I have always been fascinated with the independent thinkers, those creative individuals that ever so carefully walk the fine line between eccentricity and visionary genius. That is one reason I derive such enjoyment from the writing of a monthly column aptly titled The Independent Thinker for Cars & Parts magazine.
Perhaps that is at the heart of why I find Route 66 in all its manifestations so fascinating. From its inception the highway was a bland, cold entity, a tool sort of like a hammer or saw. It was and is the people that make it unique, that give it character and depth.
I am intrigued by the type of thinking that would lead an individual to build a complex of concrete teepees in the heart of Indian country and misname it the Wigwam Motel. I marvel at the people who will traverse miles of forbidding desert on a rutted trail of broken asphalt just to experience a decrepit bridge and a crumbling adobe structure with a faded sign proclaiming curios for sale on the side.
In part, some of this fascination is in the sense of comfort that comes from knowing I am not the only one crazy enough to trek across the desert on broken asphalt to see an old bridge or to stand in the shade of the crumbling Painted Desert Trading Post and call it a vacation. It is refreshing to know that I am not the only one that entertains thoughts of building a huge golf ball in the desert or filling my office with dented, rusty hubcaps!
On our last odyssey along the old double six there was ample time to meditate on these thoughts as we strolled the quiet streets of Texola and watched the wind make dry leaves dance among the ruins in Endee. It was this meditation that solidified a thought that has long been percolating in my mind – in a nut shell this is why I enjoy Route 66.
There is something almost magical about this old highway. It has the ability to unleash the inner child in the most mature adult and stir the spirit of eccentricity in the most rational.
I am who I am, an eccentric dreamer with the soul of poet, because of a near life long immersion in the fairy dust that clings to the old asphalt and that swirls around the tires. I hold a job and am a productive member of society but my heart is out there on the cracked asphalt, that wonderland where the pie is fresh and warm, the conversation even warmer, and the faded neon on the horizon is as a light house beacon under a starless night on a stormy sea.
Would anyone else like to confess that they too are addicted to the magic that is only found on a highway signed with two sixes?