Despite the scheduled 5.18am start (to miss the infamous LA traffic), we were given a slight reprieve. We left the hotel at about 6am, for the final leg into Santa Monica. The roads were relatively quiet, and by about 7am, the Rally was over. We parked up on Ocean Boulevard, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, within sight of Santa Monica Pier, to enjoy an al fresco breakfast of Starbucks’ coffee and doughnuts.
We both found ourselves somewhat emotional on our arrival. I don’t think we were alone in these feelings. Many friendships had been made along the 2,500 miles of Route 66. Now it was time to part company, and for everyone (except us) to head for home. Pat lead us in a short prayer of thanksgiving, remembering earlier travellers. We each told of one memorable moment from the trip. The Iron Butt Award was presently jointly to Mark (a New Zealander, suffering from palsy, who had ridden pillion all the way from Chicago) and Hugh (whose Harley Sportster bike was deemed to have the most uncomfortable seat). A special ‘Wally Award’ was presented to Joe Mirroballi (suffice to say that there were only 3 days when something didn’t happen to Joe!).
After the conclusion of the ceremonies on the seafront, we headed with Fred, Joe, Theo, Dirk, Brad, Mark, Hugh, and the two Ginas, to the Broadway Deli, for a more substantial breakfast.
Dirk made a phone call to wish his wife ‘Happy Birthday’. Realising that she was feeling low, alone at home, the phone was passed on to each of us so that we could all leave a birthday message on the answer phone. This prompted Brad to borrow Joe’s phone, to phone his mum. Again, the phone was passed around so that we could all say hello.
Then, Brad found the number for Joe’s wife. Joe wasn’t too worried, “She will be on the way to the airport by now”. Scrolling down the saved numbers, Brad found Mary’s mobile number. Joe put his head in his hands. Brad dialled … and we all got to tell Mary what a great guy Joe was, and how much we had enjoyed his company!
Suddenly, everyone remembered the bikes. They were, by now, parked illegally on Ocean Boulevard, and we had left all our travel documents in John’s tank bag. Mercifully, Danny had remained with the bikes while we ate breakfast. Only one or two had parking tickets, and all our belongings were intact.
After a short stroll on the pier, we said our final goodbyes and headed back to Ontario.
By this time it was mid-morning, and the LA traffic was back to its usual grid locked state. It must have taken us over 2 hours (in baking sun) to reach the motel.