Route 66 Revisited: Bill gets serious

May 14, 2007

Route661.JPGOur two-week road trip tracing old Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago isn’t getting off to what you’d call an auspicious start.

The trip was never going to be easy, even though it sounded like a real lark as we were dreaming it up. The highway was decommissioned decades ago, torn up in some places, paved over in others by the new interstates and its remaining segments are not always easy to find.

But now, with just days to go before we set off, we have new worries. The master mechanic, who has worked for years on 1967 PorBill Roberts, a Porsche mechanic in San Diego, Californiasche were taking, has expressed concern about its ability to survive the 2,500-mile journey. The car has been in storage for the past two years. The mechanic, Bill Roberts, is the go-to guy at Dieters, the Porsche and BMW repair shop in downtown San Diego, when it comes to older Porsches.

Bill, 63, only has one eye he shot the other one out when he was 11 years old while playing with a gun; the bullet was never removed because doctors feared the procedure might blind him in the other eye. But Bills good eye is very good, especially when it comes to identifying and fixing finicky vintage Porsches with their touchy dual carburetors, points, plugs and valve covers.

DSCN0029.JPGWe’re going east on Interstates 10, 15, 40, 44 and 55, I told Bill. I’m with a Reuters colleague, Nick Carey, and we’re tracing as much as we can — old Route 66. Well write about our trip too, I said. Neither one of us was born in the United States; we see things a little differently than you Americans. I was born in Kitchener, Ontario. Nick’s from St. Andrews, Scotland.
Oh really? Bill said.

Make sure you stop in Seligman, Arizona and have a beer, he said. OK, I joked, maybe well even give you a call as we drink a beer.

Then Bill got serious.Interior of James's 1967 Porsche 912

Go easy on the car, he said. It doesnt like hills or the heat. If the temperature gauge gets beyond the middle point, ease up.

Inside Im thinking: What in Gods name are we doing?


Stick with guitar, Kelleher. Leave the blogging to people who can write. I spotted 2 typos already! This blog is gonna blow!!!!!

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive

The sub-head says “tracing the path of old Route 66″ of which I am a fan, visitor and afficionado. But it looks like you’re seeking a broader snapshot of America – what with the animal shelter and they guy who doesn’t know if a Bush vote is a mistake. Can we expect some more focus on the mother road, it’s hangers-on and attractions? I ask, because if you plan to write about dogs with heat stroke and political cluelessness, there’s gotta be a better 66 blog out there somewhere… And I missed the typos.

Posted by Another Andrew | Report as abusive

The guy who played with guns became a cop. That’s a problem with police recruitment. The recruits almost have to be gun aficionados. Who wants to carry around one of those heavy pieces of steel all day every day?

I have a neighbor, retired for 30 years form the PD. He still carries that gun with him wherever he goes.

Posted by Nehmo Sergheyev | Report as abusive