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.

 

Interview:

“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.”

 

 

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.

 

Tinkertown – Day 34

Tinkertown

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

49 Exits on Route 66 – Day 33

49 Exits on Route 66

Day 33 – May 3, 2003 – Saturday

36,326 on the odometer as we left Sedona with Gallup, New Mexico as our final destination.  Today will be a Route 66 day.  There are 49 exits on Route 66 marked on our map between Flagstaff and Gallup.

 

Tom and Lane commented on my beads as I checked out of the Sedona Real.  I’ve told the story of the Floating Neutrinos (Day 18) so many times now that Bozzie Jane and I are discussing the possibility of making up a new story now every time someone asks.

 

As we gassed up, a bearded man approached the car asking for money.  He was very happy to have his photograph taken.  His name was Bear, and he lives in the woods.  Seriously.

We again enjoyed the beautiful one-hour drive from Sedona to Flagstaff.

 

There were a few sights we missed in Flagstaff (Route 66 Motel, Wigwam Curios, and the Museum Club – where the owner’s collection of stuffed animals is mounted in tree branches above the dance floor), but we didn’t warm to Flagstaff, so we just drove on.

 

“Don’t forget Winona” is one of the lyrics in the famous song “Route 66” written by Bobby Troup in 1946, so we were excited to see it.  Unfortunately, it appears just about everyone has forgotten Winona.  Everyone except the Route 66 sign thieves, as there were neither Route 66 signs nor Winona city limits signs.  We didn’t even see a business, but we did backtrack to get a photo of a sign with an arrow pointing toward Winona.  Someone should put a memorial of some type there – at least a Route 66 sign of some type.  49 exits on Route 66 but a lot of stolen signs.

 

The Twin Arrows Trading Post in Twin Arrows is one of the special landmarks along Route 66.  Sadly, it has closed, and the place is in pretty bad shape.  I got several photos of the huge wooden carvings of the twin arrows.  I had to jump big cement barricades to get to it.  From what I can tell, the property must be owned by the state of Arizona.

 

In this stretch of Route 66, Interstate 40 is the route, and we have to take the various exits to see little pieces of the original road and various sights in the little towns and whistlestops.

Down the road a dozen miles, and we pulled off the Interstate to Two Guns, Arizona.  Like Twin Arrows, Two Guns was the site of a gas station and trading post.  Nothing remains except some stone wall ruins and an old Two Guns sign where someone has written “Not” above the old “Welcome” sign.  We caught a glimpse of Diablo Canyon, but I decided the little white car did not need to venture down the rocky road.

 

The terrain in this part of Arizona is just flat desert with low shrubs.

 

The next landmark on our Arizona Route 66 map was Exit 233 — Meteor Crater.  49 exits on Route 66.  We hadn’t read much about it, so our expectations were low – especially since it is six miles or so off a section of Route 66 that is already in the middle of nowhere.  Were we ever in for a surprise!

 

50,000 years ago, a huge meteorite struck the ground here – the first of only two documented cases of a meteorite striking this planet.  The crater is 550 feet deep and 2.4 miles in circumference.  To put this in perspective, the crater could hold 20 football fields.  The Visitors’ Center, Museum of Astrogeology, and Astronaut’s Hall of Fame are housed in a big beautiful brick facility that we certainly didn’t expect, and the museum was totally professional – certainly as fine as anything we have seen.  The owners have big fences with concertina barbed wire to keep people from sneaking a free peak; the $12 per person entrance charge seemed steep, but after all, no one else has what they have.  Wind gusts were being clocked at up to 72 miles-per-hour, so we didn’t stick around after we saw a good-sized man lifted off his feet near the rim.

Meteor City is about 12 miles away.  The Meteor City Trading Post has two world’s largests – the world’s largest Route 66 map (painted on the fence) and the world’s largest dreamcatcher (a net that would appear to catch tumbleweeds and litter that blow in its direction as well as all dreams lost in the wind).

 

I have done a poor job of spotting the remains of old Route 66 drive-ins. I missed what was left of the Tonto Drive-In on the western outskirts of Winslow.  We may have been distracted by a billboard promoting “Standin’ on the Corner in Winslow, Arizona.”  This is a famous lyric from one of the Eagles biggest hits, “Take It Easy.”  The song was written by Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne, and we were told rumor has it that Glenn Frey might have begun writing the song after being released from jail in Winslow.  The song goes: “Well I’m standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona with such a fine sight to see.  It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flat-bed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me.”

 

We had read that Don Henley (who was the lead singer on “Take It Easy”) gave some money to an effort to build a monument to the song on the street corner.  We were very pleasantly surprised when we found a beautiful monument and park on the main corner of Route 66 in downtown Winslow.  We parked the car and took a number of photos of “the corner.”  Then we walked around town.  We were very fortunate to meet John and Karen, owners of Dominique’s Hallmark/gift shop/Route 66 shop/flower shop right across from the corner.  Many years ago, John was a delivery driver for the Thrifty Food Company, and he traveled all across Arizona on Route 66, so he had great stories to tell about Route 66 during its glory days.  49 exits on Route 66. John and Karen bought their corner building a year ago and completely refurbished it.  They now get a lot of tourist business; they didn’t get any in their previous location.

 

At John’s recommendation, we walked down to the La Posada Hotel for lunch.  The La Posada is a beautiful Harvey Hotel designed by Mary Colter (famous Southwestern architect who designed the buildings at the Grand Canyon among others) and built in 1930.  The hotel was one of a number of luxury hotels adjacent to train depots that the Fred Harvey Company built in partnership with the Atlantic and Pacific and Santa Fe railroads.  The post-World War II decline in rail travel led to the closure of the grand hotel in 1957.  The property was purchased in 1997 by Allan Affeldt, who along with his wife Tina Mion and Daniel Lutzick, managed to get $10 million in grants to restore the place from the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund and the Arizona Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant program.  We further understand they just obtained another $1 million in grants for landscaping.  Can you imagine getting $11 million in grants to fix up your business?  We must be doing something wrong.

 

The La Posada is very impressive and we had a delightful lunch.  This would definitely be a great place to stay!  John on the corner told us that the restoration of the La Posada has had a tremendous impact on the revitalization of Winslow.

 

While the hotel was something to see, we probably got a bigger kick out of observing local high schoolers decorating the hotel with balloons for their prom that night.  Somehow we doubt that limos and motel rooms are part of the program for high schoolers in Winslow.

 

As we drove out of Winslow, I stopped at a patriotic display and was pleasantly surprised to find Remembrance Garden was built around two beams from the World Trade Center.

We really liked Winslow – one of our most favorite Route 66 towns!

 

The Jackrabbit Trading post was built in 1947 by two Joseph City, Arizona businessmen, Robbie Robinson and James Taylor.  They devised a billboard campaign that made the “Jackrabbit” famous.  Bright yellow billboards with a silhouette of a jackrabbit were all that was needed to promote the Jackrabbit Trading Post.  There’s a big fiberglass jackrabbit out front, and Boz was gracious enough to climb on for a photo.  We met Tony Jaquez, the owner for the last 12 years.  The lights weren’t on when we arrived at about 1:30, so we fear that business may not be that good.  Bozzie bought some moccasins for granddaughter Madison.

 

The Jackrabbit is on the outskirts of Joseph City.  Not much else to see there, but we got a nice photo of a patriotic sign put up by the two local Cub Scout troops.

 

Holbrook is a decent sized town.  There are a number of old motels there. And one of the best-known Route 66 landmarks, Wigwam Village. This is a beautifully restored old motel featuring concrete teepees originally built in 1950 by Chester E. Lewis.  We loved Wigwam Village.

Heading east just outside Holbrook, we saw giant dinosaurs next to the highway.  We pulled off to find the “International Petrified Forest, Dinosaur Park, and Museum of the Americas.”  Sounds BIG and IMPORTANT.  We drove up to a ticket booth where Tomacita took our $10 bill.  It was to be a two-and-a-half-mile drive through the Dinosaur Park.  Tomacita looked a little sick and mumbled incoherently when I asked her if it was really exciting to see.  It wasn’t.  I believe we saw a total of six concrete dinosaurs in the 2 ½ miles; there were bigger and better-looking dinosaurs for free along the highway.  There was some petrified wood in the desert on the drive, and there were some Indian artifacts in the Museum of the Americas, but this was not a noteworthy stop.  I imagine they are having a tough time of it; there were 21 flagpoles standing proudly out front, but only two sad-looking flags remained.  The rest room was extremely nice and clean.

 

The REAL Petrified Forest National Park WAS just a few miles down the road.  We enjoyed the views of the colorful Painted Desert and Petrified Forest along the 27-mile scenic drive.  We met a number of nice people, including Marcus and Ranger Rachel.  Ranger Rachel told us we should have bought a 13-month pass good for all National Parks for $50; I’ll add that to my list of things one should do before heading off on a trip to all 50 states.

 

In the parking lot, we met John and Corinne; they had been on their own trip across America for over two months and were just heading home.  Inside the park, we met Gary and Janice as well as Ian, Matthew, Bruce, and Celia.

 

Several exits produced little or nothing as we headed east.  I felt cheated when we stopped to see “Indian Ruins” after we saw many signs promoting it.  It was nothing but a modern gas station and Indian-themed gift shop.

 

We detoured off Route 66 to head north to Window Rock, Arizona to see the famous window rock.  The sun set on the way there, so we didn’t get the best view of Window Rock, but we did manage a photo or two.  It turns out the city of Window Rock is the capital of the Navajo Nation, and we saw the various tribal headquarters offices.

 

We crossed into New Mexico at about 7:30, but the time changed, so it was 8:30.  We galloped into Gallup, New Mexico about 20 minutes later.  Gallup is known for a number of great old motel neon signs, and we cruised down Route 66 and snapped several photos.  It wasn’t until the next day that we realized we missed the biggest and best part of the motels on the east end of town.

 

We had a nice meal at the Ranch Kitchen.  They’ve served 7 million customers in 49 years.  It was started by Earl and Beverly Vance.  Sharon was our waitress.  I had barbeque brisket and chicken, and the combo was very good.  We checked into the Holiday Inn.  The lobby was spectacular, but the rooms were poor, though Barbara noted they are about to remodel.  We have been disappointed with only two motels — the only two Holiday Inns we have stayed at.

We saw 15 trains today.  That means 15 ice cream cones for Bozzie Jane.  I hope Papa is still buying.

 

While it wasn’t one of our favorite days, it was certainly a diverse and interesting one.

I’m not sure what lesson we learned today.  There was no strong message.  It was sad to see so many ruins of what were significant spots on Route 66.

 

 

May 3

36326 8:15 after telling the bead and couple other stories to Tom and Lane at the Sedona Reale Inn where we were unable to get an internet connection probably due to something with the hotel’s phone set-up as opposed to Earthlink.

We met Bear at the gas station and got his picture. He’s lived here 3 months in the woods and probably not in a house or anything.

36328 we’re getting a slow start after awakening at 6:00. Someone who has the longest and darkest hair slept in.

Barbara would like to know why Arizona doesn’t observe day light savings time.

Flagstaff 36355 9:20

Wynona 36376 9:45am

We’re taking a picture of the bridge with the ‘road closed’ sign.

It looks like people steal the city limit signs to Wynona so we’re going back to get one with an arrow.

Train for Bozzie

It’s ashame Wynona doesn’t have a Route 66 sign of any type. It would be nice if had a little memorial, but we didn’t even see a business.

Crossing Padre Canyon 36386 as we exit to Twin Arrows 10am

We got a bunch of pictures at Twin Arrows. It’s all closed up and they have cement barriers to keep people from pulling in over there but I hopped the barriers. The land out east of Twin Arrows is your basic flat desert. There are little plants no more than a foot high. The mountains are way back in the distance.

36398 10:19 Two Guns which looks pretty much to be gone

We got this divided broken piece of Route 66 in Two Guns. We rode out to the end of the broken piece and took some pictures. I guess that would be Diablo Canyon that’s down in the ruins. There are a bunch of ruins here.

36402 10:30am at exit 203 off of I 40 and getting off for Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater signs say “this planet’s first impact meteor site…” It’s called an impact crater.

36408 10:38am we’re in the parking lot of Meteor Crater

Barbara: We just stopped to see the meteor crater and it was really an incredible site to see. There are only two proven craters that have ever hit the earth. The museum and facility all around about the history and information about the astronauts and everything is very well done. It’s a beautiful building. We would’ve stayed longer but we don’t have that much time and also the wind gusts are at 70 mph. It’s kind of hard to stand out there and take a look, but it’s definitely something everyone should see.

I was expecting more than Sponge-o-rama when we drove to Meteor Crater but there’s no way you expect a big, gorgeous brick building with as professional a museum as we’ve seen anywhere. People own this out here and they have all kinds of fences and stuff from keep people from being able to get a view without paying $12 per person to get in. It was a little steep but hey it’s the only one.

Meteor City 36420 11:13. This is the Meteor City Trading Post that has a map that some people are rude enough to park in front of. It’s the world’s longest map of Route 66.

We took a picture of the world’s largest map of Route 66 and of the world’s largest dream catcher.

Train

City limits of Winslow 36432 11:30

“Stand on the corner of Winslow, Arizona” billboard

We took a picture of a patriotic display photo coming into Winslow

Train

Barbara: We met John at the Winslow corner. He had a really interesting job many years ago. In the 50’s he was a delivery person for the Thrifty Food Service Company. So, he would call on everyone from Kingman to the New Mexico line, the reservations and down to the Verde Valley. He knows Angel in Saligman and tells interesting stories about how these businesses were thriving. He bought the building just one year ago, completely refurbished it. The windows were blacked out, the ceiling was covered up; he and his wife spend a lot of time and money refurbishing the building. He really just got moved last Memorial Day and opened. He didn’t used to get the tourist trade, and now he has a whole section for the Route 66 paraphernalia. Now, tourists come in all the time. He goes out on the street corner to take pictures. He says on a summer weekend you have to wait in line to get your picture taken with Don Henley on that corner. His wife is from Winslow and her father paid $1800 cash for a house down the street; he lived in it til the day he died. On his death bed he was still cussing having paid so much for his house.

Glenn Fry and Jackson Brown actually wrote the song many years ago before they were with the Eagles. The story is that Glenn Fry was in jail for drunk driving. There was something across the street, came out, and was standing on the corner. It was years later that Don Henley sang it and turned it into the hit that it is. We’re walking down to the La Pasada Hotel which really was the beginning of the refurbishment of this town. A developer got 10 million dollars grant money from the state to refurbish the La Pasada. Later, just recently, he got 1 million dollars to refurbish the cinema, the old theater which is now showing first time movies. It definitely sparked everything else going on. It is one of the few towns along this route that has held onto its heritage and buildings and is coming back. One other interesting bit of info is the Hallmark Store with John. He and his wife have both a hallmark portion and a floral business. We met his wife and I just though it was kind of fun that she apologized to us for not being able to spend much time but she was busy with prom business. There’s just something ironic or funny about it to me that this little bitty sleepy town is fixing corsages for the young people. It might have been a good idea for the man who did the La Pasada to have spend some of the 10 million dollars on the side walk; it’s very uneven out front where Bill almost lost his life in a pratt fall.

We’d like to know why trains don’t have cabooses anymore.

We got pictures on the outskirts of town of Remembrance Garden with two beams from the World Trade Center. There are tons of flags; it’s really pretty. We had a nice meal at the La Pasada. It was very impressive.

36429 1:09 passing the Little Colorado River. We just left the outskirts of Winslow a minute ago.

Bozzie spotted another train and she’s demanding ice cream.

The original wigwam village is in Kentucky, so I may need to modify my Kentucky route to see it.

Train

We went to the Jack Rabbit Trading Post and met Antonio. He said the area was named Jack Rabbit after the trading post because of the hype created by the man who started it. His lights were off when we went in, so I don’t think he’s getting tons of business. He said he’s owned it for 12 years. We bought some moccasins for Madison.

36452 1:35pm we’re leaving Jack Rabbit

36458 1:40 Joseph City elevation 5000 and founded 1876

There’s nothing in Joseph City but we did take a picture of the “we salute our troops” from Cub Scouts 59

We’re exiting off I 40 at exit 285 for Wholebrook 36469 1:55pm

We stopped to get a picture of the Golden Inn Motor Hotel that has seen better years. It is available for rent. We got a picture of their Route 66 mother road mural, and a Petrified National Park mural.

Wholebrook is a good-sized place; we’re kind of surprised.

We just met Thomasita at the Petrified Forest painted desert.

The first thing we photographed was a streuthommus, ostrich dinosaur it’s called.

The second dinosaur we photographed is called allosarus. It’s very attractive.

All off to the side are piles of petrified wood. They’re just little poles and rows. It basically looks like a big dirt pile.

A young dilothosaurus

This is a 2 ½ mile drive we’re on and I would say at the current pace it appears there’s a dinosaur every ½ mile. But in between the dinosaurs we have piles of trees that are petrified.

This next dinosaur is called a coelophysis; it’s a small little dinosaur.

This place is just right on I 40. You can see the truckers going by. It is $10 per car for this tour.

Dromiceiommus is the next shot.

The next one with the little mounds behind is the segnosaur

There’s 21 flag poles and only 2 flags left. They had a giant green dinosaur stuffed animal in there for $75 originally $97. They have nice restrooms and a nice little Indian display.

They really are better looking, bigger dinosaurs as advertisements along the highway as opposed to what you see when you go inside the park.

The wind is blowing so hard out here that the sky is literally light brown.

Goodwater 36489 3:10pm. There are no services in Goodwater. As we look off, there’s a couple of trucks parked on the side of the road, a couple huts, a mobile home, a shed or two. It doesn’t appear to be a big city.

36501 3:19 we’re exiting on 311 for the Petrified Forest National Park

We got out at the visitor’s center at the National Park and met John and Corinne. Inside, we photographed Marcus who gave us some info. John and Corrine have been on a trip since February 28 just driving around seeing the sites and stuff. They’d been to Savannah and Charleston.

The Petrified Forest National Park has a $10 entrance fee.

We met Ranger Rachel, took her picture, and she gave us a nice little extra goody of a map and told us we should buy a $50 13-month park pass.

We met Gary and Janice at the first stop—the painted desert photo stop.

We took the Painted Desert Inn at Cochina Point.

We just passed the Puerco River. It appears to be just dirt. 36513 4:10

We met Ian, Matthew, Bruce, and Cilia and took their picture at the Blue Mesa area. They’re from Oklahoma City. They’re nice people and headed to Phoenix and Sedona.

The next photo with dark drainage ditches is the dindritic drainages.

We were probably at 36520 at the Blue Mesa at about 4:47

Train

Some of these hills are like Neopolitan ice cream—chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry striped.

Dead River 36547 5:28pm and we just entered the Navajo Nation

We believe there are Indians on the horizon.

We just left the National Park about 5 minutes ago. We’re on I 40 because there is no Route 66 here but we have lots of exits with cool stuff coming up.  49 exits on Route 66.

We’re at exit 320 Penta Road 36551 5:31pm. This may be the painted desert ruins.

We took a picture of the gravel where the painted desert trading post used to be.

We took a picture of where the road, Route 66, ends at the former Painted Desert Trading Post.

We stopped in Navajo; we didn’t really see a town. I guess there really isn’t one. There was a modern Texaco station and we bought gas. I hope it goes to some Navajos.

Train

Another train

We’re exiting at Chambers, exit 333, because of the Hubble Trading Post National Historic Site. There’s a great looking gas station. Oh, wow, that’s really pretty! I don’t know if we can get to it but it’s pretty. 36565 5:56pm

Another train after leaving Chambers

Exiting 341 Ortega Road to go to Indian Ruins. It has hundreds of billboards up and down the highway advertising it.

Indian Ruins is a modern Indian-named gas station.

Right outside the Indian Ruins on the on-ramp I took a picture of what was an old gas station.

36579 6:16 we’re in the Quarino Canyon

Another train

36593 6:33pm we’ve turned off on highway 12 North going to Window Rock. It’s 26 miles so we hope it’s worth the drive

Window Rock is a 26 mile detour off the interstate north.

We took a sunset going down over a hill when we were in the Navajo Nation as they prefer to call the Navajo Indian Reservation.

36618 7:02 we’re turning right on state road 264 toward Window Rock.

Navajo Nation Museum with some big rocks. I don’t know if these are the window rocks. 36620 7:07

7:15 36622 we’re leaving the Window Rock and Navajo Nation Tribal Headquarters

New Mexico 36625 7:21pm though it may be 8:21 here.

Another train

We haven’t seen a sign but we appear to be in Gallop 36646 7:43 or 8:43.

Another train

 

 

Sedona Arizona – Day 32

Sedona Arizona

Day 32 – May 2, 2003 – Friday

We were out the door bright and early today – 7:29 am to be precise.  We were anxious to get to beautiful Sedona Arizona.  We met the Ingrams from Canton, Georgia as we checked out; they were vacationing with a big group of Georgia folks.

 

I passed someone.  That’s pass #10.  Route 66 out of Williams isn’t a great road.

 

We’re trying to pass through as many Route 66 towns as possible – even if the Route is the Interstate at the time; we just exit and drive through the towns.  Parks, Arizona was our first such pass through for the day.  We saw only one business – Maurice’s.

 

Belmont provided a peek at the Camp Navajo Army Depot and a nice view of the snow-capped San Francisco Peaks.  We were in the Coconino National Forest during this part of the drive.

We reached Flagstaff at 8:17 am.  6,906 foot elevation.  I never realized this part of the country was at such a high altitude.  It makes for much cooler temperatures.  The top hasn’t been down on the car lately, and our tans are fading.  Flagstaff probably has some good sights to see, but we didn’t see much – just a few nice old buildings.  The folks in the Visitor’s Center were not very helpful – just didn’t seem interested in us at all.  The people working in Visitor’s Centers have usually been very helpful and informative.

 

Highway 89 is a two-lane road from Flagstaff to Sedona.  It is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable drives we have EVER taken.  It is FAR superior to go to Sedona Arizona from Flagstaff than up from Phoenix – much prettier and much better and varied scenery.

 

We stopped at an Oak Creek Canyon roadside park for a few photos.  It was very green there – much different from the terrain we have seen since the LA area.  Highway 89 is a very windy road, but there are guardrails.  Harry Turner told us where to turn off to get a good view of Oak Creek as it flowed along near the highway.  As we got closer to Sedona, we began to see big red buttes; Sedona is known for its red rocks.  The views at Slide Rock State Park and Midgeley Bridge were great.

 

The Sedona city limits sign appeared at 10:15.  Sedona Arizona is exceptionally beautiful as everyone knows who has ever been there.  Boz had visited previously on a trip with Miss Brittany, but this was my first visit, and it was a treat.  The setting is amazing with red rock buttes all around, and it is a clean, modern town.

 

A lot of folks come up to us at gas stations, and we met Kevin and Walt in Sedona.  We gassed up and headed south to Jerome since Jenny at the Route 66 gift shop in Williams recommended that we go there.  We wanted to get a look at Jerome and some lunch and then return to Sedona for sightseeing and a Jeep tour.

 

We drove through Harry Turner’s hometown, Cottonwood, and then Clarkdale before we saw Jerome perched on the side of a big mountain.  Jerome is an old copper mining town.  The old buildings have been maintained, and it has become an artist’s community.  We really enjoy seeing towns like Jerome as they are not overly commercialized as so many old places are.

 

After a very good lunch at the Jerome Grill (Micala was our server), we walked around town and enjoyed the old buildings.  We met Leszek Szewjkowski on the street with his camera.  Leszek is from Poland.  It was interesting to talk with him.  Poland has only been free for 14 years.  He says the Polish people are really hard workers, and he believes Poland will continue to improve and develop as a stronger and stronger country.  Leszek says Poland supports the USA, and he noted that Poland has had bad neighbors over the years — France and Germany.  Leszek was headed back to Poland the next day with an engagement ring that he bought in the US.  The young lady does not know it’s coming, but Leszek’s confidence was high that it would be well received.

 

When we spotted some beautiful Sedona Arizona area photographs, we stopped in the American Landscape Gallery and met the photographer, Tom Norvid.  We were really taken with his work – amazing colors.  Tom says he never uses filters and never adjusts the color on any of his work; he just takes advantage of days with great natural light.  Tom’s story is an inspiring one.  He was a pharmaceutical executive in Massachusetts for many years.  His was a very stressful job, and he gave it all up to move to the Jerome, Arizona area to pursue his love of photography.  Quite a leap of faith, but he is happy and very successful as a landscape photographer.  He left the stress back in Boston.

 

The sky was a bright blue when we entered Sedona Arizona at 10, but it was overcast as we drove back into town at 1:45.  No rain, but the overcast sky really detracted from such a beautiful place.

 

We knocked the dirt off the car at the Arizona Car Wash where we met Sharon as we waited for our cars.  We drove straight to the touristy area of Sedona Arizona, and we met Melissa at the office of the Pink Jeep Tours.  She recommended that we take the “Broken Arrow” tour.  We scheduled it at 5 pm, as the tours are better early in the morning or late in the afternoon due to the impact of the light on the terrain.

 

Scott, Amy, Beverly, and Clarence told us to be sure to drive up the Airport Road in Sedona, so we took their advice.  There is an overlook area there with a great view.  We took a few photos, and a group from Columbus, Ohio asked Barbara to take a photo of their group with their cameras.  There were nine of them, so it took a little while.  I came over and took a shot with my camera and told them we would put it on our website.  That led to an explanation of what we were doing on our trip, and they asked a lot of questions.  They then asked to take OUR picture, and they did.  I was able to get a shot of them photographing us.

 

Back to the touristy area we went.  We did a little shopping and grabbed what turned out to be dinner (ice cream) at the Black Cow Café – known for its homemade ice cream.  We bought a New Mexico Christmas ornament, as our goal is to pick up an ornament in each of the 50 states.  We are limiting ourselves to this one souvenir purchase in each state; our photographs are our souvenirs.

 

We arrived at the Pink Jeep Tours office early, and we had a very enjoyable conversation with Leetha.  We also met Denise and one of the guides, Mike.  Leetha informed us that we would have their absolute best guide, Mike Peach.  She described him as a Cowboy Poet.  Leetha also told us the story of how the Pink Jeep Tours were started.  The whole thing was started 45 years ago by a realtor named Don Pratt.  Mr. Pratt was selling real estate in the area, and he took prospective clients out to see property in a Jeep.  One day he realized he was doing more and more touring and less and less selling, so he decided to start Pink Jeep Tours to make money from the demand for tours of the areas where cars cannot go.  The rest is history.  Several people across multiple states recommended The Pink Jeep Tour when they learned we were going to Sedona.  (More information is available at www.pinkjeep.com.)

 

Mike Peach called our names at 5, and we buckled ourselves into our Jeep.  There were five of us – Deborah, Marion, Don, Boz, and me — and Mike Peach, driver, guide, humorist, and more.  It was an extremely informative two-hour tour, and Mike was very entertaining.  The scenery was great, though it would have been much, much better in bright sunlight.  The real highlight, however, was the four-wheeling.  Mike drove us up and down cliffs that I didn’t realize a Jeep could climb.  I still don’t believe we made it down one without tipping over.  Bozzie Jane and I had never done anything like this, so it was a special treat.

 

Earlier in the tour, I had asked Mike if he had one story about something special or unique that had happened during his 18 years as a Pink Jeep Tour guide, but he didn’t answer the question until the tour ended.  He then delivered one of the great poems he has written, and he told us two wonderful stories of special experiences.  It turns out Mike moonlights as an entertainer for various groups.  The day before, a group had the Governor of New Mexico speak to them in the morning, and Mike was the evening entertainment with his “Cowboy Poetry.”

 

Everyone with whom we came in contact at Pink Jeep Tours was as nice and helpful as could be.  When you go to Sedona, we encourage you to take a Pink Jeep Tour.  Drop in and see Melissa and Leetha, and be sure and ask for Mike Peach as your guide.  And, take the drive between Flagstaff and Sedona Arizona!

 

There are a lot of really nice, expensive resorts in Sedona.  We didn’t stay at one of them.  We stayed at the Sedona Real Inn – very nice, but not a big fancy resort.  Unfortunately, something was wrong with their phone system that kept us from accessing the Internet, so we were yet again unable to post to our Daily Journal.

 

The lesson for the day is that we don’t all see things the same way.  Many of the rock formations in the Sedona Arizona area have names; quite a few have more than one name, because one person sees one thing while another sees something different.  It really is amazing how different we all are.  What one person sees as beautiful, someone else sees as ugly.  What one person sees as serious, another sees as funny.  We’ve observed the differences in the way different people see things throughout the trip in a variety of ways.  Perhaps it’s because we have more time to focus on such things, but we’ve been more aware of different viewpoints on this trip.  It would be mighty dull if we all saw everything the same way.

 

 

May 2, 2003

7:29am 49 degrees 36187 as we leave the Fairfield Inn

We just met Carol and unknown Imgram possibly from Canton, GA. There are a bunch of people at the hotel from GA on a 16 day odyssey.

When you leave Williams, you need to be on I 40 and then you go a little ways and exit # 171 and then you’re back on 66.

It doesn’t tell you which way to turn, but we turned left and are on a little frontage road.

We just passed a car; that’s probably # 9.

36202 7:55 and we appear to be in the town of Parks

We took a picture of Maurice’s in the town of Parks

The road is not so nice along here, but not as bad as California.

Back on I 40 at the other end of Parks

Train

We’re at Bellmont 36211 8:04

We took a picture of the Canton Navajo Army Depot

Nothing to photograph in Bellmont

We did find something to photograph—the snow-capped San Francisco Peaks

We’re in the Coconino National Forest

We saw the same train twice so that means she gets a double scoop or the topping of her choice.

So you’re back on I 40 for a ways and then you exit at 191 on the outskirts of Flagstaff and that puts you back onto the “mother road,” the main street of America, the Will Rogers Highway, the Lincoln Highway, and various other names.

Arizona Divide, whatever that means. We’re way high in the air. 36217 8:12am

We exited at 36219 8:15. There isn’t any Route 66 sign since we left Williams. They did better over in the Seligman area.

Barbara said there was signage. I withdraw.

Flagstaff city limits 36220 8:17am elevation 6906 established in 1882

I took a big trash pile picture in Flagstaff. Lowell Observatory is here.

Train

36230 9:05 and we’re taking 17 just a little ways until we hit 89 to Sedona.

36239 9:25 we just finished getting some pictures

The pictures we just took were of Oak Creek Canyon.

Highway 89 is a real windy road but has guard rails. It’s nowhere near like the road to Oatman.

It’s a completely different terrain since we’ve headed south from Flagstaff. There are big tall trees as we drive along 89. There’s a creek running all along to the right side of the car. It’s very pretty and impossible to photograph.

Bozzie says there are huge imposing buttes the other side of the creek.

Harry told us to get off at the west fork of Oak Creek which was, if you saw Don Hole’s Cabins you’ve gone about a mile or two too far. We went back and it was $5 to park, and we were too cheap to park.

36251 9:55 we’re passing Slide Rock State Park; it’s very beautiful.

We took a number of pictures at Midgely Bridge

Entering Sedona city limits 36256 10:15am

Sedona Arizona is just exceptionally beautiful. It is new, modern looking, clean. It has beautiful scenery and has developed into a beautiful community with great resorts.

We met Kevin and Walt at the gas station.

The other side of Sedona on 89A is very attractive, but it’s nothing like the far side. Most people who probably come to Sedona Arizona from Phoenix never see the far side.

The south side of Sedona, the direction headed toward Phoenix, is also more desert-like while the others have more mountains and trees and water. They’re totally different.

We’re in Cottonwood, the world-famous home of Harry Turner, 36276 at 10:55.

36276 crossing the Verde River

Clarkdale 36281 11:05am; we see the J in the side of the mountain that stands for Ja-rome

Jarome 36285 11:10

The sign says Jarome, billion-dollar copper camp.

We wanted some fried or baked cactus appetizer, but we chickened out. They say it’s a lot like zucchini.

Tom Novard, the photographer, certainly has an interesting story. He was a pharmaceutical executive living in Maine or Massachusetts and gave it up to move to Jarome, AZ and do his photography. Apparently he’s doing well; it’s beautiful work. He says he doesn’t use any filters but he has these incredible vibrant colors which he says just comes from getting the light and the shadows right. It was very interesting to talk to the guy from Poland. He said that Poland has only been free for 14 or 15 years, and he thinks the Polish people will end up doing very well. They work really hard and he said they support America. He commented before I ever asked him anything about it that they haven’t been lucky with their neighbors, Germany and France. They haven’t been good to them over the years. He was here for a month and about to get married. He bought an engagement ring and the woman doesn’t know about it yet. He’s going to try and come back and spend 90 days in the US next year.

Jarome is a good-sized artist community. There’s a lot of galleries and art stuff.

Back in Clarkdale after we got some old service station pictures 36291 1:10pm

We just passed Nescow Goulch? 36293 1:13pm

Back in Cottonwood 36293 1:14pm

Verde River 36298 1:28pm after a stop at Walgreens for travel-sized hairspray for Mom and mouthwash and toothpaste for me.

Sedona Arizona 36311 1:42pm. So far the view coming in from this direction is nothing compared to the other.

Melissa sold us our jeep tour tickets. We will tour at 5-7 pm. We drove up Airport Road as people had told us to do at Grand Canyon. We met a group of people from Columbus, Ohio. We took their picture, they asked a bunch of question, and we talked to them for the longest time. We gave out a bunch of cards. We didn’t get their names but hopefully somebody will e-mail me. We’re off 36320 3:00pm

 

Interview:

“…that’s a sacred place and when animals do certain things there, you should pay attention because those are the spirits of the people. They can teach you things. One morning I’m up there and I just had one couple with me, and there’s a point where we step onto a big rock and then can’t go any further. We’re looking at the older part of the structure back there where they first started living. It’s a cliff dwelling and under a big overhang. It was the first thing in the morning and very very still as there was no one else around. As we’re looking up at it something caught my attention and I looked and there was a hawk feather just floating and bobbing in the air. It floated right out into the middle of the overhang, took a right hand turn into the structure. We’re standing there and by now our jaws are just agape because there’s been no sound or no real wind but this feather has just done this right angle turn and floated in there. They turned to me and they said ‘does that happen all the time?’ I had never seen anything like that before. And right then, a red-shafted flicker, which is a type of woodpecker around here, was flying across the mouth of the overhang in front of the dwelling. About the middle of the dwelling, it does an abrupt stop in mid-air and does a beeline right up to me and flies up in front of me. He puts his wings up and belly towards me and fans his tail out. They’re called red-shafted flicker because on the under side of the wing and tailfeathers, it’s a brilliant red orange color. He was doing a display of that. He did his display, hung in the air for a bit, and then tucked and went up onto a branch. This couple was just like ‘what’s going on?’ I told them to look for the female, and sure enough she twits and she’s in the tree. It was mating season and these birds become very aggressive in their displays when they’re trying to impress a female. This same species of bird damaged a shuttle nose cone at Canaveral years ago by punching so many holes into it you couldn’t use it anymore. Because it was a red color it sets them of. And what had set this guy off was that I was wearing, for the very first time, a new hatband that I had made from the skin of a black tail rattlesnake that somebody had run over on the road. What I think caught his attention, was the movement of that pattern that he’s used to seeing on the ground and wasn’t used to seeing it where it was. So he came over and did an aggressive display in front of it.”

Route 66 I Love You – Day 30

Day 30 – April 30, 2003 – Wednesday

Route 66 I Love You

We had a great time on Route 66 today!

 

When we left the Best Western Motel in Needles bright and early, it was blue sky and 66 degrees.  Gas was $2.50 – that’s a lot more than we pay in Atlanta, but a little less than in Quemado.

 

We took a few photos in Needles before we hit the highway.

 

The Mojave Desert is not as we had it pictured.  Rather than sand like the Sahara, the terrain isn’t that much different than the outskirts of Lubbock, Texas where we attended college.

 

While the border towns with Mexico have many Border Patrol stations, California has more fruit and vegetable stations.

 

We passed over the Colorado River into the state of Arizona.  Our attention was immediately drawn to mountains with jagged tops.  It was these peaks that gave Needles its name.

 

Our first stop was Lake Havasu City, Arizona.  We planned this detour off Route 66 so we could see London Bridge.  It’s hard to believe, but it’s there!  Developer, Robert P. McCulloch, paid $2.4 million to buy the bridge, and it then cost $4.5 million to move it and install it at Lake Havasu City.  The grand opening was October 10, 1971.  It is a wild and crazy idea that worked; Lake Havasu City has become a tourist destination as a result.

 

The lake is a pretty blue man-made lake, and the bridge is at the far end of town.  The bridge is very impressive, but it was surprising and disappointing to see many cheap-looking gift shops and the like right there at the bridge.

 

We spent a little time in the Lake Havasu Visitor Center with Kathie and Oran.  Oran said an article was in today’s paper indicating that Arizona is seeking money to fully restore Route 66 throughout the state.  Best of luck, Arizona!  Route 66 is such an important part of US history that we would sure like to see the federal government devote the money to restoring it from California to Illinois.

 

The drive off Route 66 (and the Interstate) down to Lake Havasu City and back is a pretty one with nice mountains along the way.

 

As we entered Yucca, Arizona (Exit 25 near the Alamo Road exit off I-40), we saw one of the more unusual sights that we’ve come across.  It was a giant ball mounted atop big poles; it appears to be someone’s home.  There are a series of smaller balls with smiley faces that border the property, a space ship, a carousel horse, and more.

 

I wanted to swing by the Ford Motor Company Arizona Proving Ground in Yucca.  I was hoping they might let us take a spin around their track.  When we pulled up out front, there were big locked gates, a red light, and signs advising that photography is not permitted.  So, we snapped a photo of the sign and rolled on.

 

As we left the Interstate to get back on Route 66 headed for Oatman, we saw one acre lots advertised for $3,995.  Something made us guess you can probably buy them for even less.  The area reminded Boz of the “Vacation” movie where Chevy Chase and his family go out to visit Randy Quaid’s family way out in the desert.  This is a remote area with a lot of places called “Wash,” which we believe is an area where water flows after the rare flood.  The Route 66 road was very nice – not the horrible road we were driving for the last 75 miles in California.

The drive from Yucca to Oatman was very interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Boz’s knuckles were white, and her palms were really sweaty; she didn’t enjoy riding on the cliff side of a treacherous road with no guard rails.  The terrain was very interesting – very diverse.  The road has been described as the most difficult and dangerous part of Route 66, and it was the most exciting drive I’ve ever had.  There is absolutely no way that our photos will provide even the slightest feel for what we saw and felt as there just wasn’t any way to photograph it.

Oatman promotes that it has wild burros that wander through town, so we appreciated the burro crossing sign we saw along the way.  It was sobering to see several wrecked cars on the sides of cliffs as well as a sign that warned bikers about the treacherous turns.

 

When we pulled over to take a few shots, John Winkle appeared out of nowhere.  He was out picking up trash on the road.  John is originally from Washington state, and he sells T-shirts in Oatman.  In my mind’s eye, I saw Oatman as an old, dusty mining town with no commercialization whatsoever, so this T-shirt business was surprising to me.  John said: “Oatman is an original old town — a town that everybody wants to rule, but no one can.”  Oatman has a woman who has self-appointed herself as mayor.  Same thing goes for someone who says he’s the sheriff.

 

We were a little disappointed when we reached Oatman and found it to be nothing more than a tourist attraction.  The old buildings are there, but every one of them is a tourist-oriented business of some type.  There were wild burros outside of town, but the burros in town all had names, and we saw pens where they live.  It was kind of like seeing the real police station in Carrabelle, Florida where they claim to have the world’s smallest police station – a phone booth out by the highway.  Oatman was essentially a smaller Tombstone in that the buildings were for the most part authentic old buildings, but every square inch was tourist-oriented.  The drive to and from Oatman and the fabulous scenery made Oatman a most enjoyable outing, however.

Olive Oatman Restaurant & Saloon (www.oatmangold.com/olive) was our choice for lunch.  We both tried something new and enjoyed Navajo Tacos.  Tom Woodard was the live entertainment in this small cafe.  Tom’s poster out front said “I am the Band.”  Tom had a guitar and a microphone with what looked like a DJ console.  When he sang his first song, we heard an orchestra!  It seems Tom was using karaoke CD’s as his accompaniment.  We believe he was doing the singing.  He tuned his guitar between songs, but we couldn’t really tell if he was actually playing.  The music was enjoyable; we just couldn’t quite figure out where it was all coming from.  No one was clapping, so we made sure to make a deposit in the tip jar and compliment him as we left.

 

Other than mining, Oatman’s claim to fame is that Clark Gable and Carole Lombard came there on their honeymoon.  We couldn’t see the room, but we took a photo of the stairs leading to the room in the Oatman Hotel.

 

It was 80 degrees in Oatman, but the temperature dropped as we continued to drive east.

We hit the 8,000 mile mark just outside Kingman, Arizona at 2:30 pm.  8,000 miles in 30 days.  We are still amazed that we have seen no rain – just a little drizzle (perhaps 10 minutes in total) on two different occasions in sunny Florida.

 

We stopped at Mr. D’z Diner in Kingman.  The milk shake wasn’t very good, but we met five folks from Germany – Bianca, Uvert, Brigitta, Braun, and Petra.  Bianca and Uvert invited us to their wedding in Las Vegas on Friday.  We would have really enjoyed a detour to attend a Vegas wedding, but we had just made the decision to extend this portion of the trip by two days, so we couldn’t add yet another.  We wished them the best.

 

The Powerhouse Visitor’s Center in Kingman was supposed to have a good Route 66 Museum, but all we saw were two small display cases with a few promotional items and a big gift shop.  Several towns down the road, we were advised that we didn’t see the museum.  Boz and I didn’t see any signs, and the men working in there never even spoke to us.  It might have been the beads.  We did enjoy a chance encounter with Jeff Mayer in the parking lot.  Jeff is one of the original Route 66 Roadologists and a founder of the Illinois Route 66 Association.  He and many others were converging on the area for an annual Route 66 Fun Run to Oatman.

 

Kingman is the hometown of the late character actor, Andy Devine.  We really enjoyed his roles when we were children.  There is an Andy Devine Museum, and Route 66 is named after him through Kingman.

 

It was great to see so many old motels still old and still in business in Kingman.  The Route 66 road is extremely nice so far in Arizona – a real relief after the terrible road in the Mojave Desert in California.

 

We did a real double-take as we reached the town of Hackberry and saw a gas station and general store that looked like it had been frozen since the 50’s.  The “Old Route 66 Visitor Center & General Store” provides a fantastic visual experience – best Route 66 displays so far without question.  We met owner John Pritchard; he bought it six years ago.  We bought a Route 66 CD, and it is a welcome addition to the drive.

 

We passed through Valentine, Arizona — an Indian town.

 

Pie was on the agenda for Truxton.  We scheduled a stop at the Frontier Motel and Restaurant, but it was locked up tight with a For Sale sign out front.  Call 520-718-1920 if you’d like to buy the place.

 

Arizona has a lot of Indian reservations, and we passed through the Hualapai Indian Reservation.  In Peach Springs, we stopped to take photos of a great old service station building.

Just outside of Peach Springs is the entrance to Grand Canyon Caverns.  As I noted from Carlsbad Caverns, both Boz and I are claustrophobic, so caverns we do not tour.

 

Seligman was next, and we really liked it there.  Seligman has a very active Route 66 Historical Association, and I was fortunate to meet and interview the man responsible, Angel Delgadillo.  Angel is really well known throughout the Route 66 community.  While at Angel’s gift shop, I also met his wife Vilma and two visitors, Lorrie Fleming and Bob Walker from Canada.  Lorrie is the founder of the Canadian Route 66 Association.

 

Angel was born on Route 66 – 76 years ago.  His father had a pool hall / barber shop.  Angel still has the barber chair his father bought for $140 shortly before Angel was born on April 10, 1926.  His father went broke when the route of Route 66 was moved.  Angel went to barber college and began cutting hair on May 22, 1950.  He moved into his current location on Route 66 in 1972.  I wish we had reached Seligman earlier in the day, as I would have loved to get a Route 66 haircut from Angel.

 

Angel’s brother runs the Snow Cap Drive-In – a wacky drive-in restaurant with all kinds of Route 66 décor and other wild and crazy stuff.

 

On September 22, 1978, Interstate 40 came near Seligman, and most of the Route 66 traffic moved to the Interstate.  Angel’s father had gone bust because of a highway change, and Angel was determined that he would not let it happen to him.  So, he called a group of people together to form the Arizona Route 66 Association.  As a result, Route 66 is alive in Arizona, and many businesses continue to prosper in spite of the Interstate.

 

The Candlewood Hotel in Anaheim let us down a few days ago when we drove out of our way to stay there to do the wash and then was out of detergent.  So, we either found a Laundromat tonight, or we’d be wearing dirty clothes tomorrow.  When we spotted one in Seligman, we shifted into wash and dry mode.  We met Nancy at the Laundromat behind the Seligman Grocery.  We also met Zachary and his dog Hilo; they live right next to the Laundromat.

When we saw a sign that indicated the altitude was 5,700 feet, we were surprised.  We didn’t realize this part of Arizona is so high, but I guess that’s why they call it the “High Desert.”   When we reached Williams at 8 pm and noted the temperature was a chilly 46 degrees, we could feel the altitude at work.  Amber got us all checked into the Fairfield Inn.  We decided we wanted to have a full day for the Grand Canyon, so we extended our stay by a night.  We’re splitting another long day next week, so that will be a total of four days added to the schedule so far.

 

The lesson for the day is the impact a committed person can have.  Robert McCulloch was committed to put Lake Havasu City on the map, and he succeeded big-time by buying and moving the London Bridge.  And Angel Delgadillo kept Seligman and a number of other towns in Arizona from falling off the map with his commitment to survive and help other businesses survive when the Interstate came and took the cars away.  We can all make a difference if we make a commitment to something and then work hard to make it happen.

 

 

35888 a little before 9:00. We stopped for gas about 8:45 and we’re now leaving Needles. It’s 66 degrees. We took a picture of the Needles, CA wagon. There’s a layer of white clouds in the sky. We took a picture of the 66 Motel.

Gas in Needles was $2.50 a gallon so that’s close to what it was in Quemado. Needles is one of the only stops for a lot miles along the highway. Certainly, the last stop for about 50 or 60 miles headed west.

I guess this area is the Mohave Desert. I always the pictured the Mohave Desert like the desert you see in movies in other countries where it’s just sand. But the desert here just looks like the landscape in Lubbock, TX where I went to high school and college and where Bozzie Jane went to college. It’s just ugly dirt, a little rock on top, and a little scrubby bushes every few feet.

While the border of the country of Mexico has border patrol everywhere, California has fruit and vegetable inspection stations where they try to keep stuff from messing up their fruits and vegetables.

We just passed over the Colorado River and into Arizona.

35903 9:25 as we enter Arizona.

I’m seeing some very interesting mountains off to our right which would be the south. There are real jagged tops with dark color.

The sharp rocked spires of the mountain off to the south are the needles that the town was named after.

We’re taking exit 9 off of 40 going south on 95 to Lake Ava Sioux City and the London Bridge. 35912 9:36am

There are a lot of very interesting rock formations on the drive from Tuppock to Lake Ava Sioux City.

City limits of Lake Ava Sioux City, AZ 35923 9:48

They’ve conveniently located the bridge to where you have to drive all the way through Lake Ava Sioux City in order to get there. The water is a pretty blue and it’s a man made lake.

We met Kathie and Oron at the visitor’s center at Lake Ava Sioux City and the London Bridge. 10:32am 35932 It’s a very impressive deal. It’s the real stuff. A lot of tacky little shops near it. The temperature is up to 91 according to the car. The temp is down to 76, I guess the car just heats up in the sun.

We took a picture of some of the Rocky Mountain areas outside of Lake Ava Sioux including the one we call Neanderthal Foot Mt.

Another train

Oron said there was a story in today’s city newspaper that Arizona is seeking funding to restore all of Route 66 in the state.

35964 11:07am I see a sign that says 200 miles to Grand Canyon National Park. It would be much more helpful if we had mileages from one place to another. We found in many cases that the mileages we’ve gotten off maps just isn’t that accurate. When we publish our information, we will have what the mileages were for us.

35967 11:11 and on the horizon was a giant ball. It’s kind of golf ball dimpled all on the outside, then there’s a series of balls with smiley faces on them. Along the road, there’s a spaceship up at one end, a carport with some old cars and it looks like somebody lives in the ball. It’s really bizarre. It’s at the Alamo Road exit—exit 25. There’s a rocking carousel horse on a pole out in the field. It’s got tables and chairs on a little walkway kind of as a patio.

Yucka 35969 11:13 we see a sign for Ford Motor Company and Proving Ground Rd.

We’re at the Proving Ground and there’s a sign that says cameras are prohibited. There are big gates with a lock and a light. It says all visitors must register at security building 1 mile ahead but I don’t know how you would get in.

That unbelievably funky house would just be on the outskirts of Yucka.

The Ford Motor Proving Ground would be just right outside Yucka as well.

There are interesting attractive mountains along this area that are set well back from the road. It’s 35988 11:35am and we’re getting off of I 40 at exit 44 for Oatman which regains Route 66. Bozzie’s so excited, we’re going to have to take a break for her to control herself.

22 miles over to Oatman on Route 66

It’s pretty barren between the highway and Oatman but we saw some estate. There are houses out there. We started wondering what acreage costs and saw a sign saying for $3995 you can get an entire acre.

(Barbara) Driving up to Oatman, reminds me of Chevy Chase’s vacation where they go to Las Vegas and take a detour to see his cousin Randy Quaid—the family where they have money buried in the yard and have rattlesnakes to play with. This looks just like that.

We’ve gone across a number of washes today. We took a picture of a historic Route 66 sign outside of Oatman right near a trailer in the middle of the field.

We took a picture of the Cool Springs Building on the side of a cliff. The road has been really nice up to this point. It’s little bumpier here, but they’ve got it patched with tar. It’s 9 miles of steep grades and sharp turns and no guard rails.

It’s very unusual terrain here. It’s really interesting. There’s a lot of variety.

We’re 8 miles to Oatman. Bozzie doesn’t like it here, because it’s scary—the no guard rails part.

I took several pictures of an area called Ed’s Camp 8 miles out of Oatman.

I’d say we’re in the town of Ed’s Camp.

We pulled over for a picture and there are a couple of folks out. One guy is standing on a rock taking some pictures, and some ladies standing on the side of the road. Very unfriendly.

We took two great pictures at Sitgreaves Pass: elevation 3550.

We met John Winkle, he’s a local who moved here from Washington, just outside the Gold Road Mine. John says that Oatman is a special place; it’s an original old town. He said it’s a town that everybody wants to rule but nobody can. There’s a lady who self-appointed herself as mayor, somebody who self-appointed themselves as sheriff, but there is not sheriff and there is no mayor.

Oatman 36012 12:43pm It’s about 70 degrees.

Oatman is one big gigantic tourist attraction. I don’t know how all these tourist got here, but it’s swarming with them. It is completely and totally commercialized.

We’re having lunch at the Olive Oatman Restaurant and Saloon where you have a choice of Navajo Tacos, Burro Breath Burgers, and assorted other things that generally had normal sounding names.

The Story of Olive Oatman, who this place is named after, is at www.oatmangold.com/olive.

We’re listening to Tom Woodard. His poster says I am the band; Oatman, AZ. The music, including the guitar playing, all comes from recorded music. It’s not clear whether he actually sings or not.

Barbara noted he does tune his guitar between each song. Now with this song, it almost looks like he’s playing a little bit but we’re not sure.

The birds are cute and they really are just walking around. It doesn’t seem quite as objectionable as Tombstone but it is just as commercialized if not more.

Lunch was $15.87 plus $2.13 tip and $1 for the guitarist.

We both had Navajo Tacos which were really good. They consisted of Navajo fry bread which is a big old piece of bread covered with chili beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese. It was very tasty.

We’re taking pictures of red, white, and blue chairs in front of Wood Billy’s Heartful Gadgets and Doohickeys.

36012 1:46pm and 80 degrees as we leave downtown Oatman.

Bozzie got a show of some of wild burros as we headed out of town. We have to remember to take the picture of the burro crossing sign in about 8 miles. We don’t see one in this direction.

Oatman was very interesting. Boz said that in the old days, you wouldn’t come here unless you were coming. In the current days, you wouldn’t come here unless you were coming. This is Route 66, though, which goes right through it.

There is absolutely no way you could describe the drive on Route 66 to anybody and have them believe you. There’s no way the pictures will do it justice because you can’t capture these hairpin turns and sharp cliffs and dropoffs along with the variety of the scenery.

Bozzie feels a little better going back because we’re on the inside of the mountain. It feels safer.

We are at the exit off of I 40 returning from Oatman at 2:32 pm 72 degrees and we’ve just hit exactly the 8000 mile mark since the odyssey began. We’re having fun; today’s a great day. And my wife is the most beautiful alive.

We’re in Kingman 36041 2:38; it’s a railroad center.

We met 5 people from Germany on the way to the wedding of two of them in Las Vegas.

We stopped at Mr. Dee’s for a milkshake, nothing special. At least it was clean.

We went to the Power House Visitor’s Center which supposedly has a Route 66 Museum which appeared to consist of two glass cases with a couple of promotional items in it. It would’ve been considered a bust, but as we left we met Jeff Meyer, the original Route 66 roadologist. He’s been doing it since 1984. We got his card, had a nice chat, and we’ll sure call on him to be a resource for the book after we finish.

Kingman is the hometown of Andy Divine. There’s supposedly an Andy Divine Museum here; we won’t be seeing it but he seemed like a really nice man.

Route 66, through this area, is called Andy Divine Avenue.

There’s a lot of old motels in Kingman still with the old signs and still in business.

I had a butter finger milkshake at Mr. Dee’s but it wasn’t any good.

Another train

Yet another train and more ice cream for Boz. We’re going to have to buy the Bluebell Factory.

On the east side of Kingman, Route 66 is a very nice 4 lane divided highway.

Another train.

Another train.

We’re in Viya Vista 36060 3:38pm

While the old Porsche’s been a few places the Porsche shouldn’t go, this trip wouldn’t nearly have been as much fun if it wasn’t in a convertible. That’s a quote from Bozzie Jane Gray Windsor.

We were at the Hackberry General Store with an amazing setup of antiques and Route 66 stuff. We met the owner who bought it 6 years ago.

We’ve got our Route 66 CD; we’d have probably enjoyed day 1 if we’d had this.

Valentine 36075 4:10pm 68 degrees

We took a picture of a bus shelter in Valentine.

Another train

Treckston 36086 4:22pm and the Frontier Motel’s coming up.

The Frontier Motel and Restaurant in Treckston is closed but it’s for sale.

We just entered the Hualapai 36087 4:26pm

Another train

Beach Springs 36094 4:32pm

We took a picture of a great looking service station in the middle of Peach Springs 36107 4:49pm 61 degrees. We’re at the entrance to Grand Canyon Caverns but due to the 400 foot elevator descent into the center of the earth we chose not to take our closterphobic bodies there. We’ve never seen a place where you could drive down into the canyon.

Another train

We’re in Seligman 36192 5:11pm

We took pictures of the Roadkill Café and the “historic Route 66” motel

Another train

 

Interview:

“So, you’re the town barber and you’ve cut hair since…?”

 

“…May 22, 1950 on Old Railroad Avenue. I opened up my Dazzle Barber Shop, he went broke during the depression, he was a sales cut barber. Back in them days you didn’t have to go to barber college. The chair that I’m using, he bought April 10, 1926 for $194. The invoice is right here. I will not tell you anything I cannot substantiate.”

 

“$194. That was a lot of money in 1926.”

 

“It was a lot of money. He went broke during the Depression, he closed the doors to his old pool hall barber shop building that he built in 1923. He went broke because the highway was moved from in front of his place to the present location in 1933. He locked it up, I graduated from the American Pacific Barber College in Pasadena, CA…, and I came back and opened his old business on May 22, 1950. I moved into this building in 1972. I saw the Grapes of Wrath, I saw the Dustbowl days. I was standing right here when we were bypassed by I 40, September 22, 1978. This town suffered about 70% of the economy. This town was dead for 10 years. At Chamber of Commerce meetings, I talked how I felt we could get the economy back but no one listened to me. To make a long story short, I finally called a meeting with my own nickel and called about 34 people to come to Saligman. 15 people showed up to the meeting at 1:00 at the Copper Cart February 18, 1987. About half a dozen of the 15 there we jailed and we formed the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona. So Saligman is known for being the birthplace of the rebirth of the resurrection of Route 66. We know it goes from Chicago to California. The United States decertified it in 1985. They had a big celebration in Williams because it was the last town to get bypassed by I 40. I didn’t go to it because I was very angry and upset and hurting. But…Bobby Troop was there, the man who wrote ‘Get Your Kicks on Route 66’ song. February 18, 1987 was the day that Route 66 got its rebirth right here.”

 

“And there’s still a lot of people like us who are interested in it, so there are still a good number of people who come through just because it’s Route 66?”

 

“I have been interviewed over 250 times by the news media—national and international. I’ve been interviewed by the Germans ZDF, the beautiful Zabina Zower, Deter Simmer, ZDF, Vox, Vila, VDF, CDF,RTL… They come from all over the United States and all over the world. They’re looking for America of yesterday.”

“I’m sure you’ve had a million interesting things that have happened just about Route 66, but if you could pick one story to tell that means a lot to you or is unique or different or exciting, what would you tell?”

 

“Did you see when we get together like right now? It happens daily by the tens, twenties, thirties. I relive it constantly. This is what I love—people that are smiling from ear to ear because of a dream that I had back 20 some years ago. This is what’s so important to me. How old do you think I am?”

 

“Well you told me you are 76 but you don’t look a day over 50.”

 

“These people keep me so young. I’m so happy.”

 

TO another person:

“Can I get your name?”

 

“Yes, my name’s Lori Fleming”

“Bob Walker”

 

…started the Route 66 Association in Canada 7 years ago inspired by Angel.

 

Well we got our clothes washed right behind Seligman Grocery at the Laundry Mat 36134 6:52 62 degrees. We’re leaving Seligman, one of our favorite towns where I met Angel.

Everybody we met in Seligman was very nice. We met Amanda at the Seligman Arizona Chevron aka All American Food: Americas Mainstreet 66 Giftshop.

Yet another train

Another train, another ice cream

You’d think we were in the desert but we’re at 5700 feet just a little ways outside of Seligman 36150 7:31 51 degrees.

Ashfork 36164 7:45pm and we’re over a mile high which is unbelievable. You just have no sense that you’re a mile high because everything must be a mile high.

We took a picture of the Oasis Lounge in Ashfork.

Williams 36181 8:02pm and 46 degrees

We met Amber at the Fairfield Inn. She said that breakfast would be served at 12.