Plans and schedules seldom work when it comes to Route 66 adventures. Our recent trip to the Miles of Possibilities events in Illinois was no exception.
The initial idea was to hopscotch along Route 66 and catch what we missed on the return trip. The carefully scripted itinerary worked quite well until the second day.
The first delay resulted from light traffic on Central Avenue in Albuquerque as well as picture perfect clouds and lighting for photography. The second delay was a need for breakfast and the discovery of Kaps near the historic Tewa Lodge.
The absolutely gorgeous weather, the blue skies sprinkled with clouds, and delightfully warm temperature that begged for a picnic as well as numerous stops to distribute promotional materials and take photographs magnified the delays. So, by 1:00 or so we had made it only as far as Santa Rosa and the beautiful Blue Hole, site of our picnic.
My dearest friend with our trusty picnic basket at the Blue Hole.
This pattern of frequent stops continued and soon I noticed that the sun was nearing the western horizon. As a result, there was a need to hit I-40 shortly west of Tucumcari as our destination for the evening was Shamrock, Texas.
After checking into the Western Hotel (highly recommended) we spent some time photographing the classic glow of the U Drop Inn and the adjoining Tesla station, and then enjoyed a refreshing bottle of Lone Star and another excellent dinner at Big Vern’s Steakhouse. Thanks to Larry Clonts and his team, Shamrock is about to become a major destination for Route 66 enthusiasts.
We kicked off day three of the adventure with a bit of sunrise photography, and a visit with Larry Clonts, who was getting ready to head for Edwardsville, and Brenda Dyson. Then it was off to Texola and Waterhole Number 2 for breakfast, at least that was the plan.
We did get to visit with intrepid Masel but breakfast had to wait until we got to Sayre. That is where we discovered the Grill (after negotiating our way through a few construction forced detours), a gem of a restaurant that will soon be added to our page for recommended restaurants and motels.
In between Texola and Sayre were numerous stops for photography, and a missed visit with Harley in Erick. By this time the schedule was but a distant memory. After all of these years, it seems as though I would learn that on Route 66, schedules have no place.
In Elk City we paid Maxine at the National Route 66 Museum a visit, distributed some promotional materials, signed books, and played tourist. We followed this with more photography, more exploration, and a stop at the Route 66 Museum in Clinton and a visit with Pat Smith.
The National Route 66 Museum
Once again time seemed to slip away as it has a tendency to do on Route 66 and by late afternoon we were still west of Oklahoma City. As our destination was the Campbell Hotel in Tulsa where we had a dinner appointment with Rhys Martin of Cloudless Lens Photography, and his charming wife Samantha, it was once again time to hit the interstate.
Unfortunately Laurel Kane of Afton Station was unable to join us for dinner. That as well as a very noisy and rude hotel guest were the only blemish on an otherwise perfect evening in Tulsa.
The following morning was chilly and foggy with a drizzling rain. Still, we sought the Blue Dome District and continued with our photographic safari along Route 66.
The pattern of frequent stops and visits continued. Likewise with missing Laurel Kane, this time during a stop at Afton Station.
The plan called for saving Kansas for the return trip, and focusing on bits of Missouri. The days destination was the Wagon Wheel Motel and Cuba, with dinner at Missouri Hick and a bottle of pink dogwood wine from Belmont Winery, another place that should be added to your travel plans.
Maxine at the National Route 66 Museum
The sun was quickly sinking in the west as we arrived at the beautiful Devils Elbow Bridge where we had a most interesting encounter. Two couples, one traveling from Virginia to California via Route 66 from Chicago in a restored VW bus, and one headed home to Chicago after a trip to California were also photographing the bridge.
As this was Route 66, the tenor of their conversation and the laughter gave the impression that they were life long friends even though they had just met. After introductions I was included in the conversation that centered on difficulties associated with locating Route 66 in some locations.
I noted that we never travel the double six without Jerry McClanahan’s EZ 66 Guide. One couple noted that they had an excellent guide book that they were really enjoying but it lacked maps.
I retrieved my copy of the EZ Guide to show them, and they showed me the book they were using. It was my book Travel Route 66! Well that started an entirely new conversation that included the sharing of promotional materials from the Kingman area, and the provision of a list of recommended stops.
Once again, we arrived at our destination just as the sun was sinking into the west. That provided an excellent opportunity for even more photography. The gallery at Legends of America will be getting some new additions soon.