Category Archives: Route 66

We got our kicks on Route 66

“If you ever plan to motor west,
Travel my way, take the highway that is best.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.
It winds from Chicago to LA,
More than two thousand miles all the way.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.
Now you go through Saint Looey
Joplin, Missouri,
And Oklahoma City is mighty pretty.
You see Amarillo,
Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona.
Don’t forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino.”

And, this morning, we motored through San Bernardino to complete our last port of call from the song…except that wasn’t where the road ended!  We could have taken a photo of the sign but, no, it was a proper visit to the City Hall, the County Court and even the Sheriff’s Department Rehabilitation Center!!

Santa Monica Pier is the officially designated end of Route 66, so 5,080 miles after leaving Chicago we proudly posed underneath the sign which declared we had reached the end. We did it!!  We have been everywhere and then some. We have walked miles, as well, around all the places of interest we found along the way and have loved the diverse experiences throughout our journey.

Even today, we were having random conversations with a group of Hillary Clinton supporters and a couple of American ladies who had done part of the 66 but via the direct route, i.e. on the freeway. I met a guy, whilst queuing for iced coffee, who was convinced I was Australian.  He had made a long trip to the coast from south of Las Vegas!!  Whacky folk some of these Americans  spotted on the road today:

i feel so proud and pleased that we have completed this huge adventure but at the same time would love to go on and do more. Not this time. Thanks to both our families for encouraging our dream and thanks, particularly, to Carolyn for making sure we did everything we set out to do and never giving up… even if finding some of the places proved geographically challenging! I’ve said it before but it has been a truly awesome experience.

Carolyn’s Curios

So, for the last time (this trip!), I get to add some outtakes from our travelogue. Would it be about tonight when two staff at the hotel separately responded to my request, “Excuse me but could you tell me where the restaurant is, please?” by providing directions to… the Rest Rooms?!

Or, the discussion with the Hillary Clinton team on Santa Monica Pier where we agreed both on the distaste for Trump and the Brexit decision? Politics often divides but here it brought us together.

Maybe, the girl drummer of a family rock band playing “Twist and Shout” amongst others on the Pier. I mentioned to her that I had been playing drums to that music before her parents had been born! But, they were a good young band – a combination of White Stripes and Hanson, if you can imagine that.

Perhaps, that there were three separate and competing evangelical preaching groups on the Saturday afternoon in the sunshine at the seaside.

This journey has reached its natural geographical conclusion and, like Kath, I must say, again, my thanks to the family, especially Ann, for encouraging me to take up this opportunity and, of course, Kath, herself, for sharing the dream. We doubled the planned mileage; we added on every single day to the activities we had originally envisaged. We laughed consistently, marvelled frequently and enjoyed immensely.

A final couple of curios… why did they name this town as they did?!

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And, as I was driving on the five lane traffic jammed roads in Los Angeles after leaving the deserted, scrub surrounded, traffic-free, seemingly endlessly straight Route 66, it occurred to me that:

“The obese body of L.A. was sprawling across the canapé of the California landscape

with its concrete arteries clogged with car shaped cholesterol.”

And, we had fallen in love with the Original Historic Route 66. Its reputation is justified, its magic is real and its attraction, albeit being slowly submerged, is worth visiting and preserving. Catch it while you can. We did.

River deep and mountain high…🎼🎤🎹

 

There is no doubt that the Colorado River, that flows through the Grand Canyon, is deep and the sheer sides of the cliffs are a mile high.  It doesn’t stop the millions of visitors from peering over the edge and stepping out onto the unguarded ledges, so who were we not to join in?

It was a first visit for both of us and, after some last minute research, we elected to go to the South Rim which is managed by the National Parks and is quite superb.  For $30 per car you can park at any of the excellent parking areas and spend the day hopping on and off shuttle buses which take you to to many vantage points to capture the odd photograph. There were films, information points, guides, restaurants and just about anything you could need. We had intended to drive ourselves around, and many do, but the shuttle buses were an easy solution. The ticket last for a week, too

In the film we watched, we were told that the only limit to the vistas was the extent of our imagination, and so it was.  Let a small number of our photographs provide the evidence for wanting to stay for 10 hours and wait for the setting sun to paint its own tribute…..

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Carolyn’s Curios

Our first day since Chicago that we haven’t moved hotel! A long day at Grand Canyon but well worth it. The history it has had, and shows, is incredible.

So,… animals? Today, we saw a prairie dog, several elks: including two walking in front of our car in the dark! Oh, deer (sic!). And, Alvin! Well, it was a chipmunk and aren’t they all called Alvin?

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Mule trips are recommended here but we didn’t succumb. My dad looked after a mule when he was in the army during the war. He named it after my mum. Apparently, she had stubborn genes. What?!

Driving back the fifty or so miles tonight reminded me of the importance of dipping headlights and that, it seems, American drivers don’t accept that. Dazzling – sights during the day; headlights at night.

Finally, from me, the power of nature…
The Grand Canyon has what are described as “unique combinations of geologic colour and erosional forms which decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep”. The Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. It was formed millions of years ago and has been mainly eroded by the Colorado River. Water carving its way through rocks over eons of time to a mile in depth. Animals and plants forcing their acceptance in the harsh environment and, above all, humans for thousands of years have lived here. In awe, as ever.

Take it easy, don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy 🎼🎤

We left our tepee fairly early and, at that particular moment, we were still fairly confused as to the correct time. Our watches said one thing but the phones said one hour earlier. We knew yesterday that, within the national park, the State of Arizona adopted standard Mountain Time, ie not Summer Time, but our experiences today indicate that it appears to apply throughout. Therefore, in line with California, we are 8 hours from the UK.

Just a mile or two down the road we found the Jack Rabbit Trading Post sign, which is a bit of an icon on Route 66.  It looks tired compared to examples in the books so we had to have fun with the jack rabbit metal model – of course, we did!

The day had been designated by us as a ‘rest day’. In other words, it wasn’t far to Williams, so a gentle drive and early arrival we thought. Pah!!  Where better to go than Winslow to take it easy with The Eagles?  What a great place for Route 66ers and Eagles fans alike.  We found a statue, murals, quaint shop frontages and a delicious brunch at Sipp Shoppe. So far, so good.

The next detour (only about 12 miles each way!) was to a world famous meteor crater, used by astronauts for training and for imagining the appearance of the moon’s surface. It was hot and required a bit of effort (because of the altitude) to walk up to the top viewing platform but the views of both the crater and the landscape were well worth the effort.  Once again, huge efforts have been put into a theatre, learning centre and we both agreed the detour to be very worth while. We’re pictured above with Eduardo, the Director of Guides and the third largest piece of meteor in the world

On with the journey.  Next stop, Flagstaff, but don’t forget Winona.  I will leave Winona to Carolyn and say how much I enjoyed ‘Old Town’ Flagstaff.  The town has, obviously, sprawled outwards but the old town, which is right on Route 66, is full of olde world charm.  We were looking for a burger bar where you can grill your own burgers but struggled to find the right place, which appeared to be out of town.  A young couple suggested the finest burger place in town was Diabalo.  Carolyn said the burger was indeed mighty fine and I can confirm the house salad with blue cheese and ranch dressing was equally so.  We had some great conversation, too, with our companions on a shared table – a young couple who live in Phoenix but  have, unusually for Americans, visited the U.K.

No more diversions. We crossed the Arizona Divide at an altitude of 7,335 ft and cruised into Williams (a mere 6,800 ft) to find our hotel.  No tepee tonight and a bit more space.  Grand Canyon tomorrow – excited!

Carolyn’s Curios

OK. Winona. The lyrics of ‘Route 66’ have Winona out of order geographically and the writer, Bobby Troup, only included it to rhyme with Arizona. However, the words say “Don’t forget Winona”. So, ever obedient (when it suits!) we headed for Winona. Armed with a Sat. Nav., guide book, signposted roads and a good sense of direction, what could go wrong? But, it did. We left the I40 at the designated junction which was signposted ‘Winona’. What could go wrong? Only half a mile away. As we left the Interstate, another sign, simply ‘Winona’ with an arrow which we followed. But, where? We drove west. No! Back East! No! Looked for side roads. No! Reset Sat. Nav. Retraced route. No! No! No! Tonight, I researched online to find it barely exists and “which, alas, is now little more than a name on the exit sign along I-40.” It, also, said it is was called ‘Walnut’. Thanks! We didn’t find ‘Winona’ but we won’t forget it!!! But, we did find Walnut Bridge

Brunch in Winslow was excellent! One of the best experiences for me – music and memories! Take it easy? Sure. But, …

“Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand, and take it easy.”

I’d like to add two photos to Kath’s because I was ‘chuffed’ I’d taken them. Simply that.

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Meteor Crater was another breathtaking set of views. The brickwork formed a surreal picture frame and the panorama was hard to capture.

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Strange things happen when you look. Three women of a certain age, together with their husbands, entered Sipp Shoppe where we were having brunch. Nothing unusual … unless you noticed they had identical white trousers and pink t-shirts which all proclaimed ‘Sisters – nothing better!’ Fine. Except, within minutes they all had changed into identical black t-shirts advising everyone to ‘Take it Easy on Route 66’. Hmm!

Flagstaff? Really interesting place with so many things to look at and photo. Me? I did a photo of a Flagstaff flagstaff! What else?

Meep! Meep! We saw a (wily?) coyote a few days ago and yesterday, truly, Roadrunner! Zipping across the road in front of me  I couldn’t take a photo but a sign today reminded me.

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So, very long trains (145 wagons and five engines),  meteor crater, our new friends, Eduardo and the couple at Diabalo’s… and the day ends … but the journey … and, the ellipses … continue!

 

If a picture paints a thousand words….

I don’t think I could begin to do justice to today’s scenery no matter how many photographs I took (and, believe me, there are a lot in the camera).  Nor will I be able to paint it in words either, so for those who love majestic scenery, painted in all colours of the rainbow (no pun intended), a trip to The Petrified Forest and The Painted Desert should be high on your ‘to do’ list.

We made a leisurely start from Gallup because I had wanted to wish my youngest grandson a very happy first birthday on FaceTime. I think Oliver was happy to let me interrupt his teatime and it was lovely to have a chat to Tilly too, who made sure I knew it was her brother’s birthday.

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We headed out towards our stopping place for tonight and I had persuaded Carolyn, who had no idea what to expect, that a 35 mile drive through a National Park would be perfect!!  We started off in the Information Centre and immediately ran into Mark and Linda… again! (You may need to go back a couple of posts to understand how far we are now stretching coincidence). As ever, we were happy to run into them for the third time.

Armed with maps and information, we set off to drive, but we’re both out of the car taking photographs as much as we were in it. The desert floor and the majestic bluffs in their multi colours were set off by the pure blue sky. We wandered around some of the trails and it was so easy to imagine the Native Americans living there in their tepees (or tipis), their pueblo houses and even before that in the multitude of caves. Their primitive drawings on the rock faces live on.

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Once again, and even our American friends commented, you simply cannot comprehend the magnificence of the 360 degree vista, because it is never a matter of merely looking forward but also remembering to look at the different panorama behind you.

The Petrified Forest was fascinating in a different way. Seeing huge logs which had crystallised long ago and become bejewelled rocks scattered liberally across the desert floor, was something I had never experienced.

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Just a few miles further and we arrived in Holbrook to stay the night at Wigwam Motel. Wot? Actually, the Tepees are made of concrete and house within them a very spacious room, complete with 2 double beds, and a very small shower room. Very sweet, a completely new experience and with the Santa Fe railroad behind us, we may well go rushing off to a ‘normal’ hotel tomorrow.

Carolyn’s Curios

Firstly, apologies that this is late in posting. The tipi was sufficient accommodation but the wifi wasn’t! In fact, the evening was punctuated with the railroad behind, the Route 66 in front and the intermittent, yet frequent, electronic buzz from something/somewhere within the tipi. Plus, one of us, who shall remain nameless but it wasn’t me, didn’t put her ‘phone to silent and had a spam call at 01.00! However, was it worth it? Yes! Great fun. And, I’ve lived in a caravan which was even smaller.

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Earlier in the day… American road signs etc. are different. We joke that everything in America is bigger. Certainly, the roads are wider and longer. But, they also seem to try to exceed us in speed limits. Very few speed limits are round numbers. Our 30 is 35; our 40 – 45;… our 70 is 75! And another thing… traffic light sequences omit the Red/Amber prior to Green. Here they go immediately from Red to Green and it is a test of reaction time to get away promptly.

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Kath has commented on the sheer size of the views. Prior to this trip, I didn’t have much of a clear idea of how far this country stretches. Obviously, I knew the mileage but seeing it on a map or flying it is nothing compared to driving it, seeing it and feeling it. It’s vast!

The Painted Desert National Park is quite superb and awe inspiring by its scale and contrasts. Added to that, the ‘authorities’ have provided signage and facilities which enhance the incredible natural beauty. Very well done!

We travelled, for part of the day, through Navajo Nation which is a semi-autonomous Native American territory covering 27425 square miles, occupying portions of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah and northwestern New Mexico. A consolation for losing their lands those years ago?

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Take my breath away….🎼🎤🎹

A day to be breathless for lots of different reasons!  We started ours with breakfast at our hotel in Santa Fe and as we started to select our food, who should we bump into but Mark and Linda, the lovely people we met at the Halfway Point Cafe yesterday.  It was another opportunity for further conversation  and we wonder how many more coincidences we will experience.

No sooner were we on the road than we were experiencing jaw dropping moments as the vast skies and scenery stretched out before us. No matter how many films you see, nothing prepares you for the sheer vastness of the vista. Nowhere in the world have I seen skies which offer sun, small clouds, big clouds, clouds clearly rain laden, and the brightest, bluest sky…all at the same time, just by turning your head.

We just had to go and have a look at Albuquerque (a city with two Qs deserved a look). We serendipitously found Route 66 in the city and, in need of a coffee, happened on Garcia’s kitchen.  Was it too early to fit in brunch?  They did divine pancakes and Carolyn’s omelette was none too shabby either!  After finding our way around some of the ‘Old Town’, we decided to head off towards Gallup.

No journey we have taken has been a straight forward trip from A to B. Where’s the fun in that? Today’s little detour took us about 25 miles off piste to see a volcano and an ice cave.  This is where we experienced more breathlessness. The volcano was some 800 ft up a dusty lava strewn track.  It was steep (very) and with the wind blowing and a rain shower threatening, I confess it was my idea to bail out of that idea and head for the ice cave instead.  (I really don’t think Carolyn was too upset!!). The ice cave involved some considerable exertion too – loads of uneven steps (Carolyn counted 69!) as we descended into the icy chill. The temperature in this cave never gets above 31 F and, as rain water and snow melt into the cave, the ice floor thickens.  We looked and then contemplated the return climb up those steps.

We did comment that the whole area was reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project, with few people around, deserted roads and dense woodland. I wouldn’t choose to be out there on my own at night. But whether or not the ice cave was the best thing we had seen, the scenery on the journey was jaw-droppingly awesome. As we near Arizona, the mountains, monoliths and pillars are becoming more and more spectacular and I am looking forward to our days amongst the canyons.

For now we are having a quiet evening in Gallup. There are some Route 66 buildings, murals, etc, but this is may be somewhere you pass through rather than stay.

Carolyn’s Curios

Native Americans still advertise their crafts and curios as ‘Indian’ which seems strange, somehow. However, we saw Apache and a tribe I’d not heard about until today… Zuni.

Shopping in the local supermarket late this afternoon in Gallup, I was struck by the relative poverty of the local people but, also, a feeling of dé ja vu connected to Shanghai in that I was the only blonde in the store! Ok, my blonde comes from a bottle but even so. In fact, thr only grey haired person in the store was my travelling companion! CTMQ.

Another odd driving day with new signs. Firstly, a reminder of American truck convoys with “a bear in the air” which was brought to mind by the first one and the other making comparisons with the U.K. warning signs for animals.

On the next table in Garcia’s Kitchen were two officers of the enforcement agencies  looking nothing like our ‘bobbies’. If you imagine the archetypal comic sheriff of Dukes of Hazzard, Smokey and the Bandit or James Bond – they sat there. Overweight, seemingly laconic and with pistols on their hips.

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Finally, for this evening as the wifi is particularly slow… Gallup, New Mexico – a name which has a history and a sound of real interest. Regrettably, we haven’t seen that much to excite. Route 66 passes through here and some attempt has been made to capitalise on that. Not really successfully.. #Sorry.

The most impressive part of the day for me was the changing scenery especially the soil. Changing colour from red in Texas to a yellow in New Mexico but as we journeyed West, the layers of so many colours were displayed. More tomorrow.

 

The times they are a changin’

As we left the hotel this morning, I momentarily thought I was in the wrong place. It wasn’t the slightly overcast sky, but the definite chill in the air. The reading from the car said 60F degrees but we have been experiencing 90+F, so I wore a jumper!

Our first planned stop was just a couple of miles away. Easy.  You must be joking – that two miles took over half an hour as we followed various sets of directions before asking at the gas station. I had wanted to see the Cadillac Ranch since we first planned the trip. In reality, it is a collection of 10 graffiti covered Cadillacs that are half buried nose down in the middle of a field.  For reasons best known to their creator (Stanley Marsh, I believe), they face West “at the same angle as the Cheops Pyramids”. Whatever, but thanks to Carolyn’s steely determination and refusal to give up and move on, I was happy and lucky to have seen it.

Our next stop was at the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian which celebrates being the official half way mark of Route 66. However, instead of the officially declared 1139 miles, we had already done 2015!!  This is because we keep wandering off to go and look at lovely points of interest.  We helped out a couple of groups who wanted photographs at the famous sign and in return got one for ourselves. One very helpful fellow traveller took a selfie of himself with us whilst his friends were taking photos… whilst lying in the road.

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We also enjoyed our stop at the famous cafe (decked out in true 50’s style, with a working juke box), and met a delightful couple from Pensilvania who not only shared our love of 60s music, but the guy was almost as knowledgeable as Carolyn!

By this time, the clouds were breaking and the temperature was lifting as we made our way out of Texas. This was not before seeing a cattle ranch with probably several thousand head of cattle. Home of Texas Beef.  I also watched a tractor coming towards me spraying a field. The problem was I could neither see where the field began nor where it ended.  It could take him all day to spray a couple of furrows. All the jokes about everything being big in Texas are clearly true.

As we approached the border of New Mexico, our day suddenly got longer. First, the sat nav and then our phones shot back an hour. We had crossed into Mountain Time and gained an extra hour, taking us an hour further from the UK. I realised that my travels involving time changes had previously been experienced on board ship, and these are artificially constructed to take place at night. This was my first experience of crossing an invisible line to be told by my phone that my watch was wrong!

We caught sight of a flat topped mountain looming large in the distance and reminiscent of movies where the Cowboys are being pursued across the plain, mountain in background, by the ‘Indians’. We were approaching the town of Tucumcari and the mountain of the same name.  It was excellent for a browse as the town has preserved its links with Route 66. Indeed, that very road forms the town’s high street. We stopped for lunch at a thriving cafe, which is a clear favourite with the locals, and dined on a “Patsy Cline Melt”. This was a beef burger on toasted rye bread with cheese and mushrooms. Once again, a retro café and full of character and characters. The food was better than the menu looked but quirky!

Our final stop, before ending our journey in Santa Fe, was at The Blue Hole in Santa Rosa. Apparently a famous destination for scuba divers as the clarity of this artesian well is such that you can almost see the bottom through 80 ft of water.  Very inviting but difficult to get into swimwear in the open air without changing facilities, so we returned to the car. And, the water was cold!

But that was not not the end of the water.  As we climbed upwards to begin the long loop to Santa Fe, storm clouds descended, lightening flashed and the rain was epic.  Personally, I blame Carolyn for suggesting just an hour earlier that we should get the car cleaned. By the time we reached our hotel, the sky was clear, the sun was hot and normal service had resumed. That was a 300 mile drive today….and more of the same tomorrow.

Carolyn’s Curios

Curious signs: No Engine or Jake brake… apparently, these types of brakes involve engines and air pressure are noisy and, therefore, frequently banned in built up areas.

No disrespect intended but… I couldn’t help but notice that the spelling on the religious graffiti hadn’t been totally successful.

My section is headed Curios but we see them daily. This shows just one place where they are advertised.

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Kath commented and the world’s steaks on the hooves but driving further, we reached scrub land. I saw no more than two dozen cows in forty miles with the only fence being the one between the road and scrubland. There was no cultivation and the only sign of wild life was a few birds – barren.

We missed mentioning yet another encounter with ‘bikers’. Usually on Harley’s and enough of them for a book let alone a Chapter.

Times have changed… Driving at 75 mph with Sat. Nav. means we have a relatively easy journey. As we covered the miles, thoughts turned to the early settlers in their horse drawn wagons with minimal, if any, maps. “Go West, young man!” was the only instruction. What about those escaping the poverty, starvation and dust bowl in the Thirties immortalised in Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’?

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We were reminded of the American gun laws by the Pawn Store next to our hotel tonight advertising guns, as well as musical instruments and jewellery, for trading. I, also, spotted this sign.

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Confession time: the discussion with the lovely couple from Philadelphia involved Sixties music, Beatles’ Tours of Liverpool, Herman’s Hermits etc. but, as is often the case, descended almost into a game of Top Trumps. “I saw Peter Noone a little while ago in California” – “I saw him in Blackpool three years ago” “I saw Paul McCartney with a three hour concert earlier in the year” – “I saw Bruce Springsteen do a four hour concert at Old Trafford” et al. However, I missed my best card which is…”I learned to play drums left-handed on a kit which Paul McCartney played a drum duet with Ringo Starr. Paul also played left-handed!”

Regrettably, we both ‘failed’ when discussing the first UK act to top the US Billboard Charts. Our new American friend said ‘The Beatles’ but I, somehow, thought it wasn’t and suggested Herman’s Hermits (or, in my mind, the Dave Clark Five). We were both wrong.  The first UK act to top the Billboard 100 Chart was Acker Bilk (May 62) but in  pre-Billboard lists, it was Vera Lynn in 1952! Research complete!

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Was this the way to Amarillo?

The temperature this afternoon crept up to 98 degrees Farenheit which, coupled with a strong wind, made the car journey in its air conditioned comfort a pleasure, despite the distance.  Of course, I did the Peter Kay walk and sang happily as we loaded up the car and it must have been the right way as we reached Amarillo late this afternoon.  Needless to say, there was an adventure along the way.

We both agreed that a visit to the highly recommended National Route 66 Museum in Elk City was a ‘must’. Our optimism was justified and the transportation element was great fun with the chance to sit in a Cadillac, climb aboard a fire engine and ogle the motorbikes provided many a giggle. The funniest moment might have been Carolyn’s determination to come down the firemen’s pole – which she did with aplomb!

The Old Town element showed us a two storey Victorian house, the top of which was devoted to early cowboy and rodeo way of life. There was an Opera House, a Livery stable, Railroad depot, drug store, a church and, of course, the jail.

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We had found some quirky 66 stuff shown in one of our books in a place called Erick. Oh boy, was that a story.  I will forever think of it as “Revenge of the Sat Nav” after we had decided to do our own thing in Oklahoma yesterday.  We thought we were being clever when we put in a rather obscure but very precise address.  After turning off onto  smaller and smaller roads, we realised we were really in the heart of nowhere. We came upon Erick Cemetery and reasoned we were not too far away, so reprogrammed and, at that point, you could almost sense, “You have to be kidding me”, from the sat nav.  We went from narrow country lanes (without a building or vehicle in sight), to narrower dirt lanes, to ones where the grass growing in the middle was rattling the car’s undercarriage.  All I could think was, “Please don’t let me break down”. Eventually we made it into “town” to find the exhibit which we were looking for was both delapidated and closed. Thinking about it, the town seemed closed too. Nowhere for a coffee, not that I was remotely interested in lingering longer and was just itching to get back to the highway.  We found said road in just about a mile, which is when I knew the sat nav had been having a laugh.  This was real redneck country and not for the faint  hearted!

Because we were in Texas, it had to be steak for lunch.  By this time, we were in Shamrock, saw more Route 66 antiquities but were seduced by Big Vern’s Steakhouse for a sirloin and a salad.  Time was moving on, so onwards to another hotel. Because it is a Holiday Inn and same chain as last night, we are instantly at home. We were invited to Happy Hour in the lobby with snacks, beer and wine, all free. Amazing.

Tired now and 300 miles tomorrow but still looking for “Sweet Marie who waits for me”. Come on, sing the song!!

Carolyn’s Curios

When we look at modern day America with Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric (and some in the UK!), we may forget that all Europeans in the US were immigrants. More than that, they were invaders! Recently, we’ve driven through ‘homelands’ of Cheyenne, Navajo and Shawnee. Deprived of their ancestral birthrights, I can only imagine how they may feel as Native Americans.

As we could needed the miles we’d set ourselves for today, we noticed that the land had changed. The brown and grey of the soil had given way to take on a red hue.

Reminding us of the flatness, likelihood of high winds and, of course, tornados, it was salutary to see roadside billboards broken but still advertising ‘Camping’ with clean rest rooms and… storm shelters

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A few interesting road signs have caused me to smile. Wrong way signs on one way streets, Yield, instead of Give Way, and, the best of all, for me, the speed sign in redneck mid-America pronouncing firmly ‘No tolerance’!

Wild life isn’t too evident here. Black Angus cattle, a few horses and a couple of squirrels but today I saw a coyote.

I’ve commented elsewhere about my experience of music -especially ‘popular’ – so the Roger Miller Museum prompted slightly off key versions of ‘King of the Road’ and, of course, ‘England Swings’.

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So, we hit Texas and the Purple Heart Trail. Suddenly, for me, we now seem a long way from the UK. However, the journey continues… more exploring, more sights, more music, more fun!

Again, to end, as Kath misses out in the main blog her part in the posing for photos, a few here…