PONTIAC — A Pontiac family finished up the ultimate road trip Saturday — traveling 2,000 miles across eight states and logging about a million memories.
For years, Pontiac residents Ken and Barb Ehresman planned the mother lode of all trips on the Mother Road of all roads. Their family trip tracing Route 66, starting in California, ended in Pontiac early Saturday night.
“My husband is a car buff,” Barb said. “He has been wanting to do this for a long time. We’ve been working a couple of years on this and we finally did it.”
The Ehresmans transported six cars, five of which are vintage, to Los Angeles including a 1957 Buick, 1970 Monte Carlo, 1976 Trans Am, 1976 El Camino, a 1964½ Mustang and a 2000 Corvette. Each morning during the drive back to Illinois, the family switched drivers, cars and occupants.
“One of the things the current generations don’t do is take trips like this and reconnect with their families,” said Brody Ehresman, Ken’s brother, a Pontiac native living in Michigan. “Ken and I have been dreaming about doing this since we were kids.”
To prepare for the trip, the Ehresmans worked weekends tweaking the cars.
“These cars are all weekend warrior cars and not prepared for a transcontinental journey,” Brody said. “So we spent a lot of time turning wrenches and replacing wheel bearings.”
Still, they encountered problems. Brody and Ken missed the Grand Canyon because of brake issues with the Mustang. The Monte Carlo lost a transmission. The El Camino broke down in the Mojave Desert. All were repaired by family members or car shops along the route.
There was a hospital trip, too. Their father, Robert, took a spill in Amarillo and broke four ribs.
“But he’s doing fine now,” Brody said.
While Barb is anxious to get back home and sleep in her own bed, she will also miss the bonding with 16 family members and meeting new people along the way.
“There was a point in New Mexico where there was no cell phone service and we were cut off from society just like in the old days,” she said. “It reminded me of the way things used to be and you could just focus on your family and nothing else. I do really wish we had a few more days, because when you have great family, you never want to get back home.”