Category Archives: Storm Shelter

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…

Another day, another Springfield!

Still no sign of the Simpsons, so they probably don’t live in this Springfield (Missouri) either!

The day started anything but bright and fair and the only brightness in St Louis came from flashes of lightning. The TV announced localised flash flooding and a cold front where the temperatures are dropping to 82 degrees Farenheit. How fortunate then that about 50 miles beyond St Louis, normal weather service was resumed. We took the Tulsa Road for part of the journey and as we are staying there tomorrow, I guess you could say that we were 24 hours from Tulsa!!  Hmmm, perhaps not the most amusing or original thing to say, but it tickled us.

Today, we were driving about 250 miles and when possible we skipped off the main highway to actually drive along the old Route 66. This is harder to do than you might imagine as much of the original road has been covered over by a much larger highway which by-passes the old small towns and villages. We went to find one such place today, Fanning 66 Outpost, which is famous for (of all things) the largest rocking chair in the world. Next door was a store that once sold all kinds of Route 66 memorabilia, but sadly displayed a sign to say they had gone out of business.  I wonder how many more such Route 66 icons will go the same way? On the stylised mural on the wall, we were both surprised and amused to find the only name which was mentioned was Carolyn’s Cafe! As for the petrol sign, Route 66 was so famous they named a petrol brand after it

Underterred, we headed into Springfield in glorious sunshine and went off to explore.  It was good to be back in the sun, although the heat and particularly the humidity are crazy.  We seem to attract attention when we speak and find ourselves ‘novelty attractions’.  We should talk more and charge!

Carolyn’s Curios

Occasionally, on the roads, we notice that Tarmac has been discovered… albeit recently. Concrete rules! We saw our first real hills today and the countryside was green and tree laden. The places we passed through included: Cuba, Lebanon and the quaintly named Doolittle, which was quite near a sign to ‘Pomme De Terre Lake’. What?! We came across travelling stacked tractor units. Impressive and expensive.

imageWe passed several fireworks factories, Jesse James hideout (then) and waxworks (now) but noted the Nuclear War shelter and a Mule Tradng Post. More likely and more frequent events are the tornados in this area. Astonishing for us to realise that these are normal events and have to be accommodated.

 

Another unusual (for us) sign, which we came across first in Chicago and several times today, is ‘No guns allowed’ – and we, rightly, in the UK think smoking cigarettes should be banned.image

Finally, for today… as Shaw said, “Two countries separated by a common language”. I saw on the menu ‘Baked potato’ but, without much thought, asked for ‘Jacket potato’ much to the puzzlement and then amusement of the waiter. He told us later that he had immediately briefed/warned the kitchen staff about the English!