Club Members Lloyd & Gill Hall recently completed the famous Route 66 trip, this trip was planned to conencide with Lloyd's 60th Birthday. Another couple on this trip were Peter and Serda from New Zealand wrote a very comprehensive holiday review which has been included in its entiriety as it will be of interest to anyone else planning this famous trip in the future. The tour company were

DAYS 9 - 13
DAYS 5 - 8
DAYS 1 - 4


Riding Route 66 - the Mother of All Holidays
Route 66 - the Mother Road, the Main Street of America aka the Will Rogers Highway and the most famous road in the world- the name evokes history and myths and legends. Route 66 remains firmly fixed in people's imaginations and memories, immortalised in print, music, TV and films despite having disappeared as an entity by the 1980s when Williams, the final town on the original road was bypassed by the Interstate. Route 66 was established in 1926, a 2400 mile (3840 kms) ribbon of road stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles, and goes through the states of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, It compassed the best of the old wagon and cattle trails - the Chisholm, the Pontiac and the Ozark plus the Fort Smith-California Road - and was removed as a US highway in 1985.
For me Route 66 held this mystical and romantic appeal. My first motorcycle ride in the States had to be on the Mother Road and it had to be on a Harley - from Chicago to LA because I don't think anybody admits that the road goes the other way! As the song by Bobby Troup goes: "If you ever plan to motor west Travel my way, the highway that's the best. Get your kicks on Route 66!"
Although we had thought about tackling it ourselves, I did some checking and rapidly came to the conclusion that the best way to get the most out of the trip was to join an organised tour. That way Sirda and I didn't have to worry about anything except enjoying ourselves and we were bound to see all those iconic places that we would never have found on our own.

We did some more checking and decided to go for an all-inclusive 15-day tour with EagleRider Motorcycle Tours based in LA. Pretty much everything was provided - hotels, bikes, fuel, breakfasts, riding jackets plus guides and a luggage van. I could also have my Harley (although I could also choose from a BMW, Honda, Triumph or even a trike). Booking was easy - a couple of emails, hand over the dosh and Sirda and I were on the last trip of the season, departing Chicago on 1 October on a 2011 H-D Electraglide Classic.
EagleRider provided good pre-tour information - tips on what to bring and riding in the States - and included the names and countries of all the other people on the tour. 31 people in all on 20 bikes - from Russia, Italy, the UK, Singapore, Canada, Australia, the US and another couple fromNew Zealand. There was also a good gender mix - 19 men and 12 women. There were 4 guides - 3 on bikes and 1 driving the van. It was sounding better and better by the day.

We arranged our flights to include a week with our son, Toby and his wife Sarah - they were married last year and now live in Philadelphia. So we flew directly there and spent a very pleasant time catching up with them including a tour of the Philadelphia City Hall - an amazing structure completed in 1901 having taken 30 years to build and with 700 rooms. It is topped by an 11.3 m
(37 ft), 27-ton bronze statue of city founder William Penn who interestingly died in poverty in England in 1718, once having owned over 45,000 square miles (120,000 km of what is now Pennsylvania. City Hall remained the tallest building in Philadelphia under the terms of a gentlemen's agreement that forbade any structure from rising above the top of William Penn's hat
until 1987.

We also took a day trip to Gettysburg - the site of the greatest battle of the American Civil War, fought over three days in July 1863 and which had the highest casualities of any other battle of that war. We paid to have a tour guide drive our car around the battlefield which covers a big area around the town of Gettysburg itself. He was very knowledgeable about the battle and was very friendly and outgoing. It was a really good way to learn about what is generally accepted to be the turning point of the Civil War We flew up to Chicago a couple of days before the tour started and when we jumped into the shuttle recommended by EagleRider at the airport, we met an English couple - Neil and Michelle, who were also on our tour - we managed to save some money by getting the discount for all 4 of us going to the same destination. We had booked an extra night at the Holiday Inn - the hotel for the tour - and it was very comfortable as were all the hotels that we were booked into by EagleRider - I was impressed with the consistent high standard of the accommodation.

Chicago is a stunning city and although the weather was a bit chilly we walked around admiring the architecture and the public sculpture. We also took a river and harbour cruise that gave us great views and understanding of the city. Almost all of the buildings in the centre date from after the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871, which razed 4 square miles of the city. Mind you it did prompt a huge rebuilding programme, which saw Chicago grow into one of the most populous and economically important cities in America. Friday afternoon and registration was at the hotel - we turned up to be greeted by this big bearded biker. "Just call me Preacher," he said as he shook my hand. We then met "Lala" his wife and the leader of our little group. April and Deejay were the other guides - April was our van driver and fastidious hander-outer of bottled water at every stop on the road and we soon came to be very appreciative of her attentiveness. We filled out the forms, sorted out our insurance and chose our riding jackets - they were good quality and ideal for summer riding.
That evening we enjoyed a welcome dinner at the Hard Rock Café - the meal and first drinks were included in the tour price as was the farewell dinner in LA but more of that later. It was a good opportunity to meet the other people on the trip and new friendships were already forming. Not for the last time on the trip Mozzie from the UK lost track of Alex, his partner and wandered home alone (she did eventually turn up!)