From Sea to Shining Sea

Nic in Biloxi

After I skied the Rockies, I dropped down to Santa Monica, the end point of Route 66. Although it was the turning point of my ski trip out of Houston, in effect it was the start of my last great trip around the USA. From Santa Monica I followed Route 66 for at least half of its path through the USA, turning South at Amarillo for Houston. After a few days in Houston I then drove East through the Dirty South, taking in New Orleans, Biloxi, Mobile, Plains, Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Ocean City before finishing my adventure back in New Jersey.

Along the way I dipped my toes in the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and had some awesome experiences along the 4000 mile trip. Truly an adventure from sea to shining sea.

Route 66 End of the trail What were the highlights? After several road trips to get to visit specific places or do specific activities, this was a more relaxed trip in terms of goals, if not in terms of schedule. I would have liked to have spent more time in California and Arizona, but I don't think a longer stopover would have informed me more about what makes the USA what it is. Throughout my travels, certain insights got re-inforced, but my curiosity on this road trip was largely about the Southern experience. I decided the "must do" activity would be to visit Plains, Georgia, the small town where a peanut farmer came from who would became President of the USA. Quite apart from having something of the quality of a pilgrimage, it also allowed me cut right through the rural South on the byways that no through traffic would use. Plains is in the middle of nowhere, it doesn't even have a motel.

Blue Swallow at night NM Talking of motels, I had throughout my trips planned each evening where I would end up the following evening, and what I would do along the way. With one eye on the overall schedule I needed to stick to, my only other consideration would be the cost of the next stopover. Generally I aimed for cheap motels that hadn't acquired a reputation on for being a fleapit. I had a couple of nights in places that a location manager would have liked for filming "Psycho III", but on the whole had no problems with the places I stayed. A lot were tired and needed some investment, but were convenient, cheap and clean. The big chains tended to provide the most consistent experience, but invariably lacked character. I also stayed in a few hotels which - since I was travelling during low season - were often very affordable. This was particularly true on this road trip, hence overnight stops in Biloxi, Myrtle Beach and Ocean City, places which in high season would have been expensive.

Inspiring rest area Texas Panhandle One of the more agonising choices around where to stay was deciding how much road time I was prepared to tolerate. I had to cover a lot of ground, but I didn't want to miss out on things I had prioritised, or to forgo an unexpected gem because of the schedule. I generally got up early and aimed to find my lodging before it got dark. I eschewed freeways as much as possible, but sometimes they enabled me to cover a lot of ground or were the only practical way to get from A to B. In the less populated areas, regular state highways were often as fast as interstate highways, albeit sometimes stretching the speed limits a little. If I had a day on rural roads with lots of small towns along the way and lots of historic interest I might cover less than a hundred miles in a day. That would certainly be true of sections of the original Route 66. In contrast, on the big point-to-point journeys, I would often cover in excess of five hundred miles in a day. Those long journeys weren't as boring as you might imagine unless they went through densely populated areas, in fact there was something cathartic about them, the sense of movement. And for sure it guaranteed a good night's sleep.

Nic at end Route 66 Cop cars Santa Monica pier Nic beach Santa Monica Santa Monica Beach Santa Monica Pier Santa Monica towards Venice Nic Santa Monica selfie Santa Monica and Ocean Ye Olde Kings Head Santa Monica End of the road Route66 Plaque Santa Monica Blvd Rodeo Drive LA Beverley Cinema LA Hollywood sign LA Paramount Pictures Melrose Ave LA Hollywood historic hotel Medical Marijuana Cards LA San Bernadino stays strong McDonalds Museum San Bernadino California Inn Barstow Desert Market Daggett CaJPG Train Newberry Springs Bagdad Cafe California Bagdad Cafe Ca Cafe Motel Mojave Mojave Desert Amboy Crater Joshua Tree NP Amboy Roys Motel Amboy Amboy Ca Broken road route66 Ca Rt66 Mojave Desert Le Brun Motel Needles Ca Rt66 Needles Ca Old Motel Needles Ca

Licence Plate AZ Welcome to Arizona Corvette on Rt66 Arizona RIP Wes Trombino Oatman Rd Welcome to Oatman Oatman Donkeys Arizona Oatman Hotel Arizona Oatman Rd Arizona View Oatman Rd Arizona Cool Springs Oatman Rd AZ Oatman Rd Flood Warning AZ Confederate flag Oatman Rd Arizona Rt66 Museum Kingman Mr Dz Kingman Main St Williams Addicted Rte66 Williams Williams Gateway to the Grand Canyon Aggressive Driving Arizona Winona Arizona Rte66 Bridge Winona Old Truck Holbrook Wigwam Motel Reception Holbrook Wigwam Motel Holbrook Joe and Aggies Holbrook Bucket of Blood St Holbrook Holbrook Arizona Petrified Forest Arizona
Route66 AZ NM border area Welcome to patriotic Gallup Gallup airport Santa Fe Shunter Gallup NM Aurelias Diner Gallup NM Western Refinery Gallup NM Historic 66 Continental Divide NM Continental Divide Indian Sore NM Sands Motel Grants Old cars Grants NM Whiting Bros Grants NM Disused Whiting Bros gas station Grant NM Pueblo of Laguna NM Rio Puerco Bridge Signage Rio Puerco Bridge Plaza Santa Fe vendor program Santa Fe Cathedral Santa Fe Santa Rosa Signage I40 Route66 marker Tucumcari Americana Tucumcari NM Tepee curious Tucumcari Tucumcari tonightJPG Crosses Tucumcari Pontiac Tucumcari BW Blue Swallow Tucumcari am Galaxie Tucumcari BW Galaxie Tucumcari NM Canute route 66 OK Route 66 Museum Elk City Old windmills Erick OK Roger Miller Museum Erick OK West Winds Motel Erick OK Will Rogers Highway OK Leave lucky underwear OK Adult superstore 130 miles from Erick
Licence Plate Texas n peace Crucifiction Groom Tx Divine Mercy Fountain Groom Cadillac Ranch Amarillo Tx Cadillac Ranch from distance Texas Cadillac RV Amarillo Tx Exit to Old 66 Tx Groom Cross Route 66 Groom Tex City Limits Water Tower Groom Magnolia Gas Station Vega No Place Like Texola OK Old 66 Vega Tx Original Phillips McLean Tx Phillips 66 Route 66 McLean
Sam Houston Statue Huntsville Tx Book Depository Dallas Dealey Plaza Assasin Location Dallas Kennedy Assassination Spot Dallas Kennedy Memorial Plaza Dallas Nic Deeley Plaza Elm Street Dallas Alligators San Jacinto Park Battleship Texas at San Jacinto Carnage Marker San Jacinto San Jacinto Battleground Texas San Jacinto Birth of Texas San Jacinto Memorial Texas Galveston Island Galveston Island State Park Galveston Pleasure Pier Landtys Seafood Galveston
My Buick Houston Landscape Nic at NASA Houston Nic Rocketman NASA Space Shuttle Independence Houston This is Houston Pyschic Expert Westheimer Houston Wilkinson family Houston Bible Belt Bumper Sticker Texas Black Friday Week Galleria Houston Chevy Impala c1958 Houston James Turrell The Light Inside MFA Houston Museum Fine Arts Houston Twin Peaks Katy Freeway Twin Peaks Scenic Views Houston Wall of water Houston Long shadows Houston Road Praise Houston Call God Houston Doll Thats Truly Me Memorial Mall Family Voss Road Home Houston industrial skyline
Louisiana Plate New Orleans Licence Plate Welcome to Louisiana Horace Wilkinson Bridge Baton Rouge Cemetery Number 1 New Orleans Easy Rider Cemetery New Orleans New Orleans Cemetery1 St Louis Cemetery 1 Entrance Downtown New Orleans New Orleans Streetcar Bourbon St New Orleans Night out in Bourbon Street
Beauvoir Mississippi Biloxi Beach Mississippi Civil Rights Wade Ins Biloxi Wade In Detail Biloxi My hire car in Biloxi Gulf Coast View Biloxi Father Ryan House Site Biloxi Redding House Biloxi Souvenir City Biloxi Gulf Coast Swamp Tours Mississippi
Alabama Licence Plate Welcome to Alabama E90 Mobile Alabama Swollen Chattahoochee River Alabama
My Florida Plates Nic Welcome to Florida Roadside sign Florida
Georgia Plate Floods Georgia State Line Welcome to Georgia Road to Plains Georgia Welcome to Plains Georgia Billy Carter Gas Station Plains Downtown Plains Georgia Jimmy Carter for Cancer Survivor Maranatha Baptist Church PlainsJPG Plains Baptist Church Plains High School Plains Home of Jimmy Carter House Plains Georgia Johnson Square Savannah Georgia Power Savannah Georgia Queen Savannah Savannah Waterfront Thunderbird Inn Savannah Stealing Pecans Georgia
SC Plate House South Carolina Mira Winery Mural Charleston Downtown Charleston SC Tour Charleston Gun Range South Carolina Shagfest South Carolina Evidence for GOD Convenience Store South Carolina Hampton Plantation Historic Site Hampton Plantation Residence Hampton Plantation South Carolina Hampton Slave Settlement Paper Mill Georgetown International Paper Georgetown SC Sunrise Myrtle Beach SC Wax Museum Myrtle Beach
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Chesapeake Tunnel Nic at Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Virginias First and Last
Maryland Number Plate Beach at night Ocean City Ocean City Beach Sunise Baltimore Ave Santa Ocean City Beachside Apartments Ocean City BJs Ocean City MD Cyclist on Boardwalk Ocean City Fishing Pier Ocean City Help me Santa Ocean City Jesus is Lord Ocean City McDonalds Ocean City Winter Boardwalk Parking Ocean City Boardwalk Ocean City Boardwalk Parking Ocean City
Delaware Plate Sussex Correctional Institution Delaware
Crossing the Delaware Downtown Newark NJ Broad Street Newark NJ Downtown Newark History of the Ironbound Newark Native Newarker Newark Penn Station
Xmas Balls 6th Ave NY