest national Park in the painted desert....jackets and helmets off for a superb 30 mile ride through the finest scenery i have ever seen - it took us two and a half hours for this bit of the ride. Aussie Graham lent the Frenchies his bike so they could join us which was really nice.
After that we checked out the Wig Wam Motel on Route 66, a spot of lunch at Dennys in Winslow, and then a photo call "on the corner" - now this is typical americana, and i am not sure what came first but a whole micro tourist economy has sprung up over the line "standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona" from Take it Easy by the Eagles. Still it beats Erike Oklahoma.
After this a 70 mile blast to Flagstaff - up to 7500ft in the mountains to visit the HD dealer and get some spares - also a bizarre low point our first road sign which said Los Angeles 497 miles - nearly there.
Then onto Williams the start off point for the Grand Canyon - we are off for some beers in town tonight and a fill day sight seeing tomorrow - with a helicopter ride.
Saturday, 10 May 2008
Not really much to report on this leg of the trip - a short run out to the old town of Albuquerque, where we had a nice brunch in a cantina. Then the relatively short haul out through the high deserts of New mexico to Gallup - a total of 200 miles.
Just had a burger with the icelanders, aussies and irish, at our select Best Western Hotel and back in my room ready for bed at 10:00.
Tomorrow we have a hard days riding across the desert into Arizona of 300 miles, and we have a day off there after to see the Grand Canyon. I am hoping to do that sky bridge.
Friday, 9 May 2008
well this afternoon we went to Tina's Gun Rack, which is a gun shop and range owned by Tina - a nice woman, but not one i would want to spend a lot of time with!
Ga took us there (me, other ian, steve, mick, martyn, christian, french david, and brazilian Julie (who it appears is half german and half Japanese and lives in brazil....no i didn't ask about her grandparents..
there we shot guns and ammo like no tomorrow - first 50 rounds of a .357magnum, then 50 rounds with a Smith and wesson .45 semi automatic....this was Ok,,after the shock doubling of heart rate and the shakes i quite enjoyed it.
Then i shot the .44 magnum ...go ahead punk make my day....its frightening the noise the kick back the smell the thud as you fire it in your chest.
I have always had a mild interest in guns - this totally cured it.
but all credit to Ga, he is a qualified instructor, he knew what he was doing and it was a great experience.
Tomorrow we are off to Gallup where we can buy cheap cowboy hats.......
Thursday, 8 May 2008
....high up and really rather nice. Not sure why american food is never really quite what its supposed to be? I had a chilli omelette for breakfast in a nice cafe in the main square...with extra chillis, beans, hash browns and salsa (none of which was mentioned in the description )- still it tasted good.
Just had a blast on my own up to the nuclear lab at Los Alamos - which is even higher up the mountains - almost near the snow line - some superb views and i followed the River Rio Grande for a while to.
i had a modest 20oz steak in amarillo, Chris went for the monster and failed although some young canadian ate all 72oz, plus starter, salad and side dishes....
there was a massive storm last night and it was still chucking it down this morning, which delayed our departure by an hour - still off we went to Amarillo Harley davidson to get more T shirts, then off to Cadillac Ranch where some farmer stuck 10 caddy's in the ground and people have graffiitteed on them ever since......that was my all time worst tourist attraction.
the weather got a bit better but still threatening thunder as we set off for santa fe, and then disaster struck as the French (david adn christelle) came off at 55mph, most of us were way ahead and missed it all, but had to stop while Ga went and sorted it with the police and ambulance. They were OK but the bike was a write off and their leathers and helmets ruined.
In the past week we have become a pretty good group and this was a very sobering time for us all- on what was proving to be an excellent trip.
eventually we got going again after spending 3 hours at the cafe at mid-point (1139 miles from Chicago and LA) - the French have given upon bikes and decided to finish the trip off in the support van which is a shame but understandable,
the afternoon started to brighten up as we hit New Mexico and the sun shone and the wind blew as we raced across the high plains to do 200 miles in about 4 hours to get to santa fe, by the early evening, which is a gorgeous town - it could be europe, with boutiques, museums, and galleries, a town sq and winding streets.
Against my better judgement we had a mexican meal - and it was superb!
tomorrow - its a free day, although i and a few others plan to go shotting.457 magnums with Ga.
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
We arrived in Weatherford Oklahoma last night and "Ga", had arranged one of his special meals at Nita's Ice House - this is as usual a box on a retail park divided into two parts a full on bar with a pool table and a restaurant that looks like a childrens room in a 1970's pub.
I left with Ian and Steve and against my better judgement went to the mexican opposite - even though i have NEVER had a good mexican meal - and i wasnt disappointed....gross. but at least i got to bed at 9:30 for a good nights sleep - apart from the massive thunder storm at 2:am.
Today we were riding 200 miles across the farmlands of oklahoma and Texas to Amarillo. i have to say that the feeling of getting on your bike first thing and riding off on this road trip is fantastic, the sun was out and it was soon really hot.
The mornings highlight was stopping at an old bit of Route 66 that is no longer used - so we could drag our bikes up it to see who could hit a 100mph...i think Adam said he hit 95 which is good for a crap surface.
I saw two good Christian bumper stickers today....."My Boss is a Jewish carpenter" and "Body piercing saved my life" (with cute pic of Jesus on his cross).
After that was "Ga's" next surprise, we went to Erike Oklahoma, self styled Redneck capital of the world. (I wont describe it but watch the movie clip).
Erike is one of those towns and we have seen loads that used to thrive off Route 66, but when the Interstate opened up - they just died and have been left to rust away - leaving a sad but interesting landscape.
I am now in The Big Texan Steak Ranch and Motel, where we have a top cowboy night ahead - and they have a 72oz Steak - which is free if you eat it......i might just have a go.
I know a bit more about helena and Christian - I guessed he worked for Nokia, but that wasnt stretching myself too much. its their second marriage, and she has three children and one grandchild and he has four children, They ride seperate bikes on the tour and she has a Honda Shadow back in Finland.
I gave her a ride on the back of my bike to the restaurant last night - scary.
Well i really dont know anything about Jose and julie, other than they are really loved up and so dont socialise with the single male element of the group (english, irish, aussies). Jose has a harley back in Brazil and Julie is a keen photographer - she rides with style on the back of his ultraglide!
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
are Mick and Martin who are from cork, and are the hardest ones to understand in the whole group, particularly after a drink which is frequent, but delightful nonetheless.
Martin works for apple and Mick has a pub and restaurant, which holds an annual custom bike show.....i think it needs a visit.
Martin is on the left.
There are six other english people on this trip.
- Steve and Ian - are local to me in east sussex and have been my drinking and road companions. They are early 40's - Steve has a few Healtchclubs and Ian is a builder developer. they are a comedy double act.
- Chris and Eileen - are from Plymouth where they used to have a sea front restaurant which they have now sold. Chris is building a chopper and restoring a house in Northern Spain - Eileen is Irish and rides on the back of Chris's bike, but she probably does the driving! Chris and Eileen are on the right chatting to Gary our guide
- David and Trudi - are a couple from Northants - dave works for Corus and Trudi does something with chilled foods - dont know much else other than Trudi is tiny and so has a Honda which she can barely touch the ground on.I dont have a picture of them yet, but i am working on it.
after that we were in Oklahoma for a final 100 miles into Tulsa, which seems a nice enough place, but when you stay in a best western outside hard to tell!
after my steak supper, with the delightful Chris and Eileen and the French (David and Cristelle - he is a farmer she does supermarket price comparison and they are on their honeymoon) i met up with Mick and Martin (the Irish) and Ian and Steve (the english), and went to this delightful biker bar on "turty turd street" as Mick says.....it was a Jerry Springer showcase, where we met rick who was 21 that day and had never left tulsa - he was very drunk so we bought him a drink and he taught us a multiple handshake, There was a 60 year old heroin addict who kept flashing her tits - she ran away at 14 to utah to gte married and have a baby. and some guy in a wheelchair who played pool with ian.
wherever we go people always want to talk to us - its like we are from outer space.
oh yes they had jagermeister shots on draft (chilled of course) so we got a bit drunk - - which made the ride this morning a bit shaky.
today we rode through oklahoma, and spent 20 miles killing our backs on the only bit of original road thats left, and about 180 miles on better roads, which lead us to weatherford where i am now.
Monday, 5 May 2008
well it was 12 hours and 350 miles through the Ozarks, with their hillbillies and through to Kansas and then Oklahoma...a great ride in the sunshine...fantastic.
i had a top night out in Tulsa in some dodgy biker bar and so this blog is very short.....
i will return later
Sunday, 4 May 2008
This is Graeme and Les, they are electricians who work in the mines near Sydney - i really like them - typical aussies, funny and like a drink,
There is an electrician who works in the mines with them who had some special electrical brushes that were irreplaceable; a few years ago, they stole them and now send him photos of the brushes from all over the world - apparently it annoys him.
I dont know much about my traveling companions,but i will try and put a bit in about them over the next few days.
This is David and Christelle, they are from the Dijon area of France near Gevry Chambertin, David has a Ducati 944 at home, and he has kimited English, but not as limited as my French. Christelle, smiles and dosent say much!
They have the smallest luggage of one small bag each for two weeks - i have a massive bag which is at least 6 times the size of theirs combined,
This was the journey that took us through the flat farmlands of Illinois, and over the Mississippi into Missouri, when the land got a bit more interesting and the weather got a lot warmer than the 45 degrees of the morning. at about 5pm we got to the caves where Jesse James used to hide, but there was a problem with the truck so I decided to go onto the hotel on my own about 45 miles away.
with no luggage yet, i went to a nearby bar "the tater patch", which was straight out of Patrick swayzees "Roadhouse" with pool tables, TV, rednecks and a band with a cage. But fun anyway.
Dinner tonight was a disgusting buffet at some steak shack.....i had lettuce and a tomato.
the people we meet are all friendly and everytime we stop, they come and ask us where we are from and where we are going - and always seem amazed by the mix of nationalities.
Tomorrow we have a long run of 340 miles, but the weather is supposed to be sunny and around 70 degrees.
Saturday, 3 May 2008
the start of the trip coincided with what the weather channel call severe weather.....it was pissing down and there was sheet lightning.
we picked up the bikes about 10 - mine is a 2007 Fatboy in black....it needs new bars, exhausts, and saddle to make it look cool, but otherwise its Ok. After waiting an hour for the rain to subside which it didnt we eventually set off, and fortunately the weather cleared after a few hours, to be replaced by a nice but very windy day. Its about 190 miles from Chicago to Springfield, which apparently came second in a nationwide competition to be the birthplace of the Simpsons. The mid-west is flat farming country and you can see for miles.
i have been here three days now and american food is starting to annoy me - i have had 6 meals - all with fries.
Today will be a salad day....."ranch, honey mustard, french, 1000 island, or blue cheese dressing" - will be the big issue.
Friday, 2 May 2008
well mayday was a great day, must have been 75 degrees F and a lovely day - did some sightseeing - Sears Tower ( see the view from the 103rd floor) and Museum of Modern Art. Shopping for daughters at A&F, and some new tour shades for me from the oakley store - they customise and build them for you - which is nice.
I moved hotels to the tour hotel - which is a Holiday Inn and met the rest of the group over a steak dinner....not sure i needed an 18 oz steak, but it was one of the smaller ones,
There are 19 in the group (inc me) 7 Brits, 2 Irish, 2 Aussies, 2 French, 2 Finns and 2 Brazilians - plus the 2 US tour guides.
i am writing this at 4am so still jet lagged - watching the weather channel, which is saying severe storm warnings with baseball sized hail stones and possible tornados, in Missouri and Oaklahoma - which is where we will be in a few days - excellent.
Thursday, 1 May 2008
well it didnt start so well, we got off at 7.30 as planned , but a small diversion to the bus stop for darling dauhter 3 imo added a half an hour as we took her to school ......and when it comes to travel i lke things simple and EARLY!!!
Well Lisa was cool, she is the opposite to me when it comes to travel and was perfctly happy lisentining to Nick Ferrari on LBC on the M25 and even though we had many hours to spare was OK......i was TENSE.
.....but we got there 2 hours before departure and i could finally relax........a glass of champagne....and another.The flight landed on time and i was relaxing in the Hotel Monaco by 3pm local time www.monaco-chicago.com.
i then had a nice fish dinner with my friend Roberto who i had met on a previous road trip in california, and an early night - well 3am back in england.
Tomorrow - shopping, sight-seeing and meet the rest of the group for the start of Route 66.