Lessons Learned

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Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

After a trip of this magnitude, we have lessons to share.  The lessons learned are categorized below.  We hope this serves as a guide to others.  (Note, some of these are specific to photographers.)

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Route 66

Lesson 1 – Bring Less

We over packed.  The next time I will bring less.  For example, I brought things from home that I’ve never touched.  If I would have needed them, I could have stopped at a store to purchase them.

I planned for 14 days of clothing.  However, most hotels had a self-serve washer and dryer.  Next time I’ll bring 10 days of clothes (just in case).

Lesson 2 – Give More Time

30 days to do 2500 miles isn’t enough time.  Give more time to your trip.  Perhaps one way is to break it in to several small trip.  Of course, that would be more costly, but we honestly missed quite a bit.  We planned for about 100 miles per day.  I think 40 miles per day would have been much better.

Lesson 3 – Have a Back-home Support Person

We had one.  It was my wife, Elizabethe.  She handled all of our lodging and would text us where we would be staying and the confirmation number.

Lesson 4 – Rent a Car

Don’t take your own car.  We put 7500 miles on the rental car.  Rent one with unlimited miles.  If you have the time, drive to and from on Route 66.  If you have the money, drive one way, and fly home.

Lesson 5 – Visit Museums Early

If you plan to visit museums along the way, plan to visit early in the day.  Most of them are closed by 5pm (or earlier).

Lesson 6 – USPS Offices Have Shorter Hours

If you need to mail postcards or letters, visit the Post Office between 10 and 11am, or 1 and 2pm.  We found most Post Offices closed when we arrived.  11am to 1pm, they were out to lunch.  After 2 pm they might be closed for the day.  Before 10am, they might not be open yet.  As a result, you only have a couple of small windows of time.

We actually found one that wasn’t a Post Office in spite of the building bearing the words, “United States Post Office”.  (Location:  Beverly Hills, California)

Lesson 7 – Don’t Trust Models

We had arranged for a few models to meet us along the way.  In spite of much advanced planning, they flaked.  While my professional experience is that most models aren’t professional these days.

So, if you make arrangements to meet a model, don’t be surprised if they flake on you.

Lesson 8 – You Won’t Need Certain Lenses

That’s right, you won’t need certain lenses.  You want the widest angle lens you can get without going to a fish eye.  My 15-36mm was the lens I used the most.  I wish I had my 24-70mm (it was in the shop), however my 50mm came in handy.  I brought my long zoom lens (70-300mm) but it proved to be useless for this type of trip.

Leave the long telephotos at home.  Bring the wide angle lenses.  The wider, the better.

Lesson 9 – Lots of Cards

Bring lots of memory cards.  I had enough, but it was close.  I shoot 32GB cards and filled about 3-4 cards per day.

Lesson 10 – Lots of Batteries

Bring lots of camera batteries.  My battery pack allows for 3 batteries.  There were days when I had to swap them all out for recharged ones.

You should also have a 12v charger just in case.  This way you can charge them in the car.

Also, don’t forget your charger AND don’t forget to charge your batteries at night.  You might want to bring an extra charger or two too.

The most important lesson learned is this – when you venture far from the car, make sure you have spare cards and batteries on you.  As a result, if you do not, you’ll kick yourself because you left them in the car.  This only happened to me once and I learned my lesson.

Lesson 11 – Don’t Trust Google Maps

That’s right – don’t trust google maps.  This lesson learned is a result of relying on Google Maps which ran us in circles because a freeway off ramp was closed.  Other times it lead us to empty fields with no hotel for miles. (They guy at the hotel, when we finally got there, said it happens to a lot of people.)

A good way to verify it is to turn the satellite image on so you can see what buildings are in the area.  However, the best way is to carry a paper map along with a good Route 66 guide book.

Lesson 12 – Buy It Don’t Bring It

If you can buy it, don’t bring it.

This doesn’t apply to everything – mostly consumables.  Don’t bring a lot of snacks from home.  You’ll be stopping for gasoline and potty breaks, buy the snacks then.

Bringing too much fills the car and makes the trip less comfortable.  As a result you should plan to pickup a snack when you stop for gas.  AND, don’t buy too much.  Just one item at a time.

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Reaching the End

Reaching the End

It’s a bittersweet feeling knowing we are reaching the end.  Here we are.  We’ve been on the road since Labor Day (Route 66 since 9/5/2017), and now we’ve reached the end.

Which end?

It turns out there are multiple ends to Route 66.  There’s the official end of the official U.S. Highway (Lincoln and Olympic).  There’s the literal end-of-the-road end — off the Santa Monica Pier.  And, then there the many other places people call the end.


We checked out of the Pasadena Hilton after meeting with their marketing manager.  She was a delightful lady, born and raised in Pasadena.  After telling her what we’ve been doing, she was excited for us.  We took a few pictures in the hotel of areas they have updated, and then we were off.

Our first stop was Best Buy where they didn’t have the size lens cap I needed.  Why doesn’t that surprise me?  But, they had 40.5mm, just not 39mm.  Strange.

We turned around and headed back on Colorado Boulevard.  To me, the highlight of Route 66 in Pasadena was the Rolls Royce Dealership.  I had to stop in to see the all time best car.  Yeah, so it is a small $330,000 mortgage… if you decide to live in your car.

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Rolls Royce

Beverly Hills

Yes, Route 66 goes through Beverly Hills.  I was joking about the tour busses when guess what?  A Tour bus drove by.

At the park at the Beverly Hills sign was a trainer sparing with one of his students.  We asked for some photos.

Down the road we saw the Beverly Hills P.D.  I wanted to stop in and say, “Hi”, to Eddy Murphy, but something told me he was off solving some sort of crime.

The Post Office… Yes, the friggin’ Post Office, wasn’t closed… It simply didn’t exist in that building any more.  We have such bad luck with Post Offices.  It seems Post Offices along Route 66 are a hit-n-miss proposition.  The building that says, United States Post Office, in Beverly Hills is a theatre… not a Post Office.  Oh, and we were told the one down the road in Santa Monica is no longer a Post Office, but the office for a film producer.

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It Says, “United States Post Office”, but it isn’t.

Go figure.

Fat Burger

Fat Burger is a really good fast burger joint.  Fresh and tasty.  Ask for Alishia if you’re in Beverly Hills and stop at Fat Burger.

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Our Friendly Fat Burger Server

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Fat Burger

Los Angeles Temple

So, did you know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a temple on Route 66?  Yes, it does, and it was a surprise to me because we always call it the “Los Angeles” temple.  In actuality, it is in Santa Monica… with a Route 66 Address.

We met lots of people there who posed for us.

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Four Elders Heading Back to Their Areas

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Missionaries Serving in the Visitors’ Center

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A Family of L.A. Dodgers Fans Visiting the Temple Grounds

Our Last Hotel on Route 66

We had a hard time finding a room in Santa Monica.  Finally, we got in at the Fairmont at Miramar.  We made it to our hotel, the valet rushed off with our car and the bellman our bags, and we checked in.

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Brett Provided Excellent Service and Let Us Photograph Him (This is the front room of our suite)

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Paul by the Outside Sign at the Hotel

Words don’t describe our room.  A view of the beach, walk-in shower, huge tub, and two balconies overlooking the beach.

Yeah, we’re ending this tour in style.

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View from My Hotel Room

Ocean and Santa Monica Boulevard

As we set out to photograph the official end of Route 66, we ran in to a lot of people before reaching our end..  Here are a few…


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Street Performer

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Having Fun

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A Couple from San Diego

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Ernest and His Family

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From Turkey

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From Florida

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From Italy

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Showing Off On Ocean Blvd

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Young Ladies Excited About our Route 66 Mirrors

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Street Performer at the End of the Santa Monica Pier (end of Route 66)

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Street Performer and Fan

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Mom (from Maine) and Son (now living in Santa Monica) Visiting

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Two College Students Ordering Dinner by Candle LIght

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Our Frozen Yogurt Guy