Six days, 2,796 miles, gale force winds, rain, ghost towns, traffic congestion, miles of old memories, lost highways, good food, new friends, lots of memories, and lots of laughter. So ends another adventure on Route 66.
At its core the trip was business – additional photos for the forthcoming Ghost Towns of Route 66 to supplement the stunning collection already submitted by Kerrick James and to gather information for the next book. There was also a multifaceted personal aspect to this particular road trip.
In recent conversations with my elderly dad it has become apparent that his trip to Arizona this past spring was most likely his last grand adventure. As some of my favorite memories of dad revolve around life on the road, and Route 66 in particular, it seemed important to visit old haunts.
My wife has traveled extensively in the 26 years since she agreed to be wife. Still, we have never shared a road trip east of Albuquerque. So, this seemed an ideal time for rectifying that oversight.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0970995164&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrIt was a grand adventure, an epic road trip reminiscent of those taken as a kid. Where practical or feasible we shunned the modern generic era. With the exception of day one and the destination, no motel reservations were made. We even traveled with the old wicker picnic basket and kept it and the cooler stocked with produce from roadside stands or mom and pop grocers.
There were a few distinct differences between our Route 66 adventure across the colorful deserts of northern Arizona and New Mexico, the plains, and into the foothills of the Ozarks, and the ones taken as a kid. The highway is now littered with ghosts, we had air conditioning, we didn’t break down tires to repair tubes under the shade of a roadside tree, and we didn’t have to wait for the motor to cool after pulling a long grade behind a lumbering farm truck.
Another difference was that with the Jeep, a vintage atlas, and Jerry McClanan’s EZ 66 Guide, the hands down best guide book available, we were able to truly seek the road less traveled, even on days when the wind was howling at more than forty miles per hour. So, we visited places such as the hauntingly beautiful ruins of the Painted Desert Trading Post perched precariously on the ridge above the Dead River and the ruins of Jericho that appear as a desolate island in a sea of grass on the vast plains of the Texas Panhandle.
Our adventure also included stops to wonderful places that represent the new face of Route 66 such as Afton Station in Afton, Oklahoma, with its wonderful collection of vintage Packard built automobiles and Pops in Arcadia. These breaks from the road gave us the opportunity to meet the people, such as Laurel Kane, that ensure the mystique and excitement of legendary Route 66 will survive for future generations.
If there were one lesson learned from our adventure it is this. Route 66 may be broken and segmented. It may be resigned and its roadside littered with ghostly remnants from better times. Still, it is the most amazing highway in America.
This morning we left Albuquerque at 6:00, stopped to explore Two Guns and again for dinner at the Pine Country Restaurant in Williams, and arrived in Kingman late in the afternoon. To say the very least, we are tired.
So, details about our grand adventure, including hotel and restaurant information (good and bad) will have to wait for the Sunday afternoon post.