We have completed the first loop ‘Round America. After over 12,000 miles, we are home in Atlanta.
Bozzie Jane flew back to Atlanta after spending some time taking care of her father and helping her mother in Dallas. I took her to the airport in Lubbock for her flight to Dallas, and then I drove Route 66 from Amarillo to Oklahoma City to Tulsa to Springfield to St. Louis. I left Route 66 there and drove to Cape Girardeau, Memphis, and Nashville…then back to Atlanta.
It was a most enjoyable 45 days, and I look forward to completing the trip. 15 states down and 35 to go, but I’m guessing the trip is 40% behind us. We’ll top 25,000 miles in total. We’ve been through 989 towns so far with 2,500 on our itinerary. We’ve bought 616 gallons of gas. We’ve traveled the two-lane roads as planned, and I’ve passed only 10 cars in 45 days. Technically, I’ve passed only eight cars, but I passed two vehicles twice.
We’ve met a lot of nice people and some very interesting folks. The Floating Neutrinos (Day 18) still top the list of most interesting, though Harley and Annabelle in Erick, Oklahoma (Day 38), and the three chicken farmers in Maysville, Arkansas (Day 40) were very interesting as well. We’ve probably met close to 800 people so far as that’s how many business cards we’ve given out. I can list 611 who I know we’ve met.
We’ve seen incredible sights. Major sights included the Grand Canyon, Daytona Beach, South Beach, Key West, Savannah, Bourbon Street, South Padre Island, Big Bend, Trinity Site, The Array, Tucson, San Diego, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Route 66, the Rose Bowl, Sedona, Santa Fe, the National Memorial in Oklahoma City, the arch in St. Louis, Graceland, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Equally enjoyable were Harry and the Natives, the world’s largest lobster, the world’s smallest church, the Perky Bat Tower, The Shell Factory, Sponge-O-Rama, the world’s smallest police station, the world’s largest Neptune statue, Lamberts, the human statues in New Orleans, the Orange Show, the Beer Can House, TeePee Motel, Little Graceland, the Los Ebanos Ferry, Freddie’s Fast Lube & Snow Cone Stand, the Rio Grande River, Terlingua, the Roy Orbison Museum, the Roswell UFO Museum, Pie Town New Mexico, Truth or Consequences New Mexico, Bisbee Arizona, the airplane graveyard in Tucson, the center of the world, the Doheny Woodie Show, the home of the world’s largest flag, the Dawsons, the DiSantos, the towns of Bagdad in Florida and California, the Bagdad Cafe, Tinkertown, Cadillac Ranch, the Big Texan Steak Ranch, Toad Hall, the sawed off Giant’s legs, the Buddy Holly Museum, Prairie Dog Town, the Shanklins, Palo Duro Canyon, the Will Rogers Museum, the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, the small version of the Twin Towers in Tulsa, George Robertson, the Overalls and the Huggins, the home of Rush Limbaugh, Beale Street, Sun Studios, Karaoke Night at Wet Willie’s, Paradise Gardens, numerous sunsets, and flags and patriotic displays everywhere. Brief comments have been added on the major sights and other attractions, so click on these links to get the low-down.
We’ve eaten some great food. In fact, in 45 days, there was just one meal that we were disappointed with. We’ve eaten 49 “pies,” and there have been some mighty good ones. The Key Lime Pie at Harry and the Natives (Day 5) still ranks #1.
We’ve learned or relearned some great lessons.
I’m sure I’ve entertained a lot of people with the beads I’ve worn since I received them from the Floating Neutrinos on Day 18. I’ve probably told the beads story at least 100 times so far.
Only one traffic ticket (Day 3). I was also stopped and “busted” for drugs in Missouri (Day 41) No serious car problems that we know about. I bought one new tire…but that was for five missionaries in the middle of nowhere in Texas. We did come across a number of people who we felt were trying to steal my camera, but we managed to stay out of harm’s way. I’ve driven every mile myself. Barbara and I combined to take 5,257 photos — an average of 116.8 per day and almost one photo per half mile; at this pace, we’ll probably take 12,000 photos.
I’ve done some writing — but mainly just a recap of the day’s events. I have recorded far more thoughts, and I have collected over 120 pounds of brochures and information that I will use in writing the book.
In 45 days — 1080 hours, we did not see any rain until Day 44! Amazing. It rained for several hours on Day 44 from Memphis to Nashville, but we saw only a few minutes of raindrops in Florida prior to this. I drove right between serious tornados in Oklahoma but never saw a drop of rain.
We’ve had relatively few problems. The biggest problem was the inability to connect with the Internet for a week that put me hopelessly behind on the web site work. I have obtained an 800-number Internet service for the remainder of the trip so I will be able to dial in from anywhere with a phone line. Cell phones don’t work in much of the west. Another inconvenience was having hotel / motel reservations that necessitated that we make it to a specific town each night. This stopped me from spending more time with interesting people, seeing some sights, and pursuing some stories. It also caused me to be driving at night a lot more than I wanted to. So, we will not make advance reservations for the rest of the trip. The convertible was a lot of fun, but we will be in a PT Cruiser the rest of the way. Driving alone is much more difficult as the two-lane roads are not always easy to find. I will actively recruit some navigators for the remaining segments when Bozzie Jane will not be along.
We had one complication since April 1: We unexpectedly sold our home in Atlanta! It wasn’t for sale. Some folks put a note in our mailbox saying they would be interested in buying our home. We let them see it, and they gave us a contract. Bozzie Jane is not at all excited about moving, but we need to find a new house, so the date for resuming the trip will be delayed until we have found a house. We’ll keep you posted.
Many people ask what has been our favorite experience. There are too many wonderful experiences to pick just one, but my favorite day is still Day 18. Barbara’s favorite days are Day 2 in Savannah and Day 25 in beautiful San Diego.
We have MANY great sights yet to come. We are especially looking forward to North Dakota where we have received more invitations for dinner and pie than we can imagine. We’re also scheduled for a lot more newspaper, radio, and TV interviews on the second half of the trip.
I will be spending the next few days getting the Daily Journal up to date. At least the time when we aren’t babysitting for Miss Madison.