Busted for Drugs – Day 41

Busted for Drugs

Day 41 – May 11, 2003 – Sunday

This Mother’s Day, I visited Doolittle and Sleeper, traveled to Cuba, enjoyed Bourbon, drove the Devil’s Elbow, and ended the day with family and friends in the St. Louis area.  I was also “busted” for drugs today.


Happy Mother’s Day.  I spent Mother’s Day on the Mother Road.  My last full day of Route 66, as I get off the Route in St. Louis.


I backtracked on Route 66 from Springfield to Joplin, then took the interstate back to Springfield where I rejoined Route 66.


Downtown Springfield offered the Shrine Mosque – a great old building, the Landers Theatre, and some great old signs.  The Gailey Drugs sign photo is one of my favorites as I don’t believe I have ever before captured such a blue sky with a camera.


The farmland west of Springfield is pretty and mighty green.  Nice hills.  Halltown had some nice old buildings as did Phelps and Avilla.


In Carthage, I kept seeing a variety of really cool pole-mounted signs advertising various businesses that were apparently put up by something called Foxfire Farms.  I have subsequently done some Internet research to learn that I missed a great detour to a place called Red Oak II.


Here’s the story I found through a search engine:


“Sometime around 1974, world-famous folk artist Lowell Davis, the “Grandfather of Rural art”, and wife Charlotte, bought a corn patch just outside of historic Carthage, Missouri, and close to the famous “Mother “Road”, Route 66.  With childhood memories of the original Red Oak, Missouri, where Lowell had once lived as a child, he came home to find it a ghost town. So Lowell and Charlotte purchased the last remaining buildings at Red Oak, and moved them to their new home.  Their corn patch became “Red Oak II, Missoura”.  See not only Lowell’s depiction of what rural Missouri life looked like in an era past, but take a gander at the remaining section of a pre-Civil War mansion, a rare, two-story log cabin with spiral staircase, the “Missoura Kid”, the Dalton Gang house, the “Mother-in-Law” house, the “Womanizer” and much more.”


I missed it, but when you drive down Route 66 in Carthage, Missouri, turn north at the big convertible pickup truck in the sky, and go two miles to Red Oak II.  I take it that Lowell Davis creates folk art signs under the “Foxfire Farms” name.  Here are some photos of what I missed seeing — http://www.ozarkdigitworks.us/2pictures/2scenery/7redoakii/redoakii/indexredoakii.html.

Carthage has the fabulous Jasper County Courthouse, second most beautiful we’ve seen (Marfa, Texas is best).  It is really something to see.  There’s a Civil War Museum.  And the great old Boots Motel.  My new Joplin friend Lois told me he worked at the Boots Drive-In when he was a boy (45 years or so ago I reckon), and he told me to be sure to look across the street from where the motel is, and I would see where the drive-in used to be.  I did, and I took a photo for Lois, Jordan, and Wynoka.


I got a kick out of the “loaded car” at Bulger Motor Co. in Carterville – an old car loaded with all kinds of junk.


Webb City has several things to see.  The city has a praying hands statue, but it’s not in the same league as the one at Oral Roberts University.  It’s a zinc mining town, and they have a nice sculpture of a zinc miner.


There are a lot of Burma Shave-like religious signs in this part of the country – apparently a very religious area.


I was back in Springfield by noon.  I decided sometime back to skip Branson since Bozzie Jane was no longer with me.  The traffic is horrendous on the weekends to and from Branson.  But when I realized Lambert’s Café (best meal we’ve had in Foley, Alabama) was just a few miles south, I steered the car in that direction.  Unfortunately there was a 2½ hour wait this Mother’s Day, so I got back to Route 66 and drove on.


Many towns came and went with little or nothing special to see.  A city hall with a big Route 66 sign, an exotic animal park, barns advertising Meramec Caverns.  Nothing big, but a nice, peaceful drive on a Sunday.


Lebanon has the classic old Munger Moss Motel, but it was distressing to see it is now part of Red Carpet Inns.  Their tacky little Red Carpet Inn sign has been added to the great old Munger Moss neon sign.


I got lost and went to the town of Sleeper by mistake, but I enjoyed adding that name to the list of town’s visited.  I got some good photos in Hazelgreen, and I photographed a couple of good mailboxes for the first time in quite a few days.


I tried a few spots for lunch, but there was always a wait due to Mother’s Day.  I finally settled for Sonic in St. Robert, Missouri.  It’s always good.  Jamie was my car-hop.


Fort Leonard Wood was next.  I drove to the entrance for a photo.  Fort Leonard Wood is considered to be the premiere training facility for the US Army.  I was there for Army basic training the extremely hot summer of 1970, and there were few fond memories.  Barbara’s parents did bring her up from Dallas for a brief visit on the base one Sunday afternoon.  Her parents are so sweet; they went to the only local theatre and watched the only available movie four times – “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes.”  Bozzie and I sat out under a tree in the sweltering heat and high humidity and kissed and hugged and sweated.  It was clearly the highlight of my time at Fort Leonard Wood – that and the day I got to leave there.


East of Fort Leonard Wood is the Devil’s Elbow section of Route 66.  It is supposed to be one of the more treacherous areas on Route 66.  It didn’t seem very treacherous to me, but I later learned that I wasn’t on the original Route 66.  This is one of the disadvantages of not having a navigator; it is so hard to try to travel Route 66 alone as you really need someone studying the available information so you can find the right roads and the good places to see.  Missouri’s Route 66 signage may be the worst.  There are almost always signs, but they are always AFTER the turns.  I learned that if you turn and don’t see a Route 66 sign within an eighth of a mile, you probably took the wrong turn.


John’s Modern Cabins was clearly on my personal radar screen, however.  I was dumped back on the interstate west of where it was supposed to be, so I was very pleased when I saw what appeared to be the ruins of the cabins just off the road on what appeared to be an access road on the north side of the interstate.  I took the exit for Sugartree, crossed the interstate, and turned left onto the deserted dead end stretch of abandoned Route 66 that led down to the old cabins.  The road was a mess – giant potholes, and I was dodging them as best I could when I looked in my rear view mirror to see the flashing lights of a police car.  That’s always a terrible sight!


I pulled over and rolled down my window.  I absolutely positively knew I wasn’t speeding.  With the exception of the race from Pietown to Quemado when I was out of gas on Easter Sunday, I don’t believe I have exceeded the speed limit “allowance” of a few miles an hour over since Vincent Passarelli paid a visit to us on Day 3.  When the officer walked up, I asked if there was a problem.  He said, “You bet there is.  You didn’t use a turn signal back there when you turned left, and you’ve been swerving from one lane to the other.  I thought you might be drunk or something.”  I replied that I was absolutely sober – hadn’t had a drink since one Dos Equis in Terlingua on Day 18, and am about as careful a driver as you will ever find, and I always use my turn signals – every time I turn and every time I change lanes, so I was absolutely confident that I did signal.  The officer responded: Well, I have a partner with me, and he didn’t see the signal either.”  He went on to say: “Of course, there might have been glare from the sun….”  I thought this was strange.  I don’t ever recall having a policeman say he might have been wrong about something!  I had long since given him my driver’s license.  I then told him that as to the swerving, this is a deserted road with giant potholes, and I was just trying to avoid ruining my car as I go down the road just a little ways to take photos of the old abandoned cabins.  He asked what I was doing, and I explained that I was writing a book and taking photos of sights along Route 66, and John’s Modern Cabins was one of the landmarks that I really wanted to photograph.  I handed him a card with the story about the trip on the back.


He leaned in the window and looked inside the car.  The inside of the car is a mess as Bozzie is in Dallas, and I was just throwing all of the acquired brochures and maps and things in the floorboard of the passenger side of the car.  My black tote bags were in the back seat, and the car was generally full of stuff, as the only empty space was where Bozzie’s black bags used to be in the trunk.  I am, of course, wearing my green purple, and white beads, as well as my new gold beads – always impressive to officers of the law.  He said: “Now sometimes we have problems with people with drugs.  Would you mind if we search your car for drugs?”  I started to open the car door, and said: “Absolutely no problem.  Search away.  I hope you won’t mind if I take a few photos while you search!”  At that point, he said: “It won’t be necessary to search your car.  I just wanted to see what you’d say.  You can go on now.”  I thanked him.  He hollered out to his partner: “This fellow is just a photographer – headed down to take some photos of the old cabins.”  But I persisted on the photo, so Officer Carmello got out of the car and posed with Officer Ray, and I got a nice photo with their lights still flashing.


Busted for drugs in Sugartree, Missouri!  I actually enjoyed it.  It absolutely spiced up a ho-hum day.


I took photos of John’s Modern Cabins – built by John Dausch in 1951 and closed in the 60’ after I-44 took all the traffic off Route 66.  Dausch lived there until he died in 1971.  The cabins are in bad shape.  I hope someone salvages and restores them so they aren’t lost the way so many things have been.


As I dodged the potholes and headed back across the interstate to get on Route 66 on the other side of the highway, I all of a sudden realized what had happened earlier.  I had forgotten about seeing a little sign on the side of the interstate before I exited for Sugartree.  The sign said “Spot Check 1 Mile Ahead.”  I didn’t know what that was all about, but I all of a sudden realized that old Ray and Carmello put that sign out there before the exit.  Then they hide in the bushes and trump up some reason to pull over any car that exits in this middle of nowhere place…figuring the odds are pretty good that those getting off have drugs to hide or toss or just plan to drive on a backroad to avoid the Spot Checkpoint.  Sneaky stuff.  When I saw Ray and Carmello tucked back behind some bushes, I just waved.  I followed the road to a dead end in Arlington, and then I retraced my path and passed by them again.  They had a U-Haul truck with drug-sniffing dogs out giving it a good once over.  Don’t you know they thought they hit the motherlode when a gray-haired gray-bearded guy wearing beads driving a white Porsche convertible got off “to avoid the Spot Check” and drove down the dead end road!  I laughed for miles.


I saw some llamas in Doolittle and a great big mailbox featuring a train and a tire with “Do Not Disturb — We’re TIREd” painted on the side.


Uncle Ward had dinner reservations for 7 pm, so I didn’t spend much time anywhere else in Missouri.  I saw the Totem Pole Trading Post in Rolla, the Stonehenge Replica at the University of Missouri at Rolla, and the outside of the Autos of Yesteryear Museum.  I got lost heading to St. James, and I am positive that our Route 66 map was wrong about where to drive in this area.  I saw the vineyards in the grape-growing region of Rosati, and I stopped at the Rosati Winery long enough to meet Marvin Ripplemayer and buy one of the Grape Pies I had seen advertised on little signs along the highway.  I asked Marvin if he was the owner, and he responded: “Me, my wife, and the bank.”  They’ve all owned it for better than 25 years.


Being in Cuba was a treat.  Cuba, Missouri.  I took a number of photos there, but I need to contact the folks at the bank there and advise them they need to trim their shrub out front as you can no longer read the word Bank.  They’re losing a lot of free publicity from Route 66’ers like me who want a photo of the People’s Bank of Cuba.


Bourbon was next.  Sleeper, Doolittle, Cuba, and Bourbon all in one day.  Great day for town names.


The area around St. Cloud, Missouri is certainly one of the prettiest areas along all of Route 66 – pretty hills and tree-lined roads.


Stanton is a tourist area because Meramec Caverns is just outside of town.  Meramec Caverns invented the bumper sticker.  As regular readers know, Bozzie Jane and I do not do caverns, so I took the obligatory entrance sign picture and rolled on.  I also got photos of the Toy Museum and Jesse James Museum as well as a few other tourist traps.


At this point, I was late for dinner, so I hopped on the interstate and cranked it up to the speed limit.


Uncle-in-law Ward, nieces Kelly and Kricky, cousins Taylor, Kylie, and Carson, nephew-in-law Vern, and old friends Ruth and Doug Huggins were at the Wild Horse Grill in Chesterfield, Missouri.  We had a delicious meal, a brief but enjoyable chance to visit, and then the guys went over to Ward’s house where we ate the Grape Pie.  Not the best pie we’ve ever had, but clearly unusual and enjoyable.  Vern took the leftovers home to warm up with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Mother’s Day was far from the most exciting day of the trip, though the Drug Bust made it a lot of fun.  I enjoyed seeing what’s left of John’s Modern Cabins and some of the other sights along the way, but I kept thinking about what I would have seen 50 years ago.  In the town of Avilla, I saw a great old building with a big lot next door filled with a pile of old weathered wood rubble.  The Route 66 CD usually gets played at some point each day when we’ve driven Route 66.  One of the better songs is titled “Get Your Kicks on What’s Left of Route 66.”  One of the lyrics is “Where history has been rubbed out.”


Two Chicken Farmers and a Rancher – Day 40

Two Chicken Farmers and a Rancher

Day 40 – May 10, 2003 – Saturday

Today was a four-state day.  I started in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and before the day was done, I had been to Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri.


George Robertson, another fraternity pledge brother, met me at the Fairfield Inn at 8:45 am.  He brought me a delicious Toll House Pie that he picked up special from Clicks Steakhouse in Pawnee, Oklahoma.  We spent a little time together, and George gave me directions to several of the sights to see in Tulsa.  Marquis, the desk clerk, chimed in when we asked him what was the most unique sight to see in Tulsa.  He informed me that there is a much smaller version of the World Trade Center in Tulsa – designed by the same architects who did the World Trade Center in New York.  Exactly the kind of unique sight I was looking for!


At Oral Roberts University, I saw the world’s largest praying hands.  This is an incredible work of art that is much more impressive in person than it is in photographs.  The hands are massive, and the detail is incredible.  I also saw the Prayer Tower.


George suggested that I then take Riverside Drive into downtown Tulsa.  It was a nice drive.  He also indicated I should be on the lookout for giant penguins.  There are apparently giant penguins all over town.  I’m not sure what the deal is – may be a Stanley Marsh 3 type thing, but I was tickled when I spotted one at the First Christian Church.  Just a big, well-dressed penguin statue.

I found the mini World trade Center, the Williams Towers, in downtown Tulsa.  I also found the old art deco bridge that used to carry Route 66 traffic.


In Catoosa, I was so pleased to see the famous Blue Whale.  This is a giant whale with a slide in its side.  The Blue Whale was originally built in 1977 as an anniversary gift, and it then became a swimming park.  It closed in 1988 but was recently fully refurbished, and it was in great condition.


Claremore is the hometown of Will Rogers.  I went through the Will Rogers Museum, and it was outstanding.  It is in what was his primary home, and it’s filled with information and artifacts that cover his career, interests, hobbies, politics, airplanes, radio, movies, and more.  There’s a beautiful theatre in one wing, and Bob Hope narrates a Will Rogers story.  Will Rogers is buried right there on the grounds.


Just down the hill from Will’s place is the Hammett House, a place that came highly recommended for pies.  I ordered lunch, and then caught the eye and ear of Bill Biard, the owner.  The next thing I knew I was getting a cook’s tour of the Hammett House Pie Kitchen.  It’s a big, big operation.  They were preparing for Mother’s Day, and they had several hundred individual Strawberry Pies ready as well as 30 or 40 other pies of various types.  Bill’s favorite was the unusual Lemon Pecan, and I enjoyed it.  Amber, my waitress, told me to get the Coconut Cream (their best seller), but I figured I owed it to Bill to eat his favorite after the tour and all.  I also met Ashley and Jessica, two sisters who work there.  There were a lot of cute kids working there, and it was a very busy place.  Bill gave me a bag of their Mashed Potato Rolls to take with me and eat on the road.  Absolutely delicious!


I saw the old Will Rogers Hotel in downtown Claremore.  Claremore is another very patriotic town with lots of flags flying.


Foyil is the hometown of Andy Payne.  Andy Payne won the Bunion Derby in 1928.  He ran cross country – New York to LA – 3,422 miles in just a little over two months.  An amazing accomplishment.  Foyil is also the home of Totem Pole Park.  Similar to Coral Castle and Tinkertown, Totem Pole Park represents the life’s work of one man – Ed Galloway.  Ed was a self-taught artist and craftsman.  He retired from his job with a children’s home in 1937, and he worked 7-days-a-week for the next 25 years to build Totem Pole Park.  The world’s largest totem pole is there – 90-feet tall, 18-feet in diameter with a circumference of 57-feet at the base.  Ed worked on it from 1937 until 1948.  He also made fiddles; there was a building full of beautiful fiddles that Ed handcrafted.


Thunder and lightning were on both sides of the road as I drove through Chelsea, White Oak, and Vinita.  In Afton, everyone was out on their porch watching the really nasty looking clouds to the north.  I don’t know how I did it, but I again missed the rain.


My plan for Arkansas was to detour off Route 66 at Afton to head over to the border, touch my foot down in Arkansas, and take a picture of the Welcome to Arkansas sign and an Arkansas license plate.  I saw some funky stuff in Grove, Oklahoma – a Cinderella’s Carriage at the Cheapo Depo and a trailer loaded with small lighthouses.  I never dreamed there was a big market for small lighthouses to go in people’s yards or on their boat docks.  Like the Human Dildo in New Orleans and the Snake Charmer in Hollywood, Residential Lighthouse Maker just isn’t an occupation that you think about.


I reached Arkansas about 4 pm, and I stepped over the line, took a picture of the Welcome to Arkansas sign, and even managed to get a license plate photo at the corner where I took the Welcome sign photo.  But then I felt bad about slighting Arkansas.  Arkansas probably gets the short end of the stick a lot of the time, so I decided to drive into the nearest town of Maysville and look around and take some photos.


I stopped at the Maysville Handy Stop to get a Coke from the machine out front.  I ran into a nice couple from Bentonville; Charles is a veterinarian, and Kelly is a hotel manager.  We talked for a while, and they drove off.  When I turned to put my money in the Coke machine, I saw three men looking in my direction from a bench just inside the Handy Stop, so I decided to go in and say hello.  I walked out two hours later.  It was a fascinating time with three hard-working Arkansas chicken farmers.  Actually, I was told to make that two chicken farmers and one RANCHER.  Troy and Steve are chicken farmers.  Dean is a RANCHER.


Dean’s wife of 49 years died last year.  He decided to ask a woman out on a date just recently.  There was a woman back in town who he once danced one dance with back in high school, and she had been recently widowed.  He called her and asked her out.  She accepted but then called a day or two later to cancel.  Her daughter didn’t want her to go because “you’ll get stuck out there on that nasty old chicken farm for the rest of your life.”  Dean has a couple of cows, so he has now decided his love life will be improved if he considers himself to be a RANCHER.


I will write much more later about my conversation with Dean, Troy, and Steve.  The life of a chicken farmer is a tough life, and these men work incredibly hard to make ends meet.  I thought it was very telling when they talked about how much better a lot of their friends have it when they get old and get put into a state old folks home.  They told me that rural America is dying.  I sure hate to see that happening.  There’s just something out of whack when farmers have to work so hard to earn so very little.


When I asked Dean, Troy, and Steve if I could take their picture, they were eager.  I asked them to sit closer together, but I couldn’t get them quite as close as I’d have liked, so I snapped the best shot I could get after I twice tried to get them just a little closer.  Some folks came in while I was “posing” the guys, and they were asked “hey, what’s going on.”  I believe it was Troy who responded: “We’re gonna be on the INternet!”  I wish I had it recorded.  There’s no way to write it the way it sounded.  My sense was that they were excited about being special – something almost all of us like.


The little forks in the road continue to amaze me.  If I had followed my original plan, I would have never seen the Handy Stop in Maysville.  If I hadn’t pulled up the second Charles and Kelly came out with their Cokes in the old-fashioned bottles and hadn’t spent a few minutes speaking with them, I’d have never noticed Dean, Troy, and Steve, and I’d have dropped my quarters in the Coke machine and headed back to Oklahoma.  That’s the optimistic view of things that I choose to have.


I didn’t see a lot for the rest of the day.  In Miami, I did see the beautiful Coleman Theatre, a great old Speed-A-Way gas station, and an old motel or two.  In Commerce, the hometown of Mickey mantle, I saw a sign heralding the Future Home of the Mickey Mantle Museum as well as a little Route 66 landmark, the Rock Shop.  I enjoyed the city limits sign in Quapaw — proud of Miss Indian 1999.


Kansas became state number 12 about 7:30.  I was going to sample the pie at Murphey’s Restaurant, but it was closed.  I took a few photos in Galena and Riverton, and then I was in Missouri.  Route 66 covers just 17 miles in Kansas.


I was on the side of the road in Joplin, Missouri when a pickup truck pulled up behind me.  I couldn’t see inside.  I cautiously approached the driver’s side, and I was relieved to see Lois, Jordan, and Wynoka rather than someone who looked like Harley’s cousin.  Lois stopped when he saw I was taking a Route 66 photo just to give me ideas on places to go and sights to see along Route 66 in Missouri.  Little Jordan was just as cute and sweet as could be, and she seemed so honored when I have her one of my business cards as well.  What nice people!

I drove off to see if I could still get in the Joplin museum that Lois told me about.  It took me a little while to find it, and a pickup truck pulled in behind me.  Lois and Jordan dropped Wynoka off at the Wal-Mart, and they were just coming to see if I found it okay.  We talked a while more.  Jordan had this big smile on her face and seemed to really be enjoying all this boring talk about the Boots Motel in Carthage and other spots along the way.  I asked Jordan if she had ever seen a man wearing beads before.  She replied, “No, I haven’t.”  I asked her what she thought when she saw me.  She said” “I thought your beads were pretty and that you looked very nice wearing them.”  What a doll.


I was mighty sleepy when I finally pulled into the hotel in Springfield about 10:30.  I’d have to backtrack some more tomorrow.


Lesson for the day:  Arkansas is just as important as California, Texas, or New York.  There are wonderful people to meet and get to know anywhere you go, and you will probably learn more from three chicken farmers in Arkansas than you will from three attorneys in Manhattan.

Lingerie and Harley Davidson Wear – Day 39

Lingerie and Harley Davidson Wear

Day 39 – May 9, 2003 – Friday

I left the Marriott Courtyard in Oklahoma City bright and early as I have to backtrack.  It was dark for way too many towns and things I want to see for the last 100 miles or so.


A lady named J.D. asked about my beads in the elevator – the “Mardi Gras question.”  She declined to let me take her photo, but I gave her my card, and she called on the cell phone later to invite me to come to the hospital to get a Mother’s Day photo of her with her mother.  Unfortunately, I was well down the road by the time I got the voice mail message.

I drove west on Route 66 out of Oklahoma City.  I saw a great steel bridge in Bethany, but there was no place to get over to take a photo.  Bethany showed great patriotism with two flags on every light pole.


I was reminded of a travel tip last night.  Be careful when using the hair dryer outlet in a hotel for charging your camera or cell phone as the reset button often needs to be hit.

Yukon is the hometown of Garth Brooks and the home of the Yukon Flour Mills.  I reached the 10,000 mile mark between Yukon and El Reno.  I stopped for a 10,000 mile photo – found an abandoned white house with a red roof.


The Deluxe Inn in El Reno used to be the Big 8 Motel and was featured in the movie “Rainman.”  Someone bought it, changed the name, and went out of business.  Dumb and dumber.  I stopped at the very nice Heroes Plaza in El Reno – nice war memorial.  I also stopped to see Jobe’s Charcoalburgers – a classic 60’s-era drive-in restaurant with those wonderful remote ordering stations like they had at the Char King in Lubbock and at similar drive-ins all across the country.


After road construction forced me to drive quite a ways in the wrong direction, I noted that every Route 66 state should have each and every Route 66 exit so marked.  I believe Texas was the only state that seemed to do this.


It was a nice drive to Calumet and on to Geary – very green, peaceful farmland.  I took a few photos in and around Geary.  When I reached Hydro, I knew I was looking for Lucille’s, one of the best known Route 66 landmarks.  Lucille Hamons operated Lucille’s from 1941 until the 1990’s.  She was a very special lady, and she was called “the Mother of the Mother Road.”  There was a Burma Shave sign in her honor leading up to the service station building, as well as a memorial to her along the fence next to the interstate.  A faded sign in the window indicates Lucille’s will be auctioned off on ebay in August.


Harley and Annabelle made a point for me to go to Weatherford, Oklahoma to see Nettie’s.  They said it was a lingerie and Harley Davidson wear store.  Weatherford is also the home of astronaut Thomas P. Stafford, and an air and space museum there bears his name.  Southwest Oklahoma State University is also in Weatherford.  I drove down Route 66 and didn’t see Nettie’s when I reached the downtown area.  I made a second pass and still didn’t see it.  I parked the car, and as I walked down the street, I spotted it.  It wasn’t exactly what I had pictured.


Inside, I met Nettie and her mother, Juanita, two ladies blessed to look a whole lot younger than they apparently are.  And sweet as can be.  I told them Harley and Annabelle had sent me, and we sat down in their “home away from home” in the back room and just talked and talked.


Nettie got her college degree.  She went to work for a company for 10 years, but she always wanted to be her own boss.  It was also their dream for mother and daughter to work together.  Juanita was a mental health counselor, and neither of them had the money to start a business, but Nettie had a plan.  She typed up her business plan, and took it to three banks in Weatherford.  Three banks in Weatherford turned her down.  They all wanted collateral, but she had none.  She was single and had never even owned a home.  Her car was paid for, and she had accumulated a lot of “expensive” sweaters.  Refusing to give up, she went to see their hometown banker in Clinton Oklahoma.  The banker gave her the loan just based upon knowing her and accepted her inventory as collateral on the loan.  She paid the bank off in full over five years, and she’s been operating for eight years now.


She chose Weatherford because it’s a college town.  She initially had ladies clothes directed at the college market and a few gifts, but she has added a number of interesting product lines over the years.  Here’s the progression:


Ladies wear directed at the college market.


A few gift items.


Sexy lingerie for bridal shower gifts.  Nettie notes there is no Victoria’s Secret in a small town like Weatherford, and she immediately began selling a ton of lingerie and still does.

Harley Davidson clothing.  She saw some at a market and thought she could sell some of it, and now she carries every licensed Harley product she can get, and she does “REALLY well” with all of it.


Baby clothes came next.  She figures her college customers buy some clothes, get engaged and buy sexy lingerie, and then have babies and need baby clothes.  She reports the baby clothes sell like hotcakes.


Microdermabrasion was then added.  I guess after a few babies, her customers are looking for younger skin.


The most recent addition is wheelchairs and walkers.  Time marches on, I guess.


Needless to say, such a diverse product line would never work in larger towns.  Nettie says “people ask how I can have this kind of stuff all mixed together, and I respond that there just are no other shops in town with any of what we sell, so it works.”


Nettie invited me to return to Canute that evening to go to a bar called Friends where Pinky and the Snakeshakers would be performing for a special party.  I would have absolutely loved to see a group called Pinky and the Snakeshakers, but I have to be in Tulsa tomorrow morning to have breakfast with an old friend, so I’ll have to miss it.  I’m sure my Kos friends will all be there.


It’s amazing what you can put together and be successful doing in America – especially in a small town.


Clinton is an interesting town.  I enjoyed seeing Mad Dog Fireworks – a fireworks stand that just happens to be located right next to a big Army tank.  Clinton has a number of interesting old motels, including the Trade Winds Inn.  Elvis slept there, or so the sign says.


The big attraction in Clinton is the Oklahoma Route 66 museum.  Harley and Annabelle told me to be sure to see it, and to stick my head in and say hi to Pat Smith, the director.  I did just that, and I also met the two absolutely wonderful ladies who work there, Goldie and Lee, as well as two funny guests, Skip and Yvonne.  We had a great time talking and laughing.  Then I put a headset on and toured the museum.  It is GREAT!  The museum has wonderful displays and tells the whole story of Route 66.  The museum is really well done – much better than the so-called National Route 66 Museum just down the road in Elk City, Oklahoma.  Pat gave me a media kit and a museum mug.  I bought a deck of Route 66 playing cards so Boz and I can use them the next time we crush Brittany and “Ace” in a Spade-A-Rama.


I asked the ladies where to eat, and they said “Jiggs Smoke House.”  They warned me the servings are huge and not to order the kitchen sink.


I found Jiggs on the western outskirts of town.  I walked in with five guys who just returned from a round of golf – Cory, Lance, Jake, Jeff, and Rick.  Rick was a veteran of Jiggs Smoke House, and he advised me to order the Pig Sickle Sandwich – not the regular Pig Sickle Sandwich, but the Triple Pig Sickle Sandwich.  I told him the ladies at the Route 66 museum warned me that the servings were huge and not to order the “kitchen sink.”  Rick and Lynn, the owner, laughed and told me the “Kitchen Sink” is one of their truly massive specialties.  They also have an even bigger sandwich called the Wooly Booger.  I ordered the Triple Pig Sickle.  The sandwich was truly unique and outstanding.  I was too busy eating, telling stories, and listening to stories to investigate what all was inside the giant bowling ball-like bun, but it was the extremely tender rib meat off the bone, with cheese, and barbecue sauce.  The only way to eat it was with a fork, and man was it good.  The golfers were great fun, and Cory grew up in Snyder, Texas where he went to school with the daughter of Rick Hall, a fraternity brother of mine who died of skin cancer a few years ago.


I asked Rick what was the most unique thing about Clinton, and he proudly reported that their 4A football team has an absolutely incredible winning record over a zillion years.  I drove back into town to take a picture of the stadium, but the picture apparently did not turn out.  Sorry, Rick, but I was there and saw the very impressive high school stadium.


Backtracking complete, I hopped on the interstate to get back to where I started the day – Oklahoma City.  It took me an hour and a half to cover the ground that I had spent 6½  hours traveling earlier today.


In Oklahoma City, I saw the National Memorial at the site of the former Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.  It is an extremely moving and well-conceived memorial.  There are big walls with the times 9:01 and 9:03 engraved on them — one wall represents the time one minute before the blast and the other represents one minute after.  There is one small section of wall – all that remains from the building.  A beautiful reflecting pool is in the center of the property bounded by the two big walls.  In a field to the south are chairs –, one chair for each of the victims.  There is a message spray painted on the wall of a neighboring building by the task force charged with solving the crime, an area for children, and sections of the fence where people have left tens of thousands of remembrances for the victims.  You can’t see it without getting tears in your eyes!  It is definitely something everyone should see.


I left the Memorial about 6:30 pm, so here I was a full daytime behind schedule.  I would have added a day right there, but I had to be in Tulsa to see George Robertson tomorrow morning, and then I had to be in St. Louis for dinner with family on Mother’s day night, so I just had to do the best I could do.


I made it to Arcadia in time to see the wonderful round barn built in 1898.  I took a few other photos of old service stations and the like.


I have been very surprised to see how green Oklahoma is.  There are a lot of trees and rolling hills.  Though I lived most of my life in Texas, I never spent any real time in Oklahoma, and I always had it pictured much like West Texas – flat, barren, and dusty.  With apologies to all the Lucky Me’s and Stanley Marsh 3, Oklahoma is much prettier.


I managed to get a few photos in Chandler and a couple of barns with billboards painted on them advertising Meramec Caverns.  I’m sure I missed a few enjoyable sights in this part of Oklahoma because night caught me.


When I reached Stroud, I was on the lookout for the Rock Café – another Route 66 landmark.  I walked in, and four people gathered at the counter looked up.  Tiffany immediately asked me whether I had gotten her beads out of her car.  I assured her I had gotten my beads from the Floating Neutrinos, and I sat down like a local and we all talked for the next hour and a half.   First, there were Amy, Joan, Tiffany, and Bryan.  Bryan left and Ron joined us.  Then Casey and Zach came in.  I ordered the peach cobbler, and it was truly exceptional – definitely one of the best “pies” on the trip so far.  Tiffany disappeared after a few minutes, and when I saw her again, she was handing me a string of her beads – bright shiny gold beads.  How sweet was that!

I heard a lot of stories about Stroud, especially the tornado that all but wiped out the town a few years ago.  Later that night, I learned that terrible tornados hit nearby — shortly after I drove on.


My amazing weather luck continues as it never rained on me.  39 days and counting.


The most interesting story at the Rock Café came from Ron.  Ron met Joan when she was a waitress at a drive-in restaurant down the road a ways.  He spotted her and decided she was the one for him.  He asked her to get married, and he says she said “not No but Hell No.”  He stayed after her and let her know the proposal was open.  He headed back to Houston where he lived.  She was in Stroud, Oklahoma.  She called him one day out of the blue and said she was ready.  Ron drove straight to Stroud, put her in the car, and drove straight back to Houston.  She learned her parents thought someone had killed her, so she called home to let them know she was okay.  Ron and Joan got a marriage license and carried it around for the longest time.  People asked them when they were going to get married, and they said they were going to get around to it.  They were at a garage sale one day and learned there was a minister there.  They asked him to marry them, and he did – right there in the garage in front of the garage sale customers.


Casey and Zach are young high school age boys.  I told them I thought life in a small town was mighty good.  They said the problem with small towns is that there’s not much to do.  That seems to be the national anthem of teenagers in small towns we’ve visited.


I walked into the Rock Café with nothing but my beads and my camera.  Five or ten minutes later, it was like I knew everyone in the place, and I was talking with all of them.  That just wouldn’t happen in a big city.  I hope Casey and Zach will appreciate that some day.  If they stay in Stroud, they probably will.


Leroy gave me good directions to the Tulsa Fairfield Inn, and I pulled in about 9:45.  The days are too long.  I’ve got to correct this for the second half of the trip by traveling without hotel reservations so there isn’t always a deadline – a place we have to be each night.


There were two distinct messages today.  It’s amazing what you can put together and be successful doing in America – especially in a small town.  And we must do everything possible to minimize the chances of terrorism in our great country.


Harley and Annabelle – Day 38

Harley and Annabelle

Day 38 – May 8, 2003 – Thursday

Bozzie Jane’s father has had what is being described as a mini-stroke, so I am taking her to the Lubbock International Airport for a flight to Dallas so she can be with him and help out.  Her mom (Mimi) just had knee replacement surgery, so they can really use a helping hand right now.

Berlinda had a wonderful breakfast – by far the best we’ve had.  Special thanks to Alice, a friend of Berlinda’s, who heard we were coming and provided delicious homemade muffins.  Tons of food, and there was no charge!  We had a great time, but we always feel sad when we say goodbye to Steve and Berlinda.


Neesha helped Boz with her luggage.  A neck problem from an accident on an airplane a year or so ago makes it impossible for Boz to carry much weight at all.


I didn’t want to say anything to Bozzie Jane, but I couldn’t hear out of my right ear this morning.  It started bothering me yesterday, but it was completely closed today.  I knew I couldn’t go on until I saw a doctor.  I thought it would be easy.  I should have known better.

My first stop was at the first doctor’s office I came to near the local hospital.  The receptionist sent me to Dr. Thomas F. Neal, her Ear, Nose & Throat doctor.  Five nice ladies (Kitty, Tami, Stephanie, Debra, and Dana) said their doctors were all booked up.  They sent me to a doctor on the next street over — Dr. John R. Marchbanks.  The two nice ladies there (Debbie and Kay) advised me that Dr. Marchbanks was in surgery all day.  They sent me to another doctor in the same building, but the receptionist for Dr. Medhabadi brushed me off and didn’t even give me the time of day.  Her name will not appear in the book, and I will not be sending her any beads.  Back to the two nicest ladies (Debbie and Kay); they suggested that I just go to a walk-in medical clinic, and they gave me directions.


At Covenant Family Healthcare Center, Jeanie and Blanca assisted me out front.  I filled out all the forms and waited in the lobby.  So, eleven medical office ladies, five doctors, and several hours later, I got to see Dr. Poonjab Swooomaharooroomadan (I may not have that name just right).  Dr. Swooomaharooroomadan didn’t say much, but she took a big, long, cold silver thing and thrust it deep inside my right ear canal.  She kept poking and scraping and prodding for the longest time.  She finally emerged with something she seemed proud of.  I couldn’t understand her thick accent, but she may have called it a dirt clod embedded in the ear drum.  Whatever it was, it was gone, and it’s like a whole new world when you can hear again. I asked Dr. Swooomaharooroomadan if I could take her picture, but she refused.  She was no fun at all.  Dr. Steve Miller will win Best Doctor and Best Name for a Doctor in our Best & Worst Competition.

I visited the Buddy Holly statue and Buddy Holly Museum before I left town.  The statue is very nice – surrounded by the Lubbock Walk of Fame.  Lubbock and West Texas have had a number of big musical stars.  In addition to Buddy Holly, there were plaques for Waylon Jennings, Mac Davis, Jimmy Dean, Sonny Curtis, Tanya Tucker, Joe Ely (who attended Monterey High School in Lubbock at the same time I did), Roy Orbison, Bob Wills, Gatlin Brothers, Buddy Knox, Butch Hancock, Delbert McClinton, the Fireballs, and others.  I just pray they never add the name of the lead singer for the Dixie Chicks who I am embarrassed to say is from Lubbock.  (It was great seeing their peers joke about them and boo them on the recent Country Music Awards!)


The Buddy Holly Center is very nice with a great sign out front with the world’s largest pair of black horn-rimmed eyeglasses.  I stopped at the Wind Power Conversion Center on the outskirts of town for a photo of a large clump of windmills.  I met Mickey at a gas pump at a non-Texaco station, and I rolled on through Idalou, Lorenzo, and Ralls.  Ralls is the “home of the Fighting Jackrabbits, so I tried to find a fighting jackrabbit for a photo, but I came up empty.  I passed through Cone, and then I stopped in Floydada, self-proclaimed Pumpkin Capital of the USA, for a little lunch.  I started to eat at P.J.’s Fantastico Burritos, but the Dixie Dog caught me eye right next door.  It was a small walk-up drive-thru kitchen in a box.  The Dixie Dog advertised “a meal on a stick.”  I ordered two Dixie Dogs (corny dogs) and a large Coke.  It was $2.39.  The sweet lady who helped me was Glenda Kemp, the owner.  There was a sign in the window that said “Close 2 – 4:30 until business gets better.”  Mrs. Kemp said it would be 10 to 11 minutes.  10 to 11 minutes later, folks were waving at me from inside the Dixie Dog.  It wasn’t fast food; they cooked those Dixie Dogs to order, and they were piping hot, fresh, and delicious.  There was a free Strawberry Dum Dum in the bottom of my bag.  I didn’t have the heart to tell them I don’t like strawberries; it was the though that counts.  I hope business gets better.  The next time you’re in Floydada, do yourself a favor, and eat at Dixie Dog.


South Plains and Silverton before I reached Palo Duro Canyon.  I spoke to Bozzie Jane and was so pleased to hear that her Dad (Papa) was doing okay – not great, but was walking with the use of a walker and was very alert.


Just outside Silverton, I saw a sign for Strange Farms.  I U-turned for a photo.  I assume it is a farm owned by some people called Strange, but with Stanley Marsh 3 nearby in Amarillo, you never know.


I got a few glimpses of the Palo Duro Canyon.  It’s not the Grand Canyon or Big Bend, but it is a surprising sight to see in flat West Texas.  I stopped for a photo at Lake MacKenzie, and I thought I was going to blow off the cliff; I don’t know that I’ve ever been out in a wind as strong.  I met Donna and Tom from Illinois at one roadside picnic area.  They just happened to be driving down this highway and had no idea that Palo Duro Canyon even existed, so they were quite pleasantly surprised by the scenery.


On Route 66 again about 3:30.  I knew my plans for the day were shot as I had way too much ground to cover in Texas and Oklahoma, and the travel agent booked us for the night in Oklahoma City – much further than I had intended to go in the first place.  Nothing to do but press on.


The world’s largest cross is a most impressive sight in Groom, Texas.  I also saw the Leaning Water Tower of Texas there and the remnants of the 66 Courts Motel and service station.  Groom also has a mural.  Bless their hearts, it’s about the worst mural I’ve ever seen, but you gotta admire their spirit.


In Alanreed, I saw the historic First Baptist Church with a big sign on the side saying “Truckers Welcome.”  I also saw the beautifully restored 66 Super Service Station.


McLean had a number of photo opps – old buildings, the Devil’s Rope (barbed wire) Museum, old service stations, an old theatre, and more.


When I hit Shamrock, I was blown away by the fabulously restored Conoco Tower Station and the U Drop Inn Café.  I drove into town to see the green fire hydrants and to kiss the Blarney Stone and rub my beads on it so I can have eternal good luck.


I reached Oklahoma just before 5 pm.  Texola is the borderline ghost town.  Not much left there.  Texola’s slogan is a proud one just the same: “No place like Texola.”  I got a photo of the long-closed Longhorn Trading post, a restaurant opened in the 30’s.  I could just barely make out the word “Longhorn” on the faded façade.


Erick, Oklahoma was just seven miles down Route 66 – one of those towns that you’ll miss if you blink.  I kept my eyes wide open as I knew this was Roger Miller’s hometown, and I wanted to see and photograph something Roger Miller-related.  When the speed limit increased, I realized that I had failed.  I started to drive on, but then I thought there HAS to be something with Roger Miller’s name on it somewhere in Erick, so a U-turn gave me a second chance.  I saw an old truck with a flag painted on the side, but no Roger Miller.  Then I came to the only intersection in the town, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a big flag painted on the side of a building.  It wasn’t a particularly good painting, but it was an old building and a big flag, so I turned left, hopped out of the car with the engine running, walked out into the vacant lot, and snapped a photo.


As I turned to go back to the car, I came eyeball-to-eyeball with a man who looked like he had just stepped out of the movie “Deliverance.”  He had long frizzy hair, a big gaping hole in his mouth where his front tooth used to be, faded blue overalls, no shirt, and was barefoot.  He kind of scared me.  He was hollering something about “Welcome to the Redneck Capital of the World” and mediocre music, and I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into.  He wanted me to come into the old, dark City Meat Market building.  There wasn’t another human or car anywhere in sight.  I told him I needed to turn off my car, which I did need to do, but I was buying time trying to figure out how I could get out of going into the City Meat Market with a guy who scared the bejeesus out of me a few moments before.  He kept talking and waving me over, and I kept stalling.  Then out of the meat market came a really sweet-looking lady with long gray hair, and the Deliverance guy calmed it down a notch or two and said, “Welcome to Erick, Oklahoma, redneck capital of the world and the home of legendary singer-songwriter, Roger “King of the Road” Miller.  You’re at the Sandhills Curiosity Shop, formerly the City Meat Market, in the oldest brick building in downtown Erick, Oklahoma.  My name is Harley, and this is my better-half Annabelle, and we are the Mediocre Music Makers.”


Well, he said the secret word, Roger Miller, and I felt safe once I saw Annabelle.  So I grabbed my camera and tape recorder, and into the City Meat Market I went.  They showed me to a chair in the middle of the room, and the next thing I knew, Harley and Annabelle had guitars strapped on, and they were playing and singing to an audience of one.  Harley is an excellent singer and a phenomenal guitar player.  Annabelle plays well and has the sweet voice of an angel.  I loved the music and immediately warmed to these Characters.


I spent two hours with Harley and Annabelle in the redneck capital of the world.  I could have spent much longer.


In April 1986, Harley was sitting in the City Meat Market.  He had no electricity and no water.  He had an extension cord running across the alley to his home (he calls it the Redneck Castle, and notes that it is open to the public) to power a 40-watt light bulb that he used to read by.  He was sitting there in an old rocking chair when a car pulled up and two women got out.  They said they just wanted to get out to stretch their legs.  Harley took an immediate shine to the younger of the women, and he said “Honey, you’ve come to the right place.”  Annabelle has been there ever since.


Harley spent 22 years on the road as a musician.  In 1986, he had just gotten divorced from his fourth wife, and he was there “kind of recuperating.”  He notes that Erick, Oklahoma is probably the cheapest place in America to live.  He was born there on Route 66.  He was just hangin’ out in 1986, and they still do just that today.  People come by, and they visit with them and “just try to add a little spice to their lives and ours, too.”


Annabelle had a guitar when she first met Harley, and she asked if he knew anyone in town who could tune it.  He tuned it.  She asked how much she owed him, and he said “Nothing.  Just play a song for me.”  She played and sang and Harley backed her up on his guitar.  Annabelle couldn’t believe how good Harley was as a guitar player, and her mother set up a guitar lesson for her.  She came back the next day for her lesson, and they just talked.  Harley told her to go home and pack her bags, and she did.  She went back to California, packed up, got on a plane, and Harley picked her up at the Oklahoma City Airport.  They’ve been hangin’ out in Erick, Oklahoma ever since.


Harley is an extremely talented guitarist, and Harley and Annabelle are very entertaining together.  I asked why they don’t go to a bigger place.  I mean, there appeared to be just a few hundred people in Erick, Oklahoma, and hardly any cars ever drive through, and if they do, the chances of them turning off Route 66 to go down past the City Meat Market are slim.  Harley replied: “We have so much fun with people right here that we don’t see how it would be worth it to go anywhere else.”


Harley told me they don’t have any money, and they don’t have any health insurance.  Until they get sick, they figure they’re sittin’ on top of the world because if they don’t have anyone else to entertain with their mediocre music program, they can just entertain each other, and it doesn’t cost a dime.


I asked Harley and Annabelle what lesson I should learn from them.  Harley agreed that you can find love in the funniest of places and replied “Love is always just around the corner.”


Annabelle said “Happiness doesn’t come from all the things outside; it comes from inside.”

Harley and Annabelle make money by entertaining groups.  I have no idea how groups find out about them.  They serve a Redneck Picnic on their pool table – bologna sandwiches, pickles, chips, and soda pop.  Folks come in, make a sandwich, grab a soda pop, and sit down and enjoy their “mediocre music.”  There is no charge.  They work solely on faith and tips, and they say they’ve never been disappointed.


Before I left, they gave me a bunch of names of people and places I needed to go during the rest of my Route 66 trip in Oklahoma.  They invited me to spend the night at the Redneck Castle, but I had to move on, so I bought one of Annabelle’s drawings (excellent artist, too) and two of their homemade tapes, dropped some cash into the tip jar, and said goodbye.


What interesting people and what an enjoyable two hours.  I got a picture of the future site of the Roger Miller Museum, a shot of the Roger Miller Boulevard sign, the 100th Meridian Museum, and I was on my way.


The Owl Drug Store in Sayre was closed.  They have a great old soda fountain there.  The National Route 66 Museum in Elk City was also closed, but I got a few nice photos in Elk City.

There was very little light left as I drove through the little town of Canute.  I noticed a big crowd of people at the local snow cone stand as I drove by to take a photo of a couple of old motels.  As I drove back toward the interstate, the folks at Ali’s Snow Cone Stand were waving me over.  I pulled in where I met Jim Kos, Julie Kos, Jason Kos, Carrie Kos, Allison Kos, Hannah Mallory, Eric Kos, and Darren Bunch.  What a delightful group of people!  I enjoyed one of Ali’s special snow cones, and we talked and laughed and waved at everyone who drove by (at least a car or two over the next hour).  The Kos family moved to Canute (population 670) from a big city in California five years ago; they’d just had enough of the hectic lifestyle in California.  They couldn’t be happier, and all say “Canute is the best.”


Darren Bunch just idolizes cars, and he really liked the little white convertible.  He finally got up the courage to ask if he could drive my car.  I told him the same thing I told the last person on the trip who asked: “It almost never hurts to ask,” and I tossed him the key.  When he finally came back, I had been prompted to ask if I could drive his car (a souped-up Mustang GT).  I had been told that Darren guards that car and has never let anyone drive it.  The Kos gang was surprised when Darren said sure.  He hopped in with me, and I drove off.  He told me I could gun it because the town’s only policeman was off duty.  I gave it a little gas, but I told him I was afraid Vincent Passarelli might be watching.


Jim and Julie invited me to spend the night with the 9 Kos’s, but I drove on to Oklahoma City where my guaranteed room was long since paid for.  I really liked all the folks I met in Canute!  My only regret is that I seem to meet the nicest, most interesting people when Bozzie Jane is not with me.


As I drove into Oklahoma City, Bozzie Jane called to advise me that terrible tornadoes had hit Oklahoma City and buildings had been destroyed.  It seemed darker than it should be on the horizon, but I never even saw a drop of rain.  It has been 38 days now without rain on the road while we hear it has been pouring rain in Atlanta since we left town.


The lesson for the day is that you don’t have to live in a big city to be happy.  In fact, the people I’ve met in small towns seem a lot happier than folks in the bigger cities.  As Annabelle said “Happiness doesn’t come from all the things outside; it comes from inside.”  We should work more on the inside.



May 8, 2003

37526 7:43 Melinda’s on the front porch, we didn’t even have to pay when we checked out. Breakfast was great. We saw the kids; Daisy’s good. We’re off.

We have to thank Alice for the delicious muffins. Mindy fixed a really nice breakfast with tons of food and we just had a great time.

Neesha helped Barbara with her luggage.

8:10 am I left Bozzie at the airport.

242013 was the address of the first store.

69 degrees in Lubbock. 8:20 I’m at the Walk of Fame and the Buddy Holly statue. They’ve got plaques for Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Mack Davis, Jimmy Dean, Bobby Hees, Walna English, G W Bailey, Barry Corbon, Niki Sullivan, Jerry Allison, Joe B Maldon, Sonny Curtis, Tanya Tucker, Joe Elie, Roy Orbison, Bob Will, the Gatlin Brothers, Snuff Garrett, Maines Brothers Band, Vergil Johnson of the Velvets, Buddy Knocks, Glenn D. Harden, Gary P Nunn, Woody Chamblis, The Hometown Boys, Bob Montgomery, Paul Malosivich, Carey Allen, Don Blocker, Glenna Maxey Goodacre, Dirk West, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Eddie Dixon, Gilbert McClinton, The Fireballs, Brad Maule, and Helen Wagner.

37550 8:36 I’m at the America Wind Power Conversion Center aka Windmill Park.

I’ve tried multiple ear, nose and throat including Dr. Medhabadi.

I met Mickey at the gas station. He’s moved here from Oklahoma and likes it. He says the gust is supposed to be 55 today.

I took a bunch of flags at Gail Genemesser Toyota on the outskirts of Lubock.

Lubbock still has its tallest building that leans out into the street from where it was twisted in the tornado of 1971.

Back at the Windmill Garden as I finally get out of town.

Adliu 37612 11:54am

Lorenzo 37621 12:03 pm

Ralls, home of the fighting Jackrabbits

City limits of Ralls 37629 12:10 pm

I’m turning north on Hwy 207 going to Cone.

I’m in Cone and I took a picture of the Washataw Feed Store Antique Store in Cone.

I just crossed the White River 37646 12:29 pm

After being in totally flat land, all of a sudden I’m in kind of drop-off canyon.

Floydada, the pumpkin capital of the USA. 37652 12:35 pm

I’m at P.J.’s super fantastico burritos where they have various and sundry people out front.

I’m having lunch at The Dixie Dog in Floydada. They have meals on a stick. I’m getting corny dogs. 2 of them and a Coke for $2.39. I met Glenda Kemp, the owner. They have a sign on the window and they close 2-4:30 until business gets better.

It wasn’t fast food but she sure was a sweet lady when I gave her my order and my change. She told me it would be about 10 or 11 minutes. They threw in a free strawberry dum dum in the bag. The Dixie dogs were piping hot and the batter was really good. Dixie Dogs gets high ratings.

I’ve reached South Plains, Texas 37672 1:13 This is the access point to the state park.

I’m taking a picture of a flag near a barn on the outskirts of the town of South Plains, Texas.

I’ve reached Silverton 37690 1:30 pm I miss Bozzie. She just called in to say her dad was doing okay and walking with a walker. It sounded like he might be a little better than she thought it might be.

I just brushed the outskirts of Silverton before turning north here on Hwy 86 and 207.

Just outside of Silverton, I took a sign that says “strange farms.” I’m not sure if it’s farms owned by some people named Strange or if it’s a strange deal because we’re getting near Amarillo.

37695 Hwy 207 breaks off from 86 and goes north.

37701 1:42 I’ve just reached the top of the hill after going through barely flat ranch land and boom out on the horizon is the Palledairy? Canyon

I just passed Tool Creek 37702 1:48 pm

37703 1:49 Lake Mackenzie

The skies are blue but heavy clouds. The winds are blowing and I’ve never felt it quite so hard. There’s no signs of a storm or anything.

Lake Mackenzie is also the Mackenzie reservoir it seems.

Well there’s a very small little spot at Palledairy Canyon that you see on this road that’s not worth a side trip for anybody because it’s not particular pretty.

37720 2:05 We have more Palledairy Canyon; it’s prettier here with a big wide expanse. The canyon is pretty nice, other than right by the road.

37721 2:06 I’m pulling off at a picnic area that might have a good view.

I met Donna and Tom at the Hamlin Drive Picnic Rounds. They’re from Illinois; they came across this and were pleasantly surprised. It’s much prettier here.

I’m going over The Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. 37724 2:14 pm

Claude, Texas 37744 2:30 pm

Route 66 37752 2:37 pm just east of Amarillo

37765 2:49 pm I’m exiting at Groom; I see the giant cross.

I’m back on Route 66 here. I’m taking a picture of the 66 courts in Groom.

I got a picture of the leaning water tower just east of Groom. It says “Britten USA”

37784 3:20 There’s a Route 66 rest stop/picnic area. I didn’t pull of but I saw the sign after I had already passed.

37787 3:23 I’m getting off at exit 132 Johnson Ranch Road.

I took a picture of the First Baptist Church. There was a big sign that says “truckers welcome.” I took pictures of the 66 super service.

McLean 37797 3:40 pm Population of 849

I took a lot of pictures in McLean ending with the Phillips 66.

I arrived in Lela 37815 4:17 pm

I took a picture of one tiny building or house in Lela.

Shamrock, population 2029, 37822 on the odometer and 4:24 pm

I took pictures of the Conoco Tower and the You Drop In Café; they’re doing work on it.

I got the blarney stone in Shamrock. The city does a nice job with their green fire hydrants and the town has a lot of wonderful old buildings but they don’t look very good. Nothing has been “restored” other than the gas station and You Drop In Café.

It’s 90 degrees at 4:44 as I exit Shamrock. It’s the warmest its been in a long time.

I’m in Texola. 37838 4:54 pm This is a borderline ghost town.

Oklahoma 37840 4:57 pm

Texola has a slogan: “no place like Texola.”

I took a picture of what’s left of the Longhorn; you can barely see the word on the face of it.

There’s a few people living in Texola but not much going on. It’s not a complete ghost town, but it might fit the definition of the word.

It’s up to 93 degrees in Texola.

Erick 37847 5:09 This is the hometown of Roger Miller.

I got a little truck with a flag on it and The West Winds Motel.



“What are y’alls names again?”


“I tell you what. This is the Sand Hills Curiosity Shop formerly the city meat market. It’s also the oldest brick building in downtown Erick. My name is Harley and this is my wife, Annabella and we are the mediocre music makers. She is the much better half. This is also the hometown of legendary singer/songwriter Roger Miller—Mr. King of the Road himself.” “ Right here in the ‘redneck capital of the world’ when they come here to the Sandhills Curiosity Shop me and my wife happen to be the Mediocre Music Makers. And while they’re in here eating these redneck sandwiches which consist of bologna, turkey, ham and cheese, chips, bread they get there sandwiches fixed, get these chairs, and we come over here and do our mediocre music program for them. Then they go outside on the street and take pictures of us and them. They come back in and we run things down with the grand finale of the “Redneck National Anthem” and Bobby Troots’ “Route 66.” Then they go on down to the road to the next fantastic stop, whether it be east or west. There is one fantastic stop after another when you’re going through mid-America.”


“I think after you leave here, you’re disappointed at the next stop…So April of 1986 was when you started? How did you guys get together and why here?”


“Well I’ll tell you how we got together. I was here by myself initially and I came over here from my redneck castle. I had an extension cord running about 300 feet across the alley, and I had a 40-watt light bulb that I read by. I had no electricity, no water, no nothing. I was sitting in an old rocking chair here reading away one day and a car pulled up outside with a couple of women in it. They came in and I got up out of that rocking chair and I said ‘ladies, can I help you?’ and this one here says ‘we just wanted to get off the freeway and stretch our legs.’ I said ‘honey, you came to the right place.’”


“22 years on the road as a musician?”


“Yeah, I had just finished my rendezvous with my 4th wife, and so I was here recuperating. Also this is the cheapest place in the world to live. Actually I was born here.”


“When Annabelle came in were you selling stuff or were you just hanging out?”


“I was just hanging out. That’s what we’ve basically done the whole time. We just hang out, people come by, we visit with them and try to have a good time. We try to add a little spice to their life and ours too. Each one of our visitors is a memorable visit which we always remember and cherish. Just like you’re in here today, we won’t forget you. We also want to say ‘Hi Barbara, we’re sorry you didn’t come in. We’re sitting here waiting for you to come in with Big Wild Bill here and we’re going to be meeting you on down the line. We hope everybody turns out good and feeling okay. I know you’ve got to be one heck of a woman to put up with Wild Bill.’”


“So you had your guitar when you met him?”


“Yes, but it needed to be tuned and I couldn’t tune it. He tuned it and then he said to play him a song.”

“So, you got your guitar tuned, Harley ran back to the redneck castle to get his, he backed you up and you couldn’t believe how good he was while he couldn’t believe how good you were. Then, you set up a guitar lesson for 3 or 4 days later. Y’all talked and at the guitar lesson you said to her why don’t you pack your bag.”


“Naw, I think I told her to. I just told her to go pack her bags and that’s what she did. I picked her up in Oklahoma City at the airport and we’ve been here ever since doing this.”


“When we bumped into each other you’d only been here for 15 minutes. If I hadn’t seen that flag, I wouldn’t have stopped. If you hadn’t made a face at me, I wouldn’t have come over. One of the things that I’ve talked about is fate and the forks in the road. It’s just incredible. My afternoon would have probably been just as boring as anything could be, taking a few pictures of Route 66 landmarks. Instead, I get to come here and meet you guys. If I had not had to go to a doctor and get my ear cleaned out today in Lubock, I would’ve been 100 miles down the road.”


“Go to Neddy’s in Wetherford, Oklahoma…Introduce yourself and tell her what kind of project you’re on then tell her the Medicore Music Makers sent you. I have her information if you would like. She would be on cloud 9 if you stopped by. She’s bright and more of a business type person than we are. She’s got the ladies’ lingerie and Harley apparel shop. She’s right off Route 66. She just a young girl about 30, but she’s trying to make it as an entrepreneur; she’s attractive, knows how to sit and talk to somebody. If you’re going to Oklahoma City how would you like to meet the guy who does the postmark art? It would be an honor for us if you even went to see Ken; he’s great. His name is Ken Turmel.”


Two people have come to tell me my headlights are on. In Atlanta, Georgia you could have a million people walk by and nobody would ever tell you.


“On down the road in Apton, Oklahoma we have a friend named Laurel Cane and she has a vast collection of postcards in an old DX gas station. …this place has just been refurbished. It’s not like our building. We do have the original meat tape there with some old instruments in there.”



Shanklins and a Lime Snow Cone to Go – Day 37

Shanklins and a Lime Snow Cone to Go

Day 37 – May 7, 2003 – Wednesday

Shanklins and a Lime Snow Cone to Go.

Lubbockites are called Lucky Me’s by those of us who attended college there in the 60’s and looked forward to graduating and seeing Lubbock in our rearview mirrors.  The tag came from a 1960’s advertising campaign and bumper sticker that used the slogan “Lucky Me, I Live in Lubbock.”


When we reached Lubbock, we stopped at one of the unique spots in Lubbock – Prairie Dog Town.  It’s a dirt field in Mackenzie Park where a large number of prairie dogs live.  It used to be a favorite of high school and college kids on dates as there are no lights and lots of room to park and mess around.  Mr. and Mrs. K. N. Clapp originated the town in 1932.  Lubbock should get a new sign for the place, as it looks like it was made by the folks at Sponge-O-Rama.


We then drove to the home of our two favorite Lucky Me’s, Steve (aka Archibald Barasol) and Melinda (aka Berlinda) Shanklin.  I met Steve and Melinda in high school, and Steve and I were pledge brothers in Delta Tau Delta fraternity.  Steve was also my partner in my first business venture, a business selling fraternity and sorority clothing, party favors, jewelry, etc.  I sold my 75% of the business to Steve when I graduated, and he and his parents operated the business very successfully for 20 years before they sold it.  (His buyer screwed it up and went out of business shortly thereafter.  Watch out Blue Swallow.)  Steve was the Best Man in our wedding, and we have always considered Steve and Berlinda to be among our closest friends.


Steve is the best storyteller I have ever met.  He is extremely funny, and Berlinda is extremely smart and has an incredible wit.  Berlinda would be a great Erma Bombeck-like writer.  We always love getting together with the Shanklins as the stories will be flying.  Our all-time favorite is Steve’s story of the toe-tap drain.  I won’t try to tell it here, but I will have to put it in the book.  It’s a story about going to stay at a friend’s beautiful new home.  Before we retired for the evening, Steve took me in the bathroom to show me the ins and outs of the bathtub and shower we would be using.  After the toe-tap drain, we figured this is mandatory for any and all house guests at the Shanklin home.


We are the most unlikely of friends in some ways.  Steve and Berlinda have lived in the same house their entire married life.  Steve’s parents lived in only one house for all of their married lives.  Steve has had the same job and same secretary for 28 years.  Barbara and I, on the other hand, have lived in 18 places (soon to be 19) in 10 cities in 32 years of marriage.  I’ve never been involved in any one business for over five years.  It was major news when Steve and Berlinda announced that they were thinking of buying a new home, and even bigger news to learn a few days later that they have actually signed a contract.  I just hope Steve can handle the stress.


Actually, Daisy has been a bigger concern than Steve.  Daisy is the Shanklin’s dog.  She’s deaf and blind.  She gets around in their home as she knows where everything is.  Moving may be traumatic, but their vet has given them a plan for how to deal with it.


Steve enjoyed a colonoscopy this morning, so we weren’t sure he would be up for dinner, but he rallied.  We went to Flatlanders, a place in an alley right near where Steve and I had our first store at 2420 13th Street.  We dropped by the old place and took a photo.  I can remember when I rented the store in 1970.  It was $75 a month.  I had no money, so I actually became a real estate person before I opened the store, as I went around to other student entrepreneurs and subleased walls and parts of the store so I would be there rent-free.  In addition to selling fraternity and sorority sportswear, party favors, jewelry, and mugs, I started a bail bond service for students, was the campus representative for Humble Oil (now Exxon), Playboy Magazine, and assorted others, and I got a deal selling factory outlet doubleknit slacks provided by Bozzie Jane’s sister Judy.  I subleased space to Joe Little, a guy who did fraternity and sorority paddles, and to another guy, Delray Lefevre, who did party pictures.  The place had more names than we had product lines.  But it was profitable, a great learning experience, and our success with that little business probably kept both Steve and me from miserable lives as attorneys.


Back to the present.  We had dinner at Flatlanders, and we toured the Texas Tech campus.  We saw a number of fabulous new buildings, the very impressive United Spirit Arena where Bobby Knight runs the men’s basketball show, and we saw the major construction underway at the football stadium.  If you can forget that Lubbock is as flat as a pancake, lacks water, and the dust often fills the sky, we believe the Texas Tech campus is very beautiful.  The school has made consistent use of the same style of Spanish architecture, and it’s a huge campus – largest campus in terms of size in the USA. We made sure to get a photo of the Will Rogers statue.  Rumor always had it that Will would get off his horse whenever a virgin graduated from Tech.  He’s still up there.


We went by the Hi-D-Ho before we returned to the Shanklins’ home.  Lubbock had three fantastic drive-in restaurants when we were in high school and college – the Char King, the White Pig, and the Hi-D-Ho.  As high schoolers, we would cruise through the Char-King and park and hope someone of the opposite sex might have the courage to speak to us.  A common date was a “Coke Date,” where you would pick up a girl and go to Char King and get a Coke and talk.


The White Pig was near Tech and was a college hangout with very good burgers and fries.  The Hi-D-Ho was also near Texas Tech, and it was known as a wilder place.  To go Ho-ing was to cruise through the Hi-D-Ho looking for a date or two.  The Char King and White Pig have gone the way of the wrecking ball.  As has the Hi-D-Ho, but someone built a new place and is calling it the Hi-D-Ho.  It’s not the same, but it’s better than the long-forgotten Char King and White Pig.


The Shanklin kids, Whitney and Chris, came by to see us.  Really fine young people.  Whitney has been doing missionary work, and Chris is in medical school at Texas Tech.


We had a great time visiting all the Shanklins!


As we’ve said before, little is as much fun as getting together with old friends.  One of my favorite sayings by Steve was Shanklins and a Lime Snow Cone to Go.

Stanley Marsh 3 – Day 37

Stanley Marsh 3

Day 37 – May 7, 2003 – Wednesday

As much as we liked Rugby and Cedric at the Marriott Residence Inn, our room was next to the highway, and $129 to hear cars all night long was no bargain.  Our directions to the travel agent should now include quiet room as well as non-smoking King guaranteed for late arrival.


Our day began at B&W Mailing Center where we shipped 44 pounds of accumulated brochures and books back to the Intergalactic Headquarters for the Round America Tour in Atlanta, Georgia.  When we walked in, April and Jamie were in admittedly rotten moods.  Before long, we were telling stories, and they were rolling on the floor laughing.  It’s so nice to be able to brighten someone else’s day!


We mentioned going to see the sawed-off giant’s legs, and April and Jamie piled on with more tips.  They told us how to get to the residence of local helium tycoon Stanley Marsh 3, the eccentric who did Cadillac Ranch and the sawed-off giant’s legs.  They also told us to be on the lookout for diamond-shaped official-looking highway signs, but they will say any of a variety of things.  Stanley Marsh 3 will provide them to anyone who will put them up on their property.

Our first stop on the Stanley Marsh 3 Tour was Cadillac Ranch.  It’s at Exit 60 off I-40 on the south side of the highway.  Cadillac Ranch is ten Cadillacs planted in a field owned by Stanley Marsh 3 with their tail fins pointing up.  Cadillac Ranch was created in 1974 by the Ant Farm, comprised of three experimental artists, Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez, and Doug Michels.  The cars range from a 1949 Cadillac Club Coupe to a 1963 sedan.  Here’s an article that has photos of the Cadillac Ranch when it was first built —  http://www.libertysoftware.be/cml/cadillacranch/ranch/crabtr.htm.


There always seems to be a steady stream of people stopping.  Cadillac Ranch is definitely something quirky to see, and I took a lot of photos.  The thing to do is take spray paint, and paint whatever you like on the Cadillacs.  There are always a number of empty paint cans littering the ground, but someone obviously cleans the place up regularly, or there would be thousands.  You’d have to know what goes on in the mind of Stanley Marsh 3 to even guess at what prompted him to do this.  But as we soon realized, just about anything could be going on in Stanley Marsh 3’s head.


Our next stop was Toad Hall.  Yep, that’s the name of Stanley Marsh 3’s home – a big ranch hidden from view on the outskirts of town.  We took a picture of the sign and saw a hubcap painted red with a heart cut out of the center, but nothing more bizarre at the entrance.  We drove around the south side of the property on the city road, and we spotted his windmill – sporting a bright red bowtie.  Just down the ways from it, on Stanley Marsh 3’s property, but facing the passing traffic, was a big yellow diamond-shaped official-looking highway sign that said “Road Does Not End.”  Now wouldn’t you like to know what Stanley Marsh 3 means by that, if anything!


The third stop on the Stanley Marsh 3 Tour was to see various signs he has erected on property around town.  Everything from a sign that says “Mysterious Catastrophe” to one that claimed on this spot a pack of wild Chihuahuas attacked conquistadors and ate them for snacks.  We learned that Stanley Marsh 3 has placed more than 5,000 of these signs in the Amarillo area (population 250,000)!  The signs vary from simple messages to reproductions of famous paintings.  The “Road Does Not End” sign on Marsh’s property was the first.  A sign with a picture of Marilyn Monroe was then placed on Monroe Street.  There are some really funny signs and some that make little sense at all.  We’d be like the guy driving around Texas with the map and the yellow marker if we tried to see them all, especially since there is no map to them, so we just saw four or five and went on to the next part of the Stanley Marsh 3 Tour.


The last stop on the Tour was at two sawed off giant’s legs planted in a field south of town.  There’s an extremely official-looking plaque with a Texas seal similar to those found on real historic markers, but there is a confusing story about a giant named Ozymandias.  Wacko sense of humor for sure.


We loved seeing the giant’s legs, Toad Hall, the windmill, and all the signs.  We’d have never seen them or known about them if we hadn’t asked simple questions to Rugby, April and Jamie.  I just wonder what all Stanley Marsh 3 has done that we didn’t know about.  We did hear that he has a yet to be realized scheme to create “rainbow towers” using water vapor.


In a recent vote conducted by the Amarillo Globe newspaper after Stanley Marsh 3 ran an advertisement looking for acrobats, jugglers, unicyclists, and other circus-related performers, 43% said Marsh 3 is a genius who gives Amarillo personality while 38% said he is a ridiculously foolish eccentric who is an embarrassment to Amarillo, while 19% say they haven’t figured him out yet.  I think Stanley Marsh 3 is great!  He gives Amarillo personality!  Here are the poll results and some great comments — http://www.amarillonet.com/pollresults/pollresults_012699.html.


Next to Cadillac Ranch, the best-known spot in Amarillo is the Big Texan Steak Ranch.  The restaurant opened in the 50’s, and they have always advertised a Free 72 72-ounce steak, if you can eat their meal (which includes shrimp cocktail, salad, baked potato, and bread) in one hour or less.  6,000 people have succeeded, and their names are carefully logged in a book.  It’s a classic Texas place with great Texas décor, what may be the world’s largest rocking chair, with fun stuff to see inside and out.  Our food was great.  I had a delicious barbeque plate – huge servings.  Bozzie had a vegetable plate.  We had no room for dessert.


While the place and the food were great, the highlight was meeting and getting to know our waiter, Lesley.  Lesley is from Brenham, Texas.  He is in school at West Texas A&M.  He is studying to be a music teacher, and he plays the trombone.  Unknown to his girlfriend, Miss Katy, he has bought a ring, and he plans to ask her to marry him.  Unfortunately, Katy’s Dad doesn’t approve of Lesley, and he pulled Katy out of school to get her away from him.  We talked to Lesley for a half hour or more, and if Katy were our daughter, we’d be mighty proud to have Lesley seek her hand in marriage!  We have Lesley’s email address, so we will be checking in to see how the proposal went.  He gave Bozzie Jane a big hug when we said goodbye after lunch.  How could anyone not like a fine young man who gives you a big bear hug the first time you meet him?!


Down to Lubbock we went.  This is a planned detour off Route 66 as both Boz and I went to school at Texas Tech University.  We met and fell in love in “the Hub City,” and we were married soon after my graduation on June 19, 1971.  We’ve both driven that route many times, but it always seems longer than you remember it to be.  Bozzie noted that it is, however, still flat, still windy, and still dusty.


We took a few photos in Happy, Texas.  We got several Happy signs, a photo of the Happy Center, the Happy Fire Department, and more.  It’s a Happy place.


We passed through the little West Texas towns of Canyon, Tulia, Kress, Plainview, Hale Center, Abernathy and New Deal.  We had college friends from all of those places.  We loved seeing the smaller version of the Statue of Liberty in front of a motel in Kress.  We were ripped off at a Texaco station in New Deal.  Their Coke machine ate my dollar but gave nothing in return, and the Texaco station refused to give me a dollar.  With 500 gallons behind me and perhaps 900 gallons yet to come (on this trip alone), Texaco will not see another penny of my money.  I was not Happy.


Lubbockites are called Lucky Me’s by those of us who attended college there in the 60’s and looked forward to graduating and seeing Lubbock in our rearview mirrors.  The tag came from a 1960’s advertising campaign and bumper sticker that used the slogan “Lucky Me, I Live in Lubbock.”


When we reached Lubbock, we stopped at one of the unique spots in Lubbock – Prairie Dog Town.  It’s a dirt field in Mackenzie Park where a large number of prairie dogs live.  It used to be a favorite of high school and college kids on dates as there are no lights and lots of room to park and mess around.  Mr. and Mrs. K. N. Clapp originated the town in 1932.  Lubbock should get a new sign for the place, as it looks like it was made by the folks at Sponge-O-Rama.


We then drove to the home of our two favorite Lucky Me’s, Steve (aka Archibald Barasol) and Melinda (aka Berlinda) Shanklin.  I met Steve and Melinda in high school, and Steve and I were pledge brothers in Delta Tau Delta fraternity.  Steve was also my partner in my first business venture, a business selling fraternity and sorority clothing, party favors, jewelry, etc.  I sold my 75% of the business to Steve when I graduated, and he and his parents operated the business very successfully for 20 years before they sold it.  (His buyer screwed it up and went out of business shortly thereafter.  Watch out Blue Swallow.)  Steve was the Best Man in our wedding, and we have always considered Steve and Berlinda to be among our closest friends.


Steve is the best storyteller I have ever met.  He is extremely funny, and Berlinda is extremely smart and has an incredible wit.  Berlinda would be a great Erma Bombeck-like writer.  We always love getting together with the Shanklins as the stories will be flying.  Our all-time favorite is Steve’s story of the toe-tap drain.  I won’t try to tell it here, but I will have to put it in the book.  It’s a story about going to stay at a friend’s beautiful new home.  Before we retired for the evening, Steve took me in the bathroom to show me the ins and outs of the bathtub and shower we would be using.  After the toe-tap drain, we figured this is mandatory for any and all house guests at the Shanklin home.


We are the most unlikely of friends in some ways.  Steve and Berlinda have lived in the same house their entire married life.  Steve’s parents lived in only one house for all of their married lives.  Steve has had the same job and same secretary for 28 years.  Barbara and I, on the other hand, have lived in 18 places (soon to be 19) in 10 cities in 32 years of marriage.  I’ve never been involved in any one business for over five years.  It was major news when Steve and Berlinda announced that they were thinking of buying a new home, and even bigger news to learn a few days later that they have actually signed a contract.  I just hope Steve can handle the stress.


Actually, Daisy has been a bigger concern than Steve.  Daisy is the Shanklin’s dog.  She’s deaf and blind.  She gets around in their home as she knows where everything is.  Moving may be traumatic, but their vet has given them a plan for how to deal with it.


Steve enjoyed a colonoscopy this morning, so we weren’t sure he would be up for dinner, but he rallied.  We went to Flatlanders, a place in an alley right near where Steve and I had our first store at 2420 13th Street.  We dropped by the old place and took a photo.  I can remember when I rented the store in 1970.  It was $75 a month.  I had no money, so I actually became a real estate person before I opened the store, as I went around to other student entrepreneurs and subleased walls and parts of the store so I would be there rent-free.  In addition to selling fraternity and sorority sportswear, party favors, jewelry, and mugs, I started a bail bond service for students, was the campus representative for Humble Oil (now Exxon), Playboy Magazine, and assorted others, and I got a deal selling factory outlet doubleknit slacks provided by Bozzie Jane’s sister Judy.  I subleased space to Joe Little, a guy who did fraternity and sorority paddles, and to another guy, Delray Lefevre, who did party pictures.  The place had more names than we had product lines.  But it was profitable, a great learning experience, and our success with that little business probably kept both Steve and me from miserable lives as attorneys.


Back to the present.  We had dinner at Flatlanders, and we toured the Texas Tech campus.  We saw a number of fabulous new buildings, the very impressive United Spirit Arena where Bobby Knight runs the men’s basketball show, and we saw the major construction underway at the football stadium.  If you can forget that Lubbock is as flat as a pancake, lacks water, and the dust often fills the sky, we believe the Texas Tech campus is very beautiful.  The school has made consistent use of the same style of Spanish architecture, and it’s a huge campus – largest campus in terms of size in the USA. We made sure to get a photo of the Will Rogers statue.  Rumor always had it that Will would get off his horse whenever a virgin graduated from Tech.  He’s still up there.


We went by the Hi-D-Ho before we returned to the Shanklins’ home.  Lubbock had three fantastic drive-in restaurants when we were in high school and college – the Char King, the White Pig, and the Hi-D-Ho.  As high schoolers, we would cruise through the Char-King and park and hope someone of the opposite sex might have the courage to speak to us.  A common date was a “Coke Date,” where you would pick up a girl and go to Char King and get a Coke and talk.


The White Pig was near Tech and was a college hangout with very good burgers and fries.  The Hi-D-Ho was also near Texas Tech, and it was known as a wilder place.  To go Ho-ing was to cruise through the Hi-D-Ho looking for a date or two.  The Char King and White Pig have gone the way of the wrecking ball.  As has the Hi-D-Ho, but someone built a new place and is calling it the Hi-D-Ho.  It’s not the same, but it’s better than the long-forgotten Char King and White Pig.


The Shanklin kids, Whitney and Chris, came by to see us.  Really fine young people.  Whitney has been doing missionary work, and Chris is in medical school at Texas Tech.


We had a great time visiting all the Shanklins!


As we’ve said before, little is as much fun as getting together with old friends.



May 7, 2003

We stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn in a room right next to the highway. We heard cars all night. For $129 it was not a bargain, but we were able to get a good internet connection and do quite a bit of updating to the website. I got about 4 days worth of pictures and one day worth of story up.

37336 We’re leaving the hotel at about 11:30. We’re leaving this late because we are just headed down to Lubbock today and Steve is having his colonoscopy this morning. Bozzie Jane’s here and her dad has perhaps had a little mini-stroke so we may have a little change in plans.

We had a great time at the mailing place, B and W. April and Jamie who shipped 44 pounds of accumulated brochures and other stuff. They were in a bad mood when we arrived and after we were there they were just so happy and smiley. It was really nice to be able to brighten someone’s day. They told us several interesting things relative to Stanley Marsh. We are going to have to do at least one of those. We’re on the way now pulling up to Cadillac Ranch which is at about exit 60 off of I-40 on Route 66. It’s on the south side of the road and there’s a little walkway so you’re able to walk out there and see the artwork which is painted on the cadillacs.

36353 12:43 We’re leaving the Cadillac Ranch.

36736 12:56 We’re at Toad Hall, the residence of Stanley Marsh III. He was one of the most eccentric men around.

As we were getting ready to leave Stanley’s Toad Hall, we spotted his windmill. It has a bowtie and then there’s a simple little sign along the highway that says “road does not end.”

We just had a really good meal at the Big Texas Steakranch in Amarillo. Bill had a really good BBQ plate, and Barbara had a vegetable plate with wonderful yeast rolls. Our waiter was Lesley, a really nice young man from Brenam, Texas. He plays the trombone and goes to school here. He’s getting a teaching degree and hopefully getting engaged tomorrow night. He has a ring for his soon-to-be fiancé and she doesn’t know it; her name is Katy. We took his picture and he was a really special young man. We wish him the best. He has a problem in that his soon-to-be father-in law does not like him but we’re hoping and praying that everything will work out for him.

We’re getting ready to leave at 2:15 and head to Lubock.

37374 2:15 Leaving the Big Texan Steakranch

37396 2:53 We’re leaving the ruins of the Ozzimandus? Legs.

We’re in Canyon. There’s a huge tumbleweed blowing down the highway at us. 37403 3:00pm

Canyon is the home of West Texas A&M University where Lesley goes to school. Barbara just noted that West Texas is still flat, still windy, still dusty.

37423 3:27 We’re leaving Happy, Texas. 647 people live in Happy.

We’re in Tulia 37435 3:40pm

We’re taking a picture of the Statue of Liberty in Tulia. They’re probably trying to follow along on the same theme as Sioux City.

Crest 37455 4:02pm

Plain View 37466 4:12pm

37481 Hail Center 4:25pm

Abernathy 37498 4:41pm

New Deal 37512 4:47pm

Lubock 37512 5:08pm

Prairie Dog Town 37516 5:15pm

It’s 88 degrees in Lubbock. By far the hottest in many many miles.

There’s a train.


Tucumcari Tonite – Day 36

Tucumcari Tonite

Day 36 – May 6, 2003 – Tuesday

Week 6 begins.  This is Day 36.  36,993 on the odometer.  8,957 miles so far.  Leaving Albuquerque.  Back on Route 66.


I dropped recorder #4 on the carpet.  Just a little drop while trying to juggle too many items at once.  It didn’t fall far, and it didn’t fall hard.  But the compartment door where the tape goes no longer opens, though I can pry it open just far enough to put tapes in and pull them out.  These tape recorders are an invaluable tool, but what a hassle they’ve been.  We did find the missing travel alarm clock and one of the two missing lens caps, so we are doing pretty well in the holding on to our stuff category.  We have had several encounters with men trying to steal my camera, but we’ve managed to keep the camera and stay out of harm’s way.  When around rough-looking folks, I always put the camera strap around my neck; it looks a little silly… but it makes it much harder for someone to grab the camera.


We put the top down for the first time in a long time.  The last warm weather was Day 24 in Tucson!  The top went back up after 11 miles.  I guess we wanted it to be warmer, but it wasn’t.

An old Conoco station appeared in Barton, and we stopped for a few photos.  We also stopped at the old 66 Craft House to see some funky sculptures.


New Mexico State Highway Patrolman Max stopped to say hello while I was on the side of the road taking photos of the ruins of an old trading post near Moriarty, New Mexico.  He asked about the book and posed for two photos.


This property was fenced off, and there was an animal cruelty notice stuck on the fence for animal neglect.  Being big animal lovers, Bozzie Jane and I feel the penalties should be much stronger for people who mistreat animals.


We saw some interesting Route 66 businesses in Moriarty.


The Route 66 maps that we bought – one for each state – have been invaluable on our trip.  That said, we have found two specific points where the maps were totally wrong.  East of Moriarty is one of those spots.


Route 66 Magazine has a very good suggestion about traveling Route 66: “When traveling Route 66, keep your expectations low, and just appreciate whatever is there.”


We came across another old ruins of some type of building, and when I investigated further, I found a cement container of sorts that had the faint words “Snake Pit” still visible.  I appreciated that it was there, and I wonder whether it used to be a roadside snake attraction.  It isn’t listed in any of the books we have.


Our next adventure was the search for the wagon wheel at Longhorn Ranch.  Ace Navigatrix Bozzie Jane spotted this on our New Mexico Route 66 map.  We saw the Longhorn Ranch, but no wagon wheel.  I was determined to find it, so I drove to the dead ends of both access roads, but no wagon wheel.  We retraced our path, but no wagon wheel.  We drove all around the ruins of what was the Longhorn Ranch roadside attraction, but no wagon wheel.  We finally decided that it is probably now in a Route 66 museum somewhere along the route.


It was sad to see the huge pile of rubble that used to be Longhorn Ranch.  A “bank” building is still standing – just barely, and there is a motel operating across the road as well as a modern gas station.


Ten miles down the road, we finally found Wagon Wheel.  It turns out Ace Navigatrix Bozzie thought Wagon Wheel was something to see in the town of Longhorn Ranch, but it was actually the next town over.  We got a good laugh out of it.  There wasn’t anything to see in the town of Wagon Wheel.  An upside down restaurant sign out back of a building, but that was about it.  Not even a  wagon wheel.


Clines Corners has been a way station for travelers since the 1930’s with a great selection of souvenirs.  We needed gifts for three upcoming visits with friends and family, so we stopped to check it out.  It’s a big place with a lot of souvenirs – mainly Indian-themed items.  Lots of tacky stuff.  We found three items that we thought were pretty funny – a double teepee-shaped picture frame, a plaster of paris clock with an eagle holding an American flag, and a bobblehead Indian chief.  We hope the Shanklins, Robertsons, and Overalls enjoy them as much as we enjoyed picking them out.  Corinne and Loretta helped us at the cash register.  Corinne gave us free batteries for the clock.  They were both very excited to be in the book.  They said the bobblehead Indian chief was a new item, but it had been selling really well.  I asked if the clock had a Swiss movement.  She didn’t know.  I’m pretty sure it has a Taiwan movement.


Many of the little towns we stopped to see had nothing to see.  There were no commercial buildings at all.  In some cases, there was nothing at all.


The Flying C Ranch was listed on our Route 66 map, so we expected something appropriately old.  I was very disappointed to find a relatively modern DQ and Citgo station.  The place is owned by “Bowlins.”  I first saw what was purported to be something old in southern New Mexico just to find a shiny, new Bowlins service station and gift store.  These folks may be some of the people Ross Ward was referring to when he made the sign at Tinkertown that reads: “There are souless men who would destroy but time and man will never build again.”


I looked around Milagro for some bean fields, but Bozzie Jane says that is MEXICO not NEW Mexico.  So we drove on.


There just isn’t much to see for the 114 miles between Albuquerque and Santa Rosa.


Santa Rosa is another story.  Santa Rosa has the 1927 Comet Drive-In Restaurant, other great old buildings like the Lake City Diner and the old Guadalupe County Courthouse, and what’s left of a real Route 66 landmark, the Club Café.  The Club Café was built in 1935, and it used a distinctive billboard with a cartoon of a fat man.  The café is gone, but its signs remain, and the fat man is now the property of Joseph’s Restaurant.


We enjoyed some excellent Mexican food at Joseph’s, and we met some nice people.  Rick, Dave, Jason, Ray, and Jose.  The beads got several conversations started.  Jose suggested that we go see the town of Puerta de Luna (famous because Billy the Kid ate his last Christmas dinner there), and Ray gave us directions to see the Blue Hole.


We saw the old Saint Rose Chapel on the way to the Blue Hole.  The Blue Hole is a unique spot – a hole 81-feet deep, 60 feet in diameter with 61 degree water that is crystal clear.  Divers love it.


Puerta de Luna had the old Nuestra Senora de Refugio Church, an old courthouse, and the Graelachowski territorial House – famous in part because Billy the Kid had his last Christmas dinner there.  It was a pleasant drive.


We saw the Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa.  Between Santa Rosa and Cuervo, we found another ruins that we had not read about anywhere – the Frontier Museum.  It was a big place and was obviously old, so we wondered why we hadn’t read about it.  Perhaps it wasn’t as old as it appeared to be.


When we reached Cuervo about 6 pm, the sun was already getting dim.  I thought I saw what would be an interesting-looking old building off Route 66.  Cuervo is mainly a ghost town, so we saw a number of picturesque old buildings/ruins.  To get to the old building I had noticed, we crossed the railroad tracks where we hit a gravel road.  It turned into a red dirt road. Then a red dirt road with cactus in the crown of the road.  Hearing that scraping noise under the little white convertible is pretty unsettling, but I was determined at this point.  We scraped along until we saw barbed wire scattered across the “road.”  I got out to take a few photos, but the fading sun was behind heavy clouds, and I’m afraid about all we have to show for this adventure will be the scratches on the underside of the car.  You just never know; sometimes these little excursions pay off, and sometimes they don’t.  I will always regret the little investigative side trips that we didn’t take…never those we took that didn’t pan out.


Newkirk and Montoya had some great ghost service stations.  Boz took some excellent photos in Ceurvo, Newkirk, and Montoya.


The Tucumcari Tonite billboard campaign has been successful for 60 years in promoting Tucumcari as the place to spend the night along this wide open stretch of road (104 miles to Amarillo and 173 miles to Albuquerque).  Once billed as the town two blocks wide and two miles long, the town is now eight miles long and about two blocks wide.  It once had 2,000 rooms; now closer to 1,200 – mainly rooms in small independent motels.  It was a great place to take photos of motel signs.  Tucumcari Tonite.


Perhaps the most famous of the Tucumcari motels is the Blue Swallow, primarily because of the cool neon sign with a blue neon swallow.  The Blue Swallow was built in 1942, acquired by Lillian Redman as a wedding gift in 1958, and she operated it successfully for over 40 years with homespun hospitality and by endearing herself to generations of guests.  Patrick told us to be sure to stop and go in and see it, so we did.  I told the new owner that we were writing a book, but he just told me to knock myself out taking photos, and he went back into his living quarters adjoining the motel office.  I was very unimpressed with him.  The new owners probably won’t succeed with this attitude.  I did get a pretty good photo of the sunset over the Blue Swallow.

As we gassed up on the outskirts of Tucumcari, we met Rita.  She is a nurse originally from Tulia, Texas.  Rita REALLY wanted my purple beads.  She said she would do ANYTHING to get those purple beads.  She proceeded to lift her top and flash me – right there in front of Bozzie Jane.  I thanked her for her interest, but I told her the beads are lucky beads, and I just couldn’t give them away.  I did take her picture and promised her she would be in the book.  She offered to flash again for the camera, but we declined the invitation.  I have, however, purchased a case of beads as gifts throughout the second half of the trip.  Tucumcari Tonite.


I am disappointed that the sun set before we got to the border towns in Texas.  It was black as the Ace of Spades all the way to Amarillo.  So, we didn’t get to see the first/last motel in Texas in the town of Glenrio.  In fact, we never even saw a sign for the town.  It’s in Deaf Smith County.  The town actually straddles New Mexico and Texas and is supposed to have some great old abandoned buildings – something anyone who has read a day or two worth of these reports knows I enjoy seeing.  We’ll just have to go another time.


We did stop in Adrian as I wanted to get a photo of the midpoint on Route 66.  Adrian is exactly half way (1,139 miles) between Santa Monica and Chicago.  I managed a couple of flash photos of what I could see right next to the road.


The time changed to Central Daylight Time when we crossed into Texas, so it was 10:30 pm when I met Rugby at the desk of the Marriott Residence Inn in Amarillo.  I also met Rugby’s girlfriend, Courtney, and Cedric, his roommate and the all-night man at the Inn.  Rugby didn’t even pause for a second when I asked him what – other than the Cadillac Ranch and Big Texan Steak Ranch – he felt was the most unique thing to see in Amarillo.  He gave me precise directions to the sawed off giant’s legs in a field south of town.  All right!  Rugby knows quirky!

As to the lesson for the day, the words of Ross Ward are ringing in my ears: “There are souless men who would destroy but time and man will never build again.”  I hate to see historic old buildings torn down to make way for something new.  It also never ceases to amaze how some folks can buy a business that has been successful for many years and proceed to make it unsuccessful in short order.  We should all learn from the past.  I love the story about the discussion between a father and son about which professional to hire.  The son favored a young man not long out of school while the father favored an old gray-haired man.  “The young man knows the rules, but the older man knows the exceptions.”



We’re finally leaving the hotel at noon on May 6; 36993 on the odometer; it’s warm enough to have the top off for the first time in several days—72 degrees.

We’ve been going a couple of miles and the temperature is already down to 69 degrees.

We had to leave town on I 40 but you exit at 170 Carnueil, then you’re on 333 East which is Route 66.

37004 The temperature dropped 63 degrees. We pulled over to put the top up.

Route 66 at one time looped up around Santa Fe, but since we chose to go on the Turquoise Trail we are not going to spend the time to go that way. We will go the straight route.

Tiheras 37007 12:28pm There is a big herd of bicyclists passing us. I should note that I dropped the recorder. This is our 4th. A few cities back the compartment you open to put the tape in no longer works properly. I doubt this one will last the whole trip. I should also note that we found the travel alarm clock that was missing, and one of the two lens caps. I’m pretty sure the other lens cap now lives in Big Bend near the dust storm area.

I took a mailbox near Tiheras

37018 12:45 I took a number of pictures of Bruster’s Connaco Station; I don’t know what town we’re in yet. Probably the town of Barton.

37022 12:55 Edgewood

37023 12:57 We’re stopping at the Old 66 Crafthouse; they have some cool stuff.

37025 We met state highway patrolman Max. He was very nice, and pulled up when I was taking pictures of this trading post gas station. We don’t know the city. There are tons of neat old cars out back that would be the type to be of interest to collectors.

We believe there should be stronger penalties for people who are cruel to animals. Back at that property, there was an animal cruelty notice on the fence dated today for neglect. It said they were going to take them away if the person didn’t respond.

Moriarty elevation = 6200

I’m taking various Route 66 signs in Moriarty, including Phillip 66 who very cleverly has Kicks 66 on the front of their service stations along 66. We have “get your flicks,” coming up a big giant starbursty thing.

It’s a little tricky leaving Moriarty. You have the ability to get on the north service road but we did not see a place to do it and found ourselves up on the interstate. We had to do a U-turn in the median, and now we’ll get on it.

We back tracked 1 mile to 41 to get on the service road which is also Abrahames Road.

The maps are incorrect. The only way to get on the frontage road which is Route 66 is by going over Hwy 41. We will publish our own maps and become the experts.

We took a picture of the crop at Turf Grass Ranch—it’s turf, the kind you would have on a golf course.

Route 66 Magazine makes a very good suggestion: keep your level of expectation low and just appreciate whatever is there.

We’re driving past the Longhorn Ranch in search of the Wagon wheel. We’ve gone several miles down a road that says dead end. We have not seen a wagon wheel yet; our expectations are not high, but if up around this bend is a wagon wheel we’ll pretty tickled.

Exit 203 is where this wagon wheel is supposed to be but we have not seen it.

I think we’re in the town of Wagon Wheel. We did find the ruins to the Longhorn Ranch. There were big old piles of rubble. We got a picture of the sign. I’m betting somebody got the wagon wheel for a Route 66 Museum. The Longhorn Ranch is not actually in Wagon Wheel, it’s probably 3 or 4 miles outside of it.

37054 2:11 We’re getting of to see if there’s anything in Wagon Wheel.

There isn’t anything in wagon wheel. We took a picture of an upside down motel sign. There is a service station but it’s no the north side of the service road so we’re passing on that.

Cline’s Corner says “been a traveler’s weigh station since the 1930’s.” As I recall, the book said the assortment of gifts and souvenirs is really good, but the food is just ordinary. We won’t be eating in Cline’s Corners.

37064 2:20 Cline’s Corners We’re at 7200 feet.

It’s 2:43 and we just left Cline’s Corners where we met Corrin and Loretta (on the left in the photo). We bough some very nice gifts for Linda and Steve, a lovely teepee picture frame, a bobble head Indian chief for George, and a beautiful eagle holding a couple of American flags as a Swiss movement clock for Judy and Ward.

Now we have to try and keep a straight face as we present the gifts.

Corrin gave us free batteries for the clock.

37078 2:54 We’re at the exit for Villa Nueva in Sceno and we see a sign for the 9 Bar Headquarters.

There does not appear to be anything here except a cute dog.

Sceno and Villa Nueva seem to be way off the highway.

37083 3:00 We’re getting off at the exit for the flying sea ranch which is a truck stop/car stop. It’s exit 234 off I 40.

Flyin C Ranch is just a relatively modern Dairy Queen and a Citgo station that sells souvenirs and fireworks. It used to be something good, but the Bowlins people who have a number of truck stops in several states have obviously taking what was once nice and old and turned it into something new and not particularly nice.

We’re exiting 37093 3:08 at Milagro, famous for the bean fields.

We didn’t see anything from a scan of the highway in Milagro; no beans, so we’re hitting the road.

Between Albuquerque and Santa Rosa which we’ve not yet come to, there just isn’t anything. You just see fields. We have lowered our altitude. It’s 76 degrees, and we’re still about 15 miles out of Santa Rosa. Basically, you see grassland with little junipers.

It’s very cloudy today, and there could be some rain somewhere.

37123 We’re getting off at exit 273 Santa Rosa. We get several exits now to drive on Route 66 and see highly cool stuff.

We’re just inside the city limits of Santa Rosa, and we got a picture of Joseph’s with a fat man on the billboard.

As we enter Santa Rosa, we see the Oasis Motel. We didn’t get a picture because they’re doing some paving work on the road out of front. There were several other old looking places.

37125 3:37 We’re crossing the PecosRiver

I took a picture of the Comet Drive-In at the Mexican restaurant; it’s been in business since 1927.

Took a picture of the Lake City Diner and the Guadalupe County Courthouse, the old one. Rick was kind enough to let us take his picture; he was wearing an Ol’ Glory T-shirt. Dave and Jason let me take their picture out at Joseph’s.

Ray was the cashier, and we met Jose as we paid. They were very friendly, and the food was very good. I had a Mexican plate, Barbara had a Acapulco avocado covered burger. Now we’re going to go to the Blue Hole and maybe check out a little forestry; they have a really nice colored book here for Route 66.

We took a picture of the historic Saint Rose Chapel.

We’re at the Blue Hole 37129 4:42pm

The complete stats for the Blue Hole from the book we got: 81 feet deep, 60 feet in diameter, water temperature is 61 degrees, and completely clear. The report on the blue hole is very nice.

We’re taking a detour to Puerta de Luna; we’re on Hwy 91 which is 3rd Street as you come in from town.

Puerta de Luna was recommended by Jose.

If we don’t get rain today, it will be amazing because the clouds look like rain everywhere. In “PDL,” as the locals call it, Billy the Kidd had his last Christmas dinner.

Puerta de Luna 37138 5:00pm We see a pretty church, we’re not sure if it’s famous but we’re going to find out.

This is the Nuestra Senora de Refugio Catholic Church.

I took a picture of a flag in front of the Graelachowski—this is where Billy the Kidd had his last Christmas meal.

We got a few pictures of the house, and we got one of the original county courthouse.

37150 5:25 We’re back in beautiful Santa Rosa.

37153 5:30 We’re at the Route 66 Auto Museum. It’s 76 degrees at 5:30; it’s about the warmest it’s been today.

The first train for Bozzie today. The overcast is gone at about 5:45 and we have blue sky again. It’s the beads.

Exit 284 is not noted on the map as having anything but as we blazed by it had bunches of old ruined stuff. We’re headed back there.

The sign on one of the buildings say Frontier Museum. We have no idea what town it’s in and we haven’t read about this.

Well, the Frontier Museum clearly has to be something. I’m surprised that we haven’t read anything about it anywhere. It’s all decayed and fallen it, but it probably dates back to the ride era.

The Frontier Museum is quite large. It looked like it was multiple store fronts and I just took little pieces of it.

Quervo 37174 5:57pm

We’ve taken some old buildings, took an interesting drive down an old dirt road to a Baptist church. Part of the sign was missing and we couldn’t read what the name of the church was. It seemed like it was something…”Betty First Baptist Church”

Barbara photographed the Quervo Church.

Bozzie got another train 37184, 75 degrees, 6:22pm, and we’re in New Kirk looking for Filling? Station Deal.

As we take these 2 lane sections of Route 66, we just don’t ever see any other cars in either direction. The only time you ever do is if you’re in some little town and there’s little town people. It’s just completely and totally isolated except for Bozzie Jane and me.

Montoya 37197 6:44pm There is something up in the mountain here. It looks like triangles of cement or something. It’s real weird and teepee like in a way.

Barbara took some pictures of Richardson’s Store with the Sinclair Gasoline sign in Montoya. It looks like there’s some cool things here beside the tracks but we’ve had enough excursions for today.

There are three different ghost service stations in Montoya.

37210 7:00pm We’re at Polomas—exit 321 off the I-40 and back on Route 66.

We’re almost to Tucumcari the city two blocks wide and two miles long as they used to say. In actuality it’s 8 to 10 miles long.  Tucumcari Tonite.

We saw the Dinosaur Museum in Tucumcari  but we are probably covered for our dinosaur museums.

We’re in the city limits of Tucumcari 37219 7:08pm and 4085 elevation.


It’s a little after 8 and we’re several miles east of Tucumcari Tonite. We’ll roll into Amarillo tonight, we’ll back track a little tomorrow morning to get Cadillac Ranch. There are a lot of motels and that’s about all there is.

37238 8:08 The land is pretty flat. We have some little rocky like hills, but other than that it’s pretty flat. It reminds you of West Texas.

We’re at the exit for Bard 37252 8:20pm. We don’t even see a light, so we’re not exiting. We have not read about there being any attractions in Bard.

We’ll roll into Amarillo tonight, we’ll back track a little tomorrow morning to get Cadillac Ranch. There are a lot of motels and that’s about all there is.

It’s interesting that the vast majority of towns that we’ve gone to probably didn’t have any traffic lights at all.

We’re at the exit for Indy 37261. 8:25pm

37265 We’re in Texas 8:30pm and with the time change it makes it 9:30pm

Shortly after entering Texas, a tumbling tumbleweed blew across the highway right in front of the car. That may give you an indication of what the terrain is like out here.

We never saw Glen Rio for the first and last motel in Texas.

37287 9:46 Central Time. We’re in Adrian, the midpoint between Santa Monica and Chicago on Route 66. Adrian—you’ll never be the same.

37289 We just finished taking a picture of the midpoint and a few other things by dark.

37295 We’re in the town of Landergin 10:05 Central

Vega, Texas 37303 10:13

There’s not much happening in Vega at night; probably wouldn’t be much happening in the day time.

37317 Willow Derado. I know it’s got some really good stuff but Bozzie won’t let me go there. It’s 10:27 Central

Bushland 37326 and 10:35pm. Bushland has a number of major statues and things to Route 66 but Barbara will not let me exit. She says it’s a bedroom community, and we have a bed for that same unmentionable prize.

We arrived at the Residence Inn in Amarillo about 10:00pm. Rugby got us all checked in and we met Courtney, his girlfriend, and Cedric. Rugby told me about a place to go on the road between here and Canyon for a unique sight and a unique story. We get off at Sundown Lane and he isn’t going to tell me the story but to read about it when I get there. This was an answer to “what’s the most unique thing in Amarillo other than the Cadillac Ranch and Big Tex Steakhouse?”

It was Lester’s Conoco Station we saw today early on. Loretta and Corrine were the ladies at Cline’s Corner.

Tucumcari Tonite.

Santa Fe New Mexico – Day 35

Santa Fe New Mexico

Day 35 – May 5, 2003 – Monday

Santa Fe New Mexico is certainly a beautiful place.  The sky and the clouds here have a beauty unlike I have seen elsewhere.  I just assume the sky always looks the way it has during our extensive two-day visit.


We tried to reach Michael Aster, but the telephone number we had was answered by someone who had never heard of him.  I took over management of a company in Europe from Michael in 1992, and Boz and I thoroughly enjoyed the time we had spent with Michael.  Among other things, he is an extremely talented jazz drummer as well as a wonderful person with a huge smile.  We also loved his then seven-year-old son, Ari.  Ari was a child prodigy artist, so we expected to see some of his work in Santa Fe.  Ari was a child of the sequels, so when Michael and Bobbi were about to have their second child, Ari thought the baby should be named Ari II.

Bozzie Jane and I spent most of the day just walking around.  We walked around the Plaza area again.  We saw the Charlene Cody Gallery and met artist Bruce Cody.  Boz noticed paintings of old service stations that she knew I would like, and they were Bruce’s.  We enjoyed talking with him, and I have shared some photos of sights that Bruce might like to paint.


We saw two police cars in front of the Plaza Restaurant, and the officers confirmed that it was an excellent place to eat.  It is always a good idea to eat where you see multiple police cars.  The Plaza Restaurant has been serving since 1918.  Our food was excellent, but the pie was phenomenal.  Caramel Apple Pecan.  We thought it might be as good as the Key Lime Pie at Harry and the Natives, but we ultimately ranked it a close #2.  (We are now ranking all of the pies, so see the Pies We’ve Eaten page to see all the sweets we’ve managed to eat and how we’ve rated them.)


We saw a group of artists from Canada painting the San Miguel Church, the oldest church structure in the USA – dates to 1610.  We met Vanessa and Monica, two very talented artists from what we could see over their shoulders.  The oldest house in the USA is nearby – 1200 AD.  It was closed for restoration.  How does one know how a place built in 1200 AD is supposed to look?


We met Cassie and Shelly at the Rascal House toy shop where Bozzie Jane managed to find something for granddaughter Madison.


Most of our time was spent walking up and down Canyon Road.  Canyon Road is where most of the top artists have their galleries and studios.  We saw a lot of sculpture.  We saw a few Santa Fe New Mexico historic homes, including the Edwin Brooks House.  We stopped in an art supply store to ask Meg Davenport if she knew Michael or Ari Aster, but no luck.


We returned to the Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe New Mexico at 3:30 to meet Patrick, desk clerk/New Mexico traveler/photographer.  He brought some of his photos and gave us a number of ideas on places to go and things to see.  He told some great stories about his travels.  We especially enjoyed the story of the night he spent alone in an old western saloon with sole use of a 20-room hotel up above.


As we drove out of town, we stopped at Jackalope.  As Patrick put it, “Jackalope has nothing you need, but everything you want.”  It’s like Home Depot for Santa Fe – a huge indoor/outdoor place filled with every imaginable type of Santa Fe New Mexico décor item.


When we drove into Santa Fe New Mexico yesterday, I saw some dinosaurs.  We asked Patrick about it, and he told us that a fiberglass manufacturer on the outskirts of town had several dinosaurs on their property.  I had to get some photos.  It wasn’t easy to access, but we finally got there and got a few pics.  We learned that the owner will use the dinosaurs to make political statements; he had an Osama Bin Laden in the mouth of one of his dinosaurs for quite a while.


I wanted to go in the New Mexico State Penitentiary and see if we could get a tour or perhaps visit with an inmate who hasn’t ever had a visitor, but Bozzie Jane wasn’t up for it, so we drove on to Cerillos.  Cerillos is an honest-to-goodness ghost town established in 1879 to mine turquoise.  There’s not much left – a church, a few storefronts and houses…and – uniquely – not a single tourist-oriented place!


Just outside Cerillos, we stopped for some photos at the Empire Bone Zone.  The yard was filled with all kinds of unusual “sculptures.”  A sign said “enter at your own risk.”


When we parked in Madrid, we met Johnny even before we were out of the car.  Johnny told us a lot of stories about the town.


Among the stories are that Madrid had free electricity in the old days, so the townspeople had elaborate Christmas light displays…a tradition that we were told is still continued today.  He told us rumor has it that Walt Disney got the idea for Disneyland after seeing the Christmas lights in Madrid (an oasis in the desert).  Madrid is a tiny mining ghost town, so I have trouble buying that one.  He also told us that Madrid had a minor league baseball team called the Madrid Miners, and that the major league Dodgers had come there to play once.  After seeing the dirt field and the ravine that operates as the “outfield fence,” there’s just no way this can be true, but it was a fascinating story.  He went on to say the Madrid stadium was the first stadium to have lights west of the Mississippi.  Johnny said there are a lot of characters in Madrid and a tremendous number of stories.  We absolutely believed that!  His last story was that Tattoo Tammy had been in a shoot-out with some boys over the weekend and was in jail.  We really enjoyed Johnny Madrid’s tales.  Some may be true.  Some just can’t be.  But we were thoroughly entertained by this stranger who appeared out of nowhere on the one street in Madrid.

Madrid is an artist’s community, but the artists seem to knock off at 5, so there wasn’t much going on when we hit town.  Boz did notice a number of stray dogs, and she was really worried about one really skinny mother dog.  We hit the local general store for a big bag of dog food, but we couldn’t find the dog.  A nice local man promised he would find the dog and feed it.

Golden is probably the most ghostlike of the three ghost towns along this route (Cerillos, Madrid, and Golden).  We got a few photos, including one of a picturesque old church down a dusty dirt road that Patrick told us about.


We pulled into the Candlewood Hotel in Albuquerque about 7:30.  Wash night.  We enjoyed a delicious microwaved meal from the snack bar at the Candlewood.  Sometimes you just don’t feel like going out.


We continue to see the impact that chance encounters have.  We almost walked away from the registration desk at the Eldorado Hotel without engaging Patrick in any real conversation.  Fortunately, we had a conversation, got to know a really nice person, met again, and \will see a number of sights that we would have missed if we hadn’t spoken.  Bruce Cody has become an email pen pal.  Two policemen led us to some of the very best pie we’ve ever had.  Several artists brightened our day because they just happened to be in town on a painting trip.  And Johnny Madrid thoroughly entertained us on the side of a dusty road.




We’ve added a new web page where we are keeping track of the People We’ve Met.  We didn’t do a good job the first week or so; it took us a while to get into the swing of things and to try to take a photo of everyone we meet.  In recreating this list, I know I’ve missed a few who we’ll add when we have time to go through business cards, brochures, and notes after the trip is over.



Tinkertown – Day 34


Day 34 – May 4, 2003 – Sunday

46 degrees when we left our motel in Gallup.  It rained during the night, but that doesn’t count against our amazing record of 34 days without rain as we are only counting rain that falls while we are driving or walking around seeing sights.  It is so much cooler in California, Arizona, and New Mexico than I ever thought it would be.


Sunday morning isn’t a great time for sightseeing as most places are closed.


Gallup is filled with old motels with great neon signs.  We thought we saw them last night, but we only saw part of Route 66.  This morning, we’ve seen far more.  I’m sorry I didn’t get these photographed after dark so we could capture the great neon.


The El Rancho Hotel & Motel is famous.  It was built in 1937, and many stars have stayed there.  Most of the motels were pretty empty, but the El Rancho lot was packed.


The scenery on the east side of Gallup is extremely pretty – mountains and red rock formations similar to Sedona.  Right smack dab in front of some of the most beautiful scenery is the Vern Hamilton Construction Company’s sand and gravel plant.  What a blight.


The Red Rocks State Park is very pretty.


We visited a number of tiny towns today that are along Route 66.  There wasn’t much to see.  Coolidge was interesting; the only access to the town appeared to be through a drainage-like tunnel, though the scenery was beautiful.  Continental Divide consisted of two stores; the altitude is 7,295 feet – no wonder it’s so cool here.  If it ever rains, the water will now be flowing to the Atlantic Ocean.  Bluewater had a Route 66 Swap Meet junk shop and a great neon sign at the long-ago closed Bluewater Motel.  We saw a great-looking old barn between Bluewater and Grants.  We saw black lava beds near McCartys as well as the ruins of a Whiting Bros. service station.  We saw an old café in San Fidel and old cabins in Cubero.  The Budville Trading Post looks great in Budville, but it was not open – not sure if it is permanently closed.  We saw a trading post in Paraje, a flower shop in New Laguna, and a bridge in Rio Puerco.  There wasn’t much to see, but we were on the real Route 66 for much of the drive.


Grants is a good-sized town.  We enjoyed the park with a beautiful waterfall fountain and a wonderful Route 66 sculpture.  We took a number of other photos in Grants.  While I do most of the photography, Bozzie Jane will take shots out the car window on her side of the road.

We rolled into Albuquerque on the interstate, and we were surprised to see a sign that said “Albuquerque – Next 17 Exits.”  That’s a lot of exits!  We drove the length of town on Route 66 (Central Avenue), and we once again saw a tremendous number of old motels with great neon signs.  We stopped in Old Town – old buildings with tourist-oriented businesses.  We had excellent Mexican Food at La Placita.


Albuquerque has an especially beautiful old theatre – the Kimo.  You’ll notice that my photo is off center.  We were approached by a man who said he was a Navajo.  The top was down on the car, and I was 20 feet away.  He wanted to steal my camera, and he kept trying to get close to me.  It was a scary deal.  I managed to get back to the car and get us out of there.  We understand that Albuquerque is a pretty rough place.


The Aztec Motel is a landmark…and really quirky.  All kinds of stuff is stuck on the walls.  We would have explored more closely, but we came across three rough-looking characters walking down the street when I was out of the car taking photos.  I put the top up and locked the doors the rest of the way through Albuquerque.  We stopped at a nice-looking-on-the-outside “Giant” gas station, and there was a beggar stationed in a wheelchair right outside the ladies room.  The lock didn’t work on the ladies room door, and the men’s room was completely closed and not available for use.  The place was filthy.


Most of the gas stations that we have hit from California to New Mexico do not take credit cards at the pump, and many do not take credit cards at all.  This is a hassle that we didn’t like.


We took the “back route” to Santa Fe – Highway 14, known as the Turquoise Trail.  It is scenic, and one of the sights I have most wanted to see was just off the highway.


Tinkertown is everything I hoped it would be and much more.  It was billed as the world’s largest miniature western town, but it is really an incredible art gallery of the life’s work of Ross J. Ward.  For over 40 years, Ross Ward did woodcarving to create and then expand Tinkertown.  His woodcarving is incredible, but his overall artistic ability and the way everything on the property looks is what really blew me away.  Ross was also a philosopher, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the philosophies that were sprinkled in along the way.  Tinkertown is truly unique and represents an amazing accomplishment.  I have to rank it as the best attraction so far.  Ross died on November 13, 2002 at the age of 62.  He had quite a sense of humor as he prepared a death announcement plaque to go on the wall; it appears to be painted on a toilet seat, and the message includes “That’s the Capper.”


Please go see Tinkertown when you go to Santa Fe!


We passed through Golden, Madrid, and Cerillos on the way to Santa Fe.  We will stop in those little ghost towns tomorrow after we see Santa Fe.  We did meet Ben, a photographer with a fancy old camera on a tripod.  He was taking an old building with light shining through the remaining slats of the roof.  I took the same photo he was taking, and I got a nice shot of him and his camera with the old building behind.


Barbara and the kids have been to Santa Fe, but I somehow missed it until now.  It’s a beautiful city.  The sky and the clouds have a beauty that I have never seen anywhere else.


When we checked into the Eldorado Hotel, Boz realized it is the same hotel she and the kids stayed at 15 years ago.  Great hotel near the Plaza.  Patrick was the desk clerk.  We were about to head to our room when something was said that got us to talking.  Patrick got very excited when he learned about our trip, and he recommended a number of places for us to go in New Mexico.  It turns out Patrick is a photographer, and we arranged to meet him at 3:30 tomorrow to see some of his photographs of places he feels we should go.  What a delightful encounter!


We walked around Santa Fe through sunset.  The sky was incredible, and I got some great photos – even if they are over the tops of buildings and electrical lines in Santa Fe.


I guess the lesson we learned today is that it doesn’t take a lot to make a day special.  There just wasn’t a lot to see or do in the seven hours it took us to drive from Gallup through Albuquerque.  But then we loved Tinkertown, met a special person in Patrick, and enjoyed beautiful Santa Fe and its incredible sky.




May 4, 2003

8:45 36664 49 degrees It rained during the night but that doesn’t count against us, but the clouds are pretty dark.

The Holiday Inn’s hotel lobby was like the nicest hotel in downtown Dallas, the rooms were the second worst that we’ve seen but they’re getting ready to remodel.

At least the rain has caused the winds to stop. Folks at the hotel were commenting on that at the hotel, it’s been blowing like crazy here for as long as they could remember.

The first train of the day.

Richardson’s Pawn Shop has been opened since 1913 unfortunately it was closed this morning and we could not get in.

After seeing one little dumpee small motel after another, we finally saw a parking lot full of cars and it’s the Hotel El Rancho—“the charm of yesterday, convenience of tomorrow.” The place dates back to 1937, the place is huge. It must be pretty good, there’s a lot of people there.

Another train.

There’s pretty scenery on the outskirts of Gallop; there’s nice mountain and rock formations.

Vernon Hamilton Construction Company outside of Gallop gets the worst company award for placing its grotesque sand and gravel business right next to one of the more beautiful mountain and rock formations we’ve ever seen.

Red Rock State Park 36679 10:00am

Another train.

We quickly drove in Red Rock State Park but I tell you as you look at these red rocks Gallop has red rocks with as much beauty as Sedona. It’s not as pretty a setting, the town’s just laid out on a strip the length of the railroad tracks but it’s pretty.

36697 10:23am We pulled off for the town of Coolidge. There’s not much here so far. I took a picture of an old abandoned building. There’s kind of a entrance to town underneath the highway going through a little tunnel—spooky.

Coolidge may not have a lot going for it, but it has some beautiful scenery.

Bozzie’s taking a picture.

We’re at exit 47 off of I 40 36700 10:30am We’re at the Continental Divide on Route 66.

7250 feet elevation level here.

We saw a sign that says “Seewald  Estates.” 36712 10:50am but we don’t see any estates.

There’s a little shed.

Another train.

We’re in Prewitt 36719 10:55am

36723 11:00am We just passed by the Route 66 Swap Meet which is just kind of a junk shop on the side of the road outside Prewitt heading towards Blue Water.

We took a picture of Mt. Taylor from the Highway near the Swap Meet 11,300 feet.

We took several photos of Alan’s Garage just outside of Grants.

Blue Water 36728 11:10 It’s 57 degrees and the wind’s still blowing pretty good; our suntans are fading.

I took a picture of a barn between Blue Water and Grant. I got another train.

Malan 36734 11:20am There is a very blue sky with some pretty white clouds that look like they’re painted. We just passed through a red dust storm, but here just a few feet away you’d never know it.

We’re taking a picture of the black lava beds called the Malpies.

Grants 36737 11:26am

We got a picture of Charlie’s Radiator Service in Grants.

Took the Lux Theater in Grants

Took the Grants Chamber of Commerce and Mining Museum and the Uranium Café just across the street. Unfortunately, the café’s closed.

Took the fountain and the sculpture in Grants—very nice

Took a shot of the West Theatre in Grants now featuring X-Men 2

It’s a bad placement of the Route 66 sign as you exit the east end of Grants. It’s past the point where you need to turn.

Passing by McCarty’s 36754 12:05pm

Took an old building in McCarty’s

Took an picture of the old torn down Whiting Brothers just outside McCarty’s

San Fidel 36758 12:10pm

Picture of the San Fidel Café or what used to be the San Fidel Café

Took a picture of a place that you may be able to see cabins in the community of Via de Cubero

There’s a gas station here with a lot of business.

Budville Trading Post 36763 12:21pm It’s closed up but it’s probably still in business, but I’m not sure.

Another train

36767 12:26pm Paraje There’s a trading post and a few houses.

We have reached New Laguna 36770 12:30pm

Sweetie’s Flowers and Gifts in New Laguna

Another train

We’re very surprised to have so much Route 66 to drive. It isn’t signed as Route 66 everywhere, but it is Route 66 and we’ve been on it nonstop today.

I got a flag and a fence post.

It’s a pretty drive as you leave Old Laguna. The road’s a little rougher but you come down through a canyon—Red Rock Canyon.

Mesita 36778 12:42pm

I took an Indian Arrowhead Highway sign and a Mesita sign

Route 66 gets considerably rougher outside of Mesita

We’ve decided to back up at Mesita, get off this really bumpy road which goes a big loop that’s kind of out of the way, because we want to see the bridge we would miss otherwise.

We’re exiting at Exit 126 because it says Route 66 36793 1:03pm

Rio Puerco 36807 1:15pm

Took a picture of the Rio Puerco bridge. It was built 1933, 250 feet long, one of the longest bridges in New Mexico.

We’re at a sign that says Albuquerque next 17 exits; I’ve never seen a city with so many exits. 36817 1:42pm

We exited at 149 36819 1:44 And we’re back on Route 66

Albuquerque city limits 36821 1:47pm

The steakhouse was the first picture coming into Albuquerque, then a motel.

36825 2:02 We’re crossing the Rio Grande River on Route 66. This is a pretty big deal!

36826 3:10 We’re just leaving Old Town after having a nice Mexican lunch, buying a Christmas ornament, and paying $2 to park. Now we’re rolling.

We tried to get a picture of the Keybo Theatre in downtown Albuquerque and some Navajo Indian came up to us harassing us and wanting money and trying to steal our camera.

We got a picture of the 66 Diner in Albuquerque. Route 66 is called Central Avenue in Albuquerque.

36830 3:25 We’re at the University of New Mexico.

36831 3:33 Incredible Aztec Motel. There’s stuff all over it.

The giant service station restrooms in Albuquerque get a low mark; they have a beggar waiting outside the door. You have to get a key to work allegedly, but the only one that works is the women’s. They’re filthy. A general complaint about gas stations from here to California: most of them don’t allow you to pay by credit card at the pump; you have to go in and pay before you pump your gas which is very difficult because a lot of them don’t take credit cards, you have to give them a lot of cash. They are very unpleasant to deal with.

36844 4:07pm Teeharas and we’re starting at the Turquoise Trail—Hwy 14 heading to Santa Fe. We’re hoping to see some people who will attempt to rob and kill us so that we can photograph them. We may have to cut over to the interstate to get the robbers and murderers.

We actually just reached Teeharas 36844 4:08pm

36845 4:09 We’re at the junction of 14 North

Sandia Park 36851 4:17pm

We left fabulous Tinkertown and we’re San Antonito 36853 4:57pm

Tinkertown is completely unique. The talent of this man Ross Ward is unbelievable; he died November of 2002. The artistic ability of the layout and design and assemblage of all this stuff is even more impressive than the woodcarving.

Golden 36865 5:09pm

36874 5:19 We came up to the top of the mountain and came over the other side and you get an incredible view all the way off to snow-capped peaks in the distance with various mountains and hills and valleys in between.

Madrid 36876 5:24pm This is an artist’s community and there’s all kinds of funky cool little stuff. There’s little huts, a little jewelry place.

We met Ben who said he’s an amateur photographer but has a mighty impressive camera that shoots special quality film. He was taking a picture of a barn because you get really interesting light shining through this time of year and day.

Madrid is a really cool old mining town, turned into an artist’s community. When it’s artists who are doing artwork it doesn’t bother you as much as when it’s a place that’s selling T-shirts and everything else. They of course maintain things in a way that is so artsy and ties into the land and buildings. It’s awfully enjoyable to see. There’s a gypsy festival; that would be cool to attend.

City limits of Santa Fe 36898 We missed Serrios. We saw about 5 dinosaurs in a building in Madrid, we saw a giant flag, we just saw a cool neon sign, but we’re out of memory space so we have to remember to take pictures when we come back.

We met Patrick, the desk clerk at the hotel. He was extremely nice and got real excited about the trip. We took a picture of the Institue of American Indian Arts Museum, the Cathedral Park, and a sculpture at the Frank Howell Gallery.

We met Bruce Cody at the Charlene Cody Gallery. Barbara noticed paintings of service station fronts and the kinds of things we’ve been photographing. We commented on how nice they were and it turned out he was the artist. We took his picture. We walked to the very pretty plaza, saw a couple of policemen and asked them the best place to eat. They told us the Plaza Café which we were standing in front of. It was great. They’ve been serving since 1918 on the Plaza in Santa Fe.

Last night we shared a turkey club at the El Dorado Hotel. We saw a guy in what looked to be an orange Camero who was up to no good on the drive up to Albuquerque.

We’re having caramel apple pecan pie which were not sure if it’s better than the Harry and the Natives Key Lime or not. This is really good—it’s #1 or #2.

Barbara pronounces this pie “#2”

Oldest church structure in the USA 1610—San Miguel Church

Vanessa and Monica are artists from Canada.

We took a picture of the entrance to the oldest house in the USA but it was closed.

1200 AD reputed to be a remnant of this ancient Pueblo.

We took Great Tree near the Morning Star Gallery on Canyon Road and the James L. Johnson house garden.

After the 2 skinny women hugging, I took a picture of the residence and studio of Freemont F. Ellise. It’s called the Edwin Brooks house from the 1920’s.

Zaplin-Lampert Gallery Sculputre Garden with yellow flowers

Took a picture of the brushes at artisan/Santa Fe. We met Meg Davenport.

I had a nice talk with Patrick and met Paul in the parking garage.

Patrick told us a great story about when he was in the town of Glenwood. It had been a long day, he was tired and stopped at a sign which said there were rooms. He went into a saloon next to where it said there were rooms and a guy who looked like Z Z Top said he had a room available and asked him how much he wanted to pay. Patrick said $20. At the end of the night, the guy gave him a key to the front door of the saloon and told him he had his pick of the 20 rooms upstairs.

36909 4:00 We’re at Jack-a-loupe.

It’s a huge city. Like Patrick said “it’s nothing you need, but everything you want.” It’s the Home Depot for Santa Fe style.

We tried to go to the fiberglass place but when we turned we got stuck on interstate 25 and had to drive a bunch of miles to exit and go back the other direction. So, there is a fiberglass place with various unsundry dinosaurs. The guy apparently uses it to make political statements. He had Osama bin Laden in the mouth of a dinosaur. We’ll just have to tell people about it instead of photograph it.

36927 4:50 We managed to get pictures of the dinosaurs.

36930 4:55 We’re at the New Mexico State Penitentiary. We’re going to go in and ask them if there’s been any particularly violent criminal who hasn’t had any visitors daily, and we’re here to see him.

Serillos 36942 5:08pm This town was founded in 1879, and turquoise was mined here.

Serillos is a real old town with not much left, and not a single tourist oriented thing in it.

Mom’s taking a picture of the sculpture outside the Turquoise Trail Trading Post just outside Serillos. She’s taking a picture of a place perhaps called Empire Bone Zone. He has bones on his trashcan and all kinds of crazy sculptures. It says “enter at your own risk.”

We met Johnny and he told us that Madred had free electricity, so it was known for its Christmas lights. They had and still do have a tremendous Christmas light display. Back in the old days there was rumor that it helped inspire Walt Disney to build Disneyland because of this oasis in the desert. He also told us that Madred had a minor league baseball team called the Madred Miners and the Los Angeles Dogers once came here and played. The baseball stadium here is the first stadium west of the Mississippi to have lights for night games. Because of the way the stadiums set, when the sunsets it’s only suitable to play the game at night. He said there are a lot of characters here, and it’s a great place to live. We met him when he asked us what Round America was all about. Bozzie Jane has found a dog that looks like it’s dying of starvation, so we’re at the grocery store buying some dog food.

Johnny also told us this is a rough and tough place. Over the weekend Tattoo Tammy got in a shootout with some guys and was in jail. Who knows if it’s true or not but it sounded like fun.

Took pictures of the Oscar Hughbrell Memorial Ballpark

6:12 We’re leaving Madred. We couldn’t find the dog so we gave it to a man who said he would find the dog for us.

36949 6:11pm We had no luck reaching Michael Aster.

We got a picture of the church in Golden.

Cedar Crest 36974 6:56pm

Tiharos 36978 7:00pm