It was an incredibly difficult drive today. I left Barstow in heavy rain and it only got worse from there. Along the way I encountered driving rain, high winds, freezing rain, hail, and lightning. I saw two cars that had just collided on the icy hills out of Barstow. As if that wasn’t enough, I heard a loud explosion and something hit my car: A semi-truck that was in the lane next to me had a tire blowout and some of it hit the side of my car. Most of it appeared to hit the car that was driving behind it. I watched in my rearview mirror as the truck moved over several lanes to the right and pulled off the road. This leg of the journey was definitely a thrill-ride. All of it made for an unexpectedly exciting end to the westward terminus of my journey on Route 66.

I arrived at my hotel near the beach in Santa Monica and checked-in, feeling most grateful to have made it safely through the elements, and through my interesting two-week westward journey.

I had dinner with a friend who lives in Santa Monica, Roger Slifer. Roger and I went to Morristown High School together in the early 1970’s. We also worked together at that time at the Bluebird Restaurant in Morristown, Indiana where we earned $1.45 an hour as short order cooks. Roger lived in New York City for many years where he worked for both Marvel Comics and DC Comics as a comic book letterer and writer. Later, he moved to California, where he has worked in the animation industry as a scriptwriter. Looking back forty years to our days in Morristown, we were able to note with some satisfaction that each of us had chosen roads less travelled, and that over the past four decades those roads have led us to interesting and fulfilling lives.

--Larry Spears [Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010]

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