First Taste of Desert

            Bubba has made it as far as New Mexico and has been warned that the road is hard to find and in very poor shape.  There is always the option of a newer piece or he could even hit the freeway, but we have to give the old stuff a chance first.

            If we were going to be in a bad road / desert situation we would have to top off the supplies.  First stop is to gas up the car at another ultra modern station.

            After getting gas for the car, the natural move is to do the same for us.  We stopped at this drive in and didn’t even have to get out of the car.  The wait time was a little slow but, hey, you wait for quality food, right?

            No body was home at the Home of Quality FOOD so we pressed on.  Our directions were to turn off the main two-lane at the sign painted on the rock wall and head toward the tracks.  The road bridge is next to the railroad bridge.  We located the sign which was very helpful in pointing the way.  They want to make sure you don’t get lost.

            I’m not too sure about this part of the road.  This was not the road on the TV show, well Wagon Train maybe, but not the corvette in Route 66.

            We got to the part where it crosses the stream but there was a minor problem with the bridge.  It wasn’t there anymore.

            Rick figured if we went fast enough we could drive across the railroad bridge.  He said he did it in Wingo, California all the time.  It was about a minute later that Spider vetoed that idea.

            Now I was stuck in the desert!  I didn’t like this place.  The trees are sharp!

            Water, Water!  I was parched.  I needed to find a watering hole.  Any watering hole, even a muddy brown one will do.  I lucked out and found a nice clear blue hole.

 

          

  It is blue and it is a hole and it is water.  We found a little nicer road and headed off.  I wasn’t sure where we were right then but the sign said Las Vegas was up ahead.   I heard somewhere that some of the best casinos are on the outskirts so we stopped at this place to celebrate our victory over this part of the desert.  Oooo! The glitz and glamour of Las Vegas.  Look at all that neon.

            Maybe we took a wrong turn somewhere.  The barkeep said we were still in New Mexico.  He said we were just outside of Las Vegas, New Mexico.  Actually it is not a bad little town.  We stopped off at the Plaza Hotel for a little slice of the OLD, old days.

            After we figured out exactly where we were on a spur of Route 66, we rested up.  Tomorrow we would hit Santa Fe.

Big Texas Stuff, the Midpoint, and New Mexico

            At the end of the last post Bubba parked the car with others belonging to people who drive like him.  When we started out in the morning, he backed into one of the legs of the water tower.  We decided that it was time to get out of town.

            Passing through Amarillo Texas, we were told we had to visit a Big Texan.  “A big Texan what?”  I asked.  We found a Big Texan Boot.

            We found a Big Texan Cow.  You could get a free Big Texan Steak if you wanted to fight the cow for it.

            This guy claimed to be The Big Texan but the lace cuffs on his pants made me suspicious.  He claimed they were painted on boots and that made things sooo much better.

            Finally, finally we found the real Big Texan.  He treated us to a 72 oz. steak from The Big Cow.

            Just outside of town we found this interesting natural rock formation in an empty field.

            As we got closer we saw that it was some more of that Big Texan Parking.  This time it was with Cadillacs.  They have a vehicle placement problem here.

            I don’t know who did the tagging.  There was a security camera nearby; maybe they got a photo of whoever did the spray painting.

     We briefly considered stopping here for the night.  We found a fabulous hotel.  It had 50 rooms but only 40 were fabulous enough.

            Instead we continued on to the town of Adrian, our last Texas stop and the midpoint on our journey.  As you can see, the whole town turned out for our arrival.

     I had a decision to make.  I really wanted to see my mystery friend, Millie.  Was she ahead of me?  Was she behind?  Which way to go?  I made a decision…this way.

Maybe I should have gone the other way. 

            We crossed into New Mexico and stopped at a place to do a little shopping for luxury items to bring back to our friends.

            It was time to stop and settle in.  We had a choice.  This first place we looked at advertised “Squeaky Clean Rooms”.  Instead of a pool, they had a sand box to play in.

            The name may have been a little misleading since, in my mind, a safari conjures up visions of a lush jungle.  I had not seen a whole lot of foliage around here, lush or not.  This place looked a little more inviting.  It had Refrigerated air.  Not just some of it, but 100% of it.

            In one of the highlights of our trip we were able to see the Tucumcari Museum whose grounds had, the sign claimed, rocks and plants.  It was actually a very nice slice of life from a small desert town.

            We have been told that the road “has issues” ahead.  We will leave that for next time.

Devil’s Rope in Texas

            Bubba is back on the road in Texas.  Today he is looking forward to seeing a special museum.

            Today we are visiting The Devil’s Rope Museum.  I’ve been looking forward to seeing this place for hundreds of miles.  A whole museum devoted to Devil’s rope.  Can you imagine?  I don’t have a clue what Devil’s rope is but I’m sure it will be something. 

            We decided to hit the road early, starting off with a bite to eat at the U Drop Inn.

     From there we gassed up at the ultra modern gas station.  These oil companies in Texas operate with a tight profit margin, so they don’t modernize much.

            Off we go along Route 66 looking for something called Devil’s rope. 

IS THIS IT?

            No, no, no, that is just advertising for an old roadside attraction.  Or maybe it is a warning to watch your step.  Or maybe it is a community comment on the character of the people living in that trailer.  I don’t know for sure.  It was a sign by itself in a field.  I kept my feet up just in case.

            Finally we arrived and I found the true definition of Devil’s Rope.

     Devil’s Rope is barbed wire.  This is a whole museum devoted to barbed wire.  How much could there be?  It was a pretty large building.

            It is all here.  Everything you want to know about wire is here.  Fence posts through history, types, makers, tools, and even medicines used to treat injuries caused by Devil’s rope.

            Can you get a wire overdose?  I will be seeing this stuff in my nightmares.

            Back in the car, our map said the road was going to get a little rough and it might be some distance between gas stations so we thought we would fill our tank.  Luckily, the tanker truck had just arrived.

            We found the branch of the old road we were to follow.

            Maybe we should top off at this gas station too.

            We then headed out on the long road.

            As evening came, we decided to look for a hotel.  There was not much to choose from on this stretch.  We came across this place.  The rates were competitive and the rooms were…rooms.

            We had second thoughts about the place because the parking lot looked empty except for one car.  It appeared that he was a long term guest.

            We were just about to leave when we went around to the other side and saw the parking lot was full.  This must be a pretty good place after all.  This many people could not be wrong.

They park funny here.

Next we will be finishing up our Texas portion of the Mother Road, and heading into New Mexico.

Heading to Texas

Heading to Texas

            Bubba is heading across Oklahoma and moving into Texas.  Route 66 went through a short piece of Texas. Some of the towns bypassed by the new roads have dried up and some have blown away.

            We arose early and had a brief bite in the local tavern. 

            The place needed a little maintenance; a light bulb was burned out in the rest room. 

           The road was getting rougher so I gave a test drive to a car better suited to both me and the road.  It is little but rough.

            I took it for a spin.  It was a little hard for me to turn the steering wheel.

            I decided to go back to being a passenger with Rick and Spider.  The addition of the newer, bigger, roads makes it difficult to stay on the old portions sometimes.  Our choice here was to go over the perimeter fence or go around and do some backtracking. 

            Maybe we could dodge the trucks and stay on track. 

            Some of the old places are deteriorating and it is only a matter of time before…

We waited at this place for an hour and a half for a big gust of wind.

          In other places restoration has taken place.  This little station is in Shamrock Texas.  It is a great little town worth a stop.

          At night it is a beacon in the darkness.

          When in Shamrock Texas there is but one place to eat.  Big Vern’s

          It isn’t hard to find.  It is one block east of THE red light.  We missed it at first because we only saw a green light but eventually found it and the friendly staff took us to our table.

          They brought me in, in a nice bunch of grapes.

          After seeing the town’s other attraction, the largest water tower in the state we bedded down for the night.

                                                      Next time we will learn about Devil’s Rope.

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving Oklahoma

            Bubba is on the road.  He is traveling Route 66 in Oklahoma heading west.  As he leaves the big cities of Tulsa and Oklahoma City, the landscape changes.

            We have gone a long way.  We started in Chicago a year ago and after a break are back to complete the route.  It is easy to get lost on a road that, for the most part, doesn’t exist anymore and sometimes I think we may have strayed off the track.

            I wasn’t sure if the “Yukon Czech Capital” is in Canada or Europe.  I certainly wouldn’t have looked for it here.  Rick and Spider assured me we were still on track in Oklahoma.  I had to agree.  I looked around and we did seem to be in Oklahoma.  I saw no signs of us being anywhere else.

     Maybe this is the “Way South Canadian River”.  I believe I read somewhere this is the longest bridge of this type anywhere, at least in Canadian Oklahoma.  The trestles just roll off into the distance.

     We are in the country now.  This is Route 66 as it was in the Southwest.  It rolls straight off into the distance.   Being bypassed by bigger roads, these days you can drive where you want and as fast as the road allows. 

     You do have to be a little careful, the road is a little narrow and you never know what is hiding in one of the dips just waiting to shove you off into a field.

     I think I heard the farmer yelling at us and thanking us for plowing his field as we slid sideways past him. 

     The road with its concrete curbs and asphalt patches was showing its age a bit prompting us to slow down and enjoy the scenery.

     That was the good road.  The bad part was ahead.  We did get a warning that road conditions may change.

     Luckily our GPS told us where we were.  Driving on road.

     We soon came to a big city.  This place is so laid back that if you can’t find a parking place; you just park in the middle of the street. 

     It was time to stop for the day.  We gassed up the car.

     Got a bite to eat in a first class restaurant.

     We checked out the maps and decided to push to get into Texas the next day.  Oklahoma is a nice place but we had Santa Monica ahead of us.  We found a great four star hotel and bedded down for the night.

Texas Tomorrow!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok Rt 66

     Oklahoma has some pristine portions of old Route 66 still intact.  When the newer, bigger roads were built, these stretches were left behind.  Now many serve to access the old farms and the homes of the past.  They make their way, unspoiled, through the quiet countryside.  The 66 remnants in this area are often straight with small concrete curbs at the edges. 

     Driving on these roads is like taking a Sunday drive that lasts for about a month.  You feel as though you are a million miles and several decades removed from the present world.  Bubba started getting thirsty and…well…I’ll let him tell you the rest.

     We were getting a little parched.  We had to find a place to grab a quick drink.  You can’t be too picky on old remote roads like this so we decided that we would stop at the first place we saw that even looked like they might have any kind of beverage.  We came across this place and thought maybe it would have some soda pop.  I don’t know what the clue was, maybe just a feeling.

     Yes, it does have ANY kind of beverage.  You can shop by brand or shop by color.  I drank a bottle of this, a bottle of that, and WOW, look at how many varieties of Jolt they have!!  Maybe I had a little too much sugar and caffeine or maybe there was a special soda hidden in there but all of a sudden the colors were starting to get to me.

     Back on the road it wasn’t long before I had to stop and use the facilities to get rid of some of this excess liquid.  Bathrooms can be few and far and it was getting urgent.  I think maybe the local police were aware of this and did their best to slow me down.

     We took them at their word and, sure enough, there was an Officer, all dressed up in his blue uniform, with a speed camera.

     Not wanting a repeat of the Kansas encounter, we backed off the speed a little.  We finally found a rest stop in Oklahoma City at the Will Rogers Theater and Sushi Restaurant.  Raw fish in the middle of Oklahoma sounded fresh and tasty but we decided to pass on lunch. 

     Instead we stopped at this place.  It looks like they might have milk here.  The road nibbled at the building until this was all that was left.  There was a man walking on the corner and the City was nice enough to put a sign there to explain that he was a man walking on the corner.

 

     They didn’t have an empty table so we stopped off for a gourmet meal at this place instead.  It has a four star Michelin rating.

 

     Maybe it was a four tire Michelin rating.  We placed our order and the waiter went into the back.  We heard a gunshot and in no time we had a nice big plate of “chicken” with a big plate of “more” on the side.

 After that meal we all had to take a break.

 

 

 

 

On the Road Again

            Before the holiday season and the resulting trip to the dentist, Bubba was just starting out on his epic Route 66 road trip.  On this leg, he was starting in Oklahoma and heading west.  The goal was to find, and drive on, as much of the old road as possible.  We picked up at the same location as we stopped the year before, even staying at the same hotel.

The hotel we stayed at in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma had suffered over the last year.  The restaurant next door was closed so the country western Karaoke we “enjoyed” last year would not be on the agenda.  The in-hotel night club was also closed.  Well, this was a weekend so I guess…I don’t have an excuse for them. 

Our first stop on the 66-11 tour was Catoosa, Oklahoma.  This is where we left off last year.  We revisited the Blue Whale. 

            He was glad to see us again as you can tell from his big grin.  This is a Rt. 66 landmark that is in a “swimming hole” in a small park.  You can use the tremendous waterslide on the side or do a little tail diving.  You have to be careful of the aquatic plants and unidentifiable things that now clog the pond.  The Catoosa whale is one of the Rt. 66 giants.  Tracing the old route should bring us to many of the sights and attractions from the years past. 

            We motored on to Tulsa where I posed for a picture with this guy.  Another giant!  I had to find a safe place to stand.  This guy was big!! 

     Can you see me?  It was hard to get us both in the picture.  I’m sitting on the shoelace on his left foot.  Yeah, there I am.  I thought maybe the best way to stay out from under his foot was to sit on top of it.

     A glance, some pictures and we hit the road again.  We had to pretty much stay on the new road that was put down in 1952 in this location.   It was the up-to-date modern two laner road.  We finally found a spur of the original road from 1926 and carefully crossed the bridge.

I’m glad we had a small car.  The bridge did have a nice brick floor to it.

            There are some odd traditions that have come down over the years.  One is the Shoe Tree.  For some strange, demonic possession type reason, people stop, write on their shoes, and leave them in this tree.

            One shoe in particular caught my eye and I tried it on.

            JUUUST a little too big. 

            We then stopped at the Rock Café in Stroud Oklahoma.  This landmark was built in 1939 from rock excavated when the Mother Road was built. 

     The grounds are strewn with curiosities to tempt the weary traveler to stop and feast.  I had a quick chat with a fish that was sitting outside waiting for a table. 

       Since we saw his name on the menu, we decided to get back in the car and move on.

      Rick was getting a little tired so he let me drive the rental car.  I had a little trouble parking it at the next stop.

I’ll try again another time.