With less than two weeks to go before the next big road trip, an adventure to Amarillo for the 2011 International Route 66 Festival, the anticipation is building in direct correlation to the frustration that comes from having so much to do before we leave. There is the Jeep to service and camera equipment to prepare, the house to stock with supplies for my son and his family, and a million plus details to resolve at the office.
The very essence of a Route 66 based adventure is to allow the road to dictate where the day begins and ends as well as what fills it. You can’t do that when tied to reservations and a schedule.
Unfortunately most of us have schedules and as a result the best we can hope for in our travels is to have a day or two where the freedom of the road restores the soul. From that perspective, as excited as we are about the festival, and the opportunities to reacquaint ourselves with old friends and to make new ones, it is the two days at the beginning and at the end of the adventure that our spirit craves.
To the best of our abilities we will use the first two days of the trip to purge ourselves of the generic so we will be in the right frame of mind for enjoying the grand celebration in Amarillo. To ensure this we will have our EZ 66 Guide by Jerry McClanahan, the best guide book to this amazing highway that I am aware of, and the latest edition of the Route 66 Dining & Lodging Guide.
These excellent guides, as well related books and travel kits, are available through the National Route 66 Federation. As a bonus, when you buy books direct from them there is the satisfaction of having supported a very good cause.
The primary excuse (as if we needed one) for attending the festival this year is it will be the kick off for the promotional tour of the newest book, Ghost Towns of Route 66http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760338434&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr. The secondary one would be the need for illustrations to accompany the current project, a Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas.
So, if all goes according to plan, we should be heading east as the sun rises over Route 66 a couple of days before the festival. As photo opportunities will dictate the stops for the day, we will most likely make few stops until we reach the east side of Flagstaff.
We really want to photograph the old bridges between Winona and Flagstaff, at Padre Canyon, and at Two Guns. Our list of places to photograph in Winslow and Holbrook is quite lengthy as is the one for Grants and Gallup.
As we hope to photograph some neon in Albuquerque, that will most likely be the end of the road for the day. Now, as to where we will lay our head for the night, that is the type of mystery that is the ambrosia of an adventure on legendary Route 66.
Day two will will take us to the ancient capital of Santa Fe and along the pre 1937 alignment of Route 66, arguably the most historic segment of the highway as it follows the El Camino Real and the storied Santa Fe Trail. The towns found along Route 66 between Albuquerque and Santa Rosa on this loop often appear as old as the land itself.
The Santa Domingo Pueblo predates the arrival of the Spanish conquistador by at least several decades as do the ruins at Pecos. Glorietta Pass, and the remnants of the adobe barn at the old Pigeon Ranch played a prominent role in a major battle of the American Civil War. It was in the town square of Tecolate where General Kearney announced that New Mexico was now part of the United States during the Mexican/American War in 1846.
We will fudge a bit in regards to the Route 66 adventure by venturing into Las Vegas, a favorite stop of mine. I always add this beautiful old town to my list of must see Route 66 detours as it less than thirty miles from the Mother Road.
|The ruins of Endee, New Mexico.|
If there is a downside to the resurgent interest in Route 66 it is the fact that some of the refurbished historic places are becoming quite popular and as a result, reservations may be a good idea. With that said we will journey from Las Vegas to Tucumcari on scenic highway 104, past Conchas Lake, and end the day at Motel Safari.
|The world famous Mid Point Cafe in Adrian, Texas.|
The remainder of the journey to Albuquerque will include stops at some of our very favorite places; Endee, Glenrio, and, of course, the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas. To drive through Texas chasing the wonders of Route 66, and not stop here for pie and coffee is akin to going to Las Vegas and never eating at a buffet or pulling the handle on a one armed bandit.
Indications are that the festival in Amarillo this year will be the largest celebration of legendary Route 66 in decades. In addition to an all star cast that includes Michael Wallis, fans of the legendary double six from throughout the world will be in attendance.
Now, the return trip hangs as a very large question mark. All I know for certain is that we must head west, and that I need to be at work by Wednesday.