Dream A Little Dream With Me

A Story of Two Friends Sharing a Dream
and living to tell about it...LOL. As a follow-up to our recent article which included the top 10 spots to eat along Rt. 66, here's a great story about two friends and their Rt 66 trip. 

For many years two enthusiasts felt the pull of "The Mother Road" and had hoped to “one day” experience traveling the iconic Americana roadway, Route 66. Year after year, careers, families and other responsibilities deferred their dream and for most of that time, they didn't even know each other. A chance meeting in October of 1991 changed all of that. 

How did you meet each other? 

"I had just purchased a 1959 Coupe De Ville and decided to bring it to a local car show", said Sal. "While I was walking the field, I saw a sign inviting people to join the Cadillac Club of North Jersey." 

"Having just bought my car, I was excited to learn there was a local Cadillac club." "That was the day Bob Walton and I met." "Bob had just formed the club and was looking for new members." "I joined on the spot and became involved helping Bob" continued Sal. "Over the years, we worked side-by-side attending to the needs of the club and became good friends" said Bob.  "We shared our dreams of driving Route 66 one day, each conversation leading to the loose formation of plans we really didn't know if we would ever use."

When did you move from dreaming to planning? 
"I think we moved from dreaming to planning a lot earlier than we admitted" replied Bob. "We just hadn't committed to telling anyone yet, not even each other" he chuckled. "It just sort of fell into place, added Sal. "Retirement wasn't some far off place anymore, it was the next exit." "So we gathered up some basic plans and announced them to our wives." "We got a firm 'thumbs-up' approval, but we're still not sure if they did that thinking we might never go, or if they were looking forward to us leaving" quipped Sal.

How did you prepare for the trip?
"The first thing we did was hit the library looking for anything we could get our hands on" said Bob. "Old maps and books were a excellent resource" added Sal. "We compared them to what we found online, looking for changes we needed to plan for." "We found numerous landmarks that no longer existed." "We confirmed which ones were still there, the ones we wanted to include, and all remaining parts of the highway."
"We decided to take my '68 De Ville for the 7,300 mile trip, so I started the process of getting ready" said Bob. "I did as much of the work I could myself, but relied upon our friend Bob Clattenburg, a Cadillac specialist, to take care of the more technical work" he continued. "By the time we were ready to leave New Jersey it was in great shape, probably better than most daily drivers" added Bob.

We didn't leave with intentions to write a book
"We left for our 38 day trip, the car fully packed, on May 19, 2009" said Sal. "One thing we hadn't considered was if we'd return as friends after 38 days of living out of suitcases and driving 7,300 miles in a 41 year old car", but we did" he added. "And a trip we'll never forget" said Bob.
1st Rt. 66 sign. It wasn't until we were home when we saw the No Parking sign

"When the trip was over we had over 8,000 photos, several dozen hand written pages of notes, and 15 pages of notes on the laptop" said Sal. "Our friends were expecting us to tell them about our adventure, so we set out to reduce our collection of photos and notes for a club presentation." 

"When the presentation was done, we were candidly surprised how much it was enjoyed by the nearly 100 people in attendance." "They were the ones who gave us the inspiration" added Bob. "We wrote the book with the intentions of telling a story, not compiling a fact book" they said. "We think there are a lot of people who would want or have wanted to do what we did, but can't." "So we wrote the book for them."

Sal and Bob, thank you for sharing your story with us. If you would like to know more about their story of driving Route 66, please visit their site. It's full of details, pictures, and more of their story.