August 14, 2019

Texas Panhandle – Day 12

Texas Panhandle was someplace I always wanted to visit. It’s just a small portion of Route 66, but like Texas, everything is BIG. Top of my list is Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo, Texas.

Charly?” I asked, “Why are you wearing the same dress as yesterday?”

I’m thinking it is a cardinal sin for a woman to wear the same dress 2 days in a row.

“I didn’t wear it very long, and I am running low on clean everyday clothes,” she informs me.

“Everyday clothes? What are ALL those suitcases in the back of the car?” I ask trying to clarify my confusion.

“Oh, that’s wardrobe for photo shoots,” she tells me.

“So, your wardrobe, as you put it, isn’t everyday clothes?” I ask trying to understand.

“No,” she said in a tone as if I were completely out-of-touch.

Leaving Oklahoma and Entering the Texas Panhandle

It wasn’t long before we came across Slug Bug Ranch. This was unexpected for me. I knew about Cadillac Ranch, but Slug Bug Ranch?

A few VW Beetles half buried with graffiti beconned us to stop. An old abandoned structure nearby was home to vandalism and who-knows-what-else. At first I felt a little uncomfortable, but soon other tourists arrived creating more of a safe atmosphere.

“Charly,” I began, “why don’t you put on some of that wardrobe, as you call it, and we’ll take some fun shots amidst this trash.”

Had I been asked to do that I would have said, “No way.” I normally don’t ask someone to do something I wouldn’t do myself, but I’m a 60-something man with a potbelly and I’d be afraid I’d trip on some of this garbage.

Before long Charly came back from the car with a slinky outfit.

“Seriously? You’re going to walk through here barefoot in that?” I said with my eyes bulging out of my skull.

“Yeah, why not?” Charly retorted, and added, “I’ll watch for broken glass.”

It wasn’t the broken glass I was worried about. It was EVERYTHING ELSE.

Charly's First Outfit - Texas Panhandle
Charly’s First Outfit

After snapping the first frame, I realized this portion isn’t as dirty as I initially thought. Charly’s elegance amidst the graffiti created a dichotomy in the image, and once seeing that, I was ready to shoot more.

“What else do you have that isn’t everyday clothes?” I asked hoping for a wardrobe change.

Charly soon returned wearing a poet’s shirt… okay, she called it a “dress”, but I’ve seen shirts that cover more of the legs.

Charly's Poet Shirt - Texas Panhandle
Charly’s Poet Shirt

Having Fun at Slug Bug Ranch

We were having fun at slug bug ranch in the Texas Panhandle. I would get the shot I like and then Charly would be off changing in to another outfit. I often dreamed of being a famous fashion photographer taking photos of models in unsuspecting places. Couple this with driving Route 66 and I felt like I was on top of the world.

Slug Bug Ranch is a takeoff from Cadillac Ranch. One being east of Amarillo, the other being west of the city. Graffiti is encouraged at both locations. (Vandalism, however is NOT.) If you do visit, bring a couple of cans of spray paint to leave your mark. However, be warned, your mark will only last until someone paints over it with their mark.

So, bring a camera to photograph your artwork.

Charly Dancing - Texas Panhandle
Charly Dancing

I just kept the camera in one place for a while, and Charly would perform as if it were her stage. Other tourist looked on, taking pictures with their phones and selfies with Charly and me in the background.

Charly Getting Silly - Texas Panhandle
Charly Getting Silly

Soon Charly started getting silly, and I figured that was the sign that she’s getting bored. For the life of me, I fail to understand older men who fall for younger women. They are children, for Pete’s sake… in spite of being the age of majority. In any event, her silliness was enough to make me want a change too.

“Hey, Charly,” I yelled to her and pointed to another location, “let’s move over there.”

That's Just Plain Silly - Texas Panhandle
That’s Just Plain Silly

Charly held her pose and stuck out her tongue to which I said, “Now, that’s just plain silly.”

She giggled and informed me her lip gloss was strawberry flavored.

Let the Fun Begin

Charly returned as I was setting up for the next spot. This time, she looked like some sort of SciFi vigilante.

“Now, that is a cool outfit,” I remarked, “I’d call that everyday clothes.”

We both laughed and Charly entered this trashed room.

“Show me what you’ve got,” I said unsure of how to suggest she pose.

Before I knew it her foot was in the air and leg stretched out in a manner that would leave me crippled for life.

“Do that again,” I said because I wasn’t ready for the shot.

Action Hero Charly - Texas Panhandle
Action Hero Charly

Seeing the room already in disarray, I suggested she act like she just kicked over a three tiered table.

Take THAT! - Texas Panhandle
Take THAT!

“Take THAT,” she yelled as she went in to a fighting pose.

That Was Fun

That was a fun start to our Texas Panhandle portion of Route 66. We’re ready to move on. We’ll still be in the Texas Panhandle, just not at Slug Bug Ranch. We’re finished here.

Slug Bug Ranch – Texas Panhandle

Note

It is important to note to the readers that we did NOT enter these locations except where it was obvious the property owners allow access. Thus, no fences were climbed, we did not go around any barricades, and we obeyed all visible no trespassing signs. These images with Charly are COMPUTER ART using photos taken from legal vantage points as the background.

We do NOT condone trespassing or vandalism. This is strictly a fictional story. Or, to put it another way, “Don’t try this on Route 66 — or at home.”

August 14, 2019

Lunch and Dinner – Day 11

Lunch and dinner are always fun adventures on Route 66. Someone recently asked me, “Is there any healthy food options on Route 66?”

What?

Fast food is what a road trip is all about. While breakfast is usually a complimentary breakfast at the hotel or motel, lunch and dinner are an adventure.

Picnic

A picnic is a good way to relax and eat on your own schedule. Another bridge, another grassy area under the shade of a tree, and some snacks picked up earlier in the day create a nice way to have lunch without wondering when you’ll find a restaurant.

After eating Charly parked herself under the shade of a tree while I wandered around getting photos.

Another Picnic on Route 66 - Lunch and Dinner
Another Picnic on Route 66

The long bridge in the background is amazing. One truss after another on this bridge.

Back on the Road

I wish I had time to stop at every landmark. A month isn’t long enough. One could take an entire year driving Route 66.

“BRENT!” Charly shouts, “I want to get my cowboy hat.”

“Where is this coming from?” I asked before seeing the Western Motel sign.

We stopped and Charly struck a pose.

Western Motel
Western Motel

Lunch and Dinner Coming

We had a nice picnic lunch and dinner is coming. We decided to check in to our hotel first, and then find somewhere to eat. It’s always a risky thing because you don’t know what is open and what is nearby.

After making a lot of stops for taking pictures, we finally arrived at our hotel in Elk City, Oklahoma. The place was old, but the new owners were in the process of fixing it up. They had it very clean.

I checked in and washed up in preparation for going to dinner. I came out of my room and there was Charly.

Are We Going to Dinner?
Are We Going to Dinner?

“Are we going to dinner?” Charly asks.

She was dressed in a slinky dress as if she was waiting for a hot date. My first thought was, ‘She’s going to be disappointed because it is only me.’

“We?” I asked while spinning around on my heels. “I’m looking for your date.”

Charly giggled and added, “I just felt like getting dressed up.”

“Grab your shoes and we’ll find a place. Should I change? I feel a little underdressed,” I said.

We headed to the lobby where I asked about a place to go eat. I was told the nearest place open at this hour was the attached diner.

“Okay with going to the diner next door?” I asked.

“Sure,” Charly said with a smile.

“Do you want to change? You might be a little over dressed for these… these… locals,” I said.

“No, I’m fine,” she said.

“Are you sure?” I asked, and then added, “There’s going to think I’m some kind of dirty-old-man.”

Laughing, Charly says, “That’s the whole point.”

“Okay, but at least grab a sweater or shawl,” I said.

Charly disappeared in to her room and emerged with a silk shawl, and we headed to the diner. I still felt underdressed, but people will probably be looking at Charly, and not me.

August 9, 2019

Oklahoma Capital – Day 11

Oklahoma Capital was our next stop. I was still drying my eyes while we drove to the capital building. In many ways I want to shake this feeling. On the other hand, sadness and outrage helps us to remember we have a loving God who only allows evil so we can exercise agency. He will punish the wicked.

We parked at the Oklahoma Capital grounds and Charly was off before I could get my camera equipment. I made sure I had my batteries, spare memory cards and needed lenses.

“Hey, Brent!” I heard Charly yell, “What do you think is up here?”

Charly About to Get in Trouble - Oklahoma Capital
Charly About to Get in Trouble

Before I could tell her I don’t think she’s supposed to be there, two armed policemen were handcuffing her. I debated on whether to let them know she was with me, or just let them haul her off. I decided to do the honorable thing.

“Officers,” I hollered, “she’s with me and I’m sure she didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to be there.”

The officers beckoned me over, and I walked over.

“Is this young lady with you, sir?” the one officer asked.

“Yeah,” I said expressing a look of innocence.

The officer turned to Charly and said, “How did you climb the fence, ma’am?”

Charly looked very surprised and replied, “Climb? I walked through the gate,” and pointed to an open gate.

“Officer,” I began, “if I may point out there isn’t a ‘No Trespassing’ sign over there.”

We walked towards the gate while the other officer stayed with Charly. Sure enough, the “No Trespassing” sign was only visible when the gate was shut.

Looking at me over the top of his mirrored Ray Bans, “It looks like it’s your friends lucky day,” he said.

We walked back to Charly and the other office.

“You can uncuff her,” he said to the other officer, and then looked at Charly and added, “Ma’am, our sincere apologies. While that gate is normally closed and a no trespassing sign visible, someone left it open today. You’re free to go.”

We stood and talked to the kind officers for a bit while they told us about the display Charly was about to climb on. Oklahoma City is a big oil town. The Sooners were to oil what the 49ers were to the Gold Rush. They also pointed out the capital building is undergoing renovation, but is open on the inside.

“And,” the officer smiled at Charly, “Please don’t let us have to arrest you for climbing on the scaffolding,” and then winked.

I saw his humor, but I think Charly was still a bit scared after the handcuffing incident. Visibly shaken, Charly just nodded her head showing she understood.

“I’ll keep her on a short leash officer,” I said in a stern voice, “Come on Charly. Oh, officer, can I borrow your handcuffs? I figure if I cuff her to me she can’t wander far.”

Charly took one big step away from the three of us, and the three of us men laughed, but Charly obviously thought I was serious.

“Come on, Charly, I’m only joking,” I said, “But stick close. I don’t have bail money.” Then, turning to the officers I said, “Thanks again for making this a pleasant experience.”

Charly Happy to Not Be In Jail
Charly Happy to Not Be In Jail

Oklahoma Capital Building Renovation

The Oklahoma Capital Building renovation didn’t stop us from seeing the beautiful interior of the building. Charly noticed her bright red dress went perfectly with the bright red flags flying around the exterior of the plaza.

Under the Dome Inside
Under the Dome Inside

We spent several hours inside looking at the beautiful displays and learning about the State of Oklahoma.

Oh, as a side note, they have the BEST gasoline prices in Oklahoma!!!

August 7, 2019

Sobering – Day 11

Sobering day today. We visited the Oklahoma City Bombing Site. Charly is hardly old enough to remember that day, but Brent remembers it well.

First Thing

The first thing Charly wanted to do is take a dip in the pool, however the night’s rain cooled the air and with the cloud cover things were a bit chilly. Brent met up with her down by the pool.

“Coming for breakfast?” Brent asks.

Charly, pinning her hair back as if she was about to get in the water smiled and said, “I thought I was going to take a swim, but it’s a little too cold.”

No Swimming Today
No Swimming Today

“Okay,” Brent said as he turned and headed towards the breakfast room, “I’ll see you inside after you get dressed.”

“Who said I was going to get dressed,” she yelled back at him.

“The sign in the hotel that reads, ‘No swimsuits in the lobby or dining room’,” Brent said without skipping a beat.

Charly only growled as she grabbed her towel and stomped towards her room.

The Sobering Drive

The sobering drive to downtown Oklahoma City wasn’t anything like the reality of the matter. After finding a place to park, we walked across the street to the memorial.

One first notices the empty chairs that represent those killed that day. Then you notice the chain link fence with momentos and tributes to those who died that day. Children, wives, mothers, fathers, husbands, sons and daughters gone in an instance in a blast and ball of flames.

Reminders of Those Who Died - Sobering
Reminders of Those Who Died

What kind of evil existed in the heart of Timothy McVey and his companions that they would do such an evil thing. This was cold, planned well in advance, calculated and without warning. Evil. It is the only word that describes their actions that day.

I stood there and wept. It is beyond comprehension as to why they would do this. Across the street is a statue. It depicts how Jesus must have felt that day too.

Jesus wept. Sobering
Jesus wept.

The reflecting pool is a beautiful memorial. At the end, on the other side of that gray wall, are remnants of concrete and rebar. To the right, empty chairs for those who died.

Memorial in Oklahoma City
Memorial in Oklahoma City

They blew up a daycare center! To me, that’s the most disgusting part of their actions. The very thought drags me into sorrow. Thank goodness for a God who accepted these children in to his kingdom and will exalt them.

I had to ask, “Why, God? Why?”

The comforting answer I got was God doesn’t interfere with men’s agency -(for evil or good), however, his compassion extends to those who die in innocence. They died as martyrs and their place in heaven is guaranteed, while those who did this will suffer in hell.

July 30, 2019

Automobiles – Day 10

Automobiles are a huge part of Route 66. Route 66 was built in a day where automobiles were just becoming a household item. You could take the train, but why not drive so you can take your time and see the country?

Automobiles are a huge part of Route 66. Route 66 was built in a day where automobiles were just becoming a household item. You could take the train, but why not drive so you can take your time and see the country?

Automobiles are a huge part of Route 66. Route 66 was built in a day where automobiles were just becoming a household item. You could take the train, but why not drive so you can take your time and see the country?

Automobiles are also found in museums along the way. They are worth the stop. Charly and I had a fun time visiting museums.

My Maserati Does 185 - Automobiles
My Maserati Does 185

Heart of Route 66 Automobiles Museum

The Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum is a fun, clean museum with staff that is super friendly. We entered, bought our tickets, and proceeded down a hall that looked like Route 66.

“Hey, Brent!” Charly screams, “Look at that Ferrari!”

“Maserati. That’s a Maserati,” I said, and then started singing, “My Maserati does 185; I lost my license and now I don’t drive…”

“Okay,” she said rolling her eyes, “you’re making this up, right?”

“Joe Walsh. Former of the Eagles, broke off and went solo. Known for trashing hotels…” I rattled off as she continued to look at me like I was some sort of freak. “It was a popular song, okay! Look it up on Pandora, or whatever you listen to.”

We hung out at the museum for a while until there was nothing left to see.

Charly would have made a great model for a flying lady hood ornament.

Charly as a Flying Lady
Charly as a Flying Lady

Soda Pop

Also there in Sepulta, Oklahoma, was this huge Coke bottle sculpture. My wheels were turning because I had an idea of how to photograph Charly, but she disappeared, and then came back wearing a green fish scale leotard.

“PERFECT!” I shouted.

She just smiled as if to say she knew I’d like it.

Wondering Where Coca Cola Got the Idea for the Shape of the Bottle - Automobiles
Wondering Where Coca Cola Got the Idea for the Shape of the Bottle

Pops on Route 66 for Automobiles Too

Then in Arcadia, Oklahoma, we found the BIGGEST soda pop store. Pops is cool. Every flavor you can imagine. There were so many diet root beers I had a hard time deciding which ones to purchase.

Charly put on the leotard again, and struck a pose.

Again, There's that Shape
Again, There’s that Shape

And, I should show a wider view. Even the gas pumps (from the front) look like soda dispensers.

Pops on 66 - where to fuel your automobile
Pops on 66

You can fuel your automobiles and your thirst at this place. If there were room in the car I would have bought cases of the stuff. Too many flavors and not enough room to bring them home.

Inside, Charly purchased a cold one and began sucking it down.

A Cold One
A Cold One

Roadside Junk

You find more than just cars abandoned on the side of Route 66. Someone, sadly, decided to dump their sofa. I made the best of it. I’ve always wanted to do this.

“Hey, Charly, go sit on that sofa,” I said.

Surprisingly, she didn’t turn up her nose at the idea, but changed in to another leotard.

“I want to look like I’m lounging,” she said as she stepped out of the car wearing this black lace leotard.

Roadside Lounging
Roadside Lounging

We soon found an old service station with this sign…

Command or Statement?
Command or Statement?

I wasn’t sure if it was some sort of social command or statement, but I’m betting they meant ‘doesn’t work’, and they aren’t telling us to go on welfare and not work at all. We found similar signs along the way. They always put a grin on my face.

When all was said and done, it was another great day cruising Route 66.

End of the Day on Route 66
End of the Day on Route 66

July 25, 2019

Blue Whale – Day 9

Blue Whale is out here somewhere. I've got it on today's MUST SEE list. Charly is excited about finding it too.

Blue Whale is out here somewhere. I've got it on today's MUST SEE list. Charly is excited about finding it too.

Blue Whale is out here somewhere. I’ve got it on today’s MUST SEE list. Charly is excited about finding it too. When driving Route 66 you don’t always see signs directing you to landmarks. (By the way, if you see someone stealing a sign on Route 66, PLEASE get their description and report them to the police. Route 66 is there for EVERYONE to enjoy, and their thievery only makes things less enjoyable for others.)

Cars are strategically abandoned, or placed, along Route 66. Charly liked this cute coupe.

Cute Coupe - Blue Whale Day 9
Cute Coupe

Stuff like this make for some great travel photos. That’s 99% of the fun, in my opinion, of traveling Route 66.

Back on the road and suddenly Charly yells, “Brent! Can we race?”

Joplin 66 Speedway - Blue Whale Day 9
Joplin 66 Speedway

“It looks like it’s closed,” I stated hoping that will diffuse the situation.

“Let’s stop and check,” she said with the enthusiasm as a child expecting ice cream.

As we pulled in the parking lot it was clear it was not operational. So, instead we took a photo.

“Charly, you do realize in order to race your car has to meet certain safety criteria like roll-bars, seat harness, fire extinguisher, and so forth. Not to mention, you have to wear a fire suit and helmet,” I explained.

Here only reply was, “Oh.”

Change of Clothes for Blue Whale

Anticipating the Blue Whale, Charly changed her clothes into her swimsuit.

“I cannot understand how anyone can drive around in a car wearing a swimsuit,” I commented.

“I want to be ready to swim,” she bubbled as she said it.

We soon saw a sign and turned off the road. Charly grabbed her goggles and was ready to hit the water.

“Wait, go to the car and get those fairy wings I brought,” I said as I spotted a field of “mushrooms”.

Charly as a Fairy Poses on a big Man Made Mushroom
Charly as a Fairy Poses on a big Man Made Mushroom

No sooner as I snapped the photo the wings came off and Charly went running in the opposite direction.

“Where the scrud are you going?” I yelled.

“Swimming!” she responded.

The Blue Whale

The Blue Whale is a swim hole a guy made back in the 1970s as a gift to his wife who collected whale figurines. You can read more here.

Today it is a Route 66 tourist attraction. (NOTE: It is not open for swimming. The swimming is only part of this fantasy story. YOU CANNOT GO SWIMMING HERE. Again, it is only part of this story.)

Splash

Splash
Splash

Before I knew it she hit the water. It was about then someone came out and yelled at her, “Hey! No swimming!”

Picnic at the River

From there we found a nice grassy area under a tree for a picnic with some food we picked up at a small grocery store.

Picnicking Along Route 66 in Oklahoma
Picnicking Along Route 66 in Oklahoma

My advice for driving Route 66 is to take your time. Having a picnic near the old Route 66 can often provide a view you can’t find elsewhere. You might see a group of motorcyclist cruising down the road, or someone in a 1930s vintage car. It’s fun to relax and take in the view.

July 17, 2019

EnlightInn – Day 9

EnlightInn was our first stop after the drive-in movies last night. I dropped Charly off at her cottage and went straight to mine. We were both beat.

Knock – knock – knock.

No answer.

Avoiding being too cliche and knocking shave-and-a-haircut, I decided to do a Morse Code comma.

Knock — knock — knock-knock — knock — knock.

“Hold your horses,” I heard coming from inside Charly’s cottage.

A few seconds later, she yells, “You can come in, I’m decent now. It’s safe.”

I opened the door, but remained on the front step.

Charly Isn't Ready at EnlightInn
Charly Isn’t Ready

“WHAT! You aren’t ready to get breakfast?” I said trying not to get angry. “Put some clothes on and let’s go.”

“Whoa! I made an appointment to visit their sensory deprivation tank,” Charly said looking at me like I should understand.

“Sensory, what?” I said rather loudly.

“Sensory deprivation. They put you in a tank filled with mineral water and turn off the lights while you float in the darkness,” she explained.

“Okay, that’s sounding a little like stuff the C.I.A. does in war zones,” I said raising an eyebrow.

Charly started laughing which was getting me more irate, but before I could blow a fuse, she said, “You arranged for us to stay at a health spa, shouldn’t we take advantage of the amenities?”

I took a step back and realized I did reserve this nice cottages, and I did read that it was a health spa.

“Okay…” thinking of what to ask, “… what time do you think we should hit the road?”

“Chill, dude, and take a dip in the tank too,” she smiled.

“Uh, get in a tank, no lights… with you?” I said reluctantly.

“Heaven sakes NO,” she said glaring at my like I had lost my marbles, “To steal your words, that would be inappropriate. Go see if the sauna is available, or something like that.”

I closed the door to her cottage, scratched my head, and thought about what I should do while she pampers herself. Maybe I’ll go get breakfast… they do serve food here.

EnlightInn Charm

EnlightInn has quite the charm. In its day it was a motel for Route 66 travelers. The current owners remodeled the cottages and did an amazing job.

A couple of the buildings are dedicated to spa services, and the main building is the office and juice bar. It has a hominess to it. I could stay there for days.

I decided to get a smoothie.

“What do you recommend?” I asked the young lady at the counter.

“I personally like the Hippy Hippy Shake,” she responded.

Being a big fan of Tommy James and the Shondels, how could I NOT get the Hippy Hippy Shake.

“You convinced me,” I said, pulling out my wallet, “I’ll take a Hippy Hippy Shake.”

EnlightInn Hippy Hippy Shake
EnlightInn’s Hippy Hippy Shake

She handed me my shake and reading my expression she said, “Try it. I realize the color is a little off-putting, but you need to taste it.”

Telling myself its about the same color as a chocolate shake, I took a sip.

“Hey, this is REALLY good,” I said.

Back on the Road

Charly finished her spa treatment (which is about all she talked about for the rest of the day), and we hit the road.

We didn’t make it very far until we saw my friend Paul with another photographer setting up their MoLights.

“Hey, Paul,” I yelled out the car window, “want to shoot Charly?”

Landing a punch on my shoulder, Charly growled, “Nobody is going to SHOOT me.”

I pulled the car over and Charly ran over to greet Paul and his buddy.

Charly Showing Off to the Camera
Charly Showing Off to the Camera

After a discussion with the other two photographers about the great service and products at MoLight, Charly and I were back on the road again.

Special Thanks

A special thanks to EnlightInn. They were kind enough to put Paul and I up for a night when we did our Route 66 Tour. I HIGHLY recommend staying at EnlightInn when you travel through Tulsa. The cottages are cozy, but also loaded with home amenities. The staff is friendly and wonderful to talk to.

Another special thinks to Michael Mowbray, owner of MoLight, for providing some equipment during our tour. Not only does Michael service what he sells, but he USES what he sells. He doesn’t sell anything that he can’t support or offer advice on its use.

July 13, 2019

Closed Post Offices – Day 8

Closed Post Offices seems to be a theme along Route 66. This time, it even has Charly miffed. There is no consistency to finding a Post Office open as we travel.

Closed Post Offices seems to be a theme along Route 66. This time, it even has Charly miffed. There is no consistency to finding a Post Office open as we travel.

Closed Post Offices seems to be a theme along Route 66. This time, it even has Charly miffed. There is no consistency to finding a Post Office open as we travel.

I convinced Charly to purchase some postcards. The conversation went like this…

“Hey, Charly, check out this postcard,” I said, “You should get some and send them to your friends.”

“Why?” looking at me with a confused face, Charly went on, “I can just text them or post them on Instagram.”

This time, it was my turn to roll my eyes. I reminisced about the days when you’d run to the mailbox to see if you got anything. A postcard, letter, package, it was like winning the lottery back then.

“Here’s a reason why,” I began with, “tomorrow all of your pictures on Instagram could be gone in the blink of an eye. It could start with a glitch on your phone, or a major outage at Instagram. You have zero control. At least with a postcard, it is something tangible.”

“My phone is tangible,” she said smugly.

“Your phone is tangible, what what is stored on it is intangible and could be gone in a flash,” I explained.

“How so?” she asked defiantly.

“Everything on electronic media is stored via electrons. While an electron is a small subatomic particle, it is one of the most unstable particles on the planet. An electron enters a wire only to force the an electron to hop off at the other end. Nature wants balance, and in order for electrons to be of any use, we have to create an imbalance,” as I dove in to my physics lecture.

Charly sat there with raised eyebrows as if to ask, ‘Are you finished yet?’ I could tell using intellect wouldn’t get me far, so I changed direction.

“It’s a tangible gift. Something your friend can hold, touch, pin on the wall, tape to the fridge, and pass down to her children,” I said.

Now her expression was as if she was thinking, ‘Okay, that makes sense.’

“Where’s the nearest Post Office?” Charly asked.

“There has to be one in this small town, we’ll just drive around and look for an American Flag,” I said.

The First Closed Post Offices

The first closed Post Offices (and I say that in the plural, because we found many) appeared to be open. The flag was flying and it was 2:30 in the afternoon. For all intents and purposes, it should have been open.

“Here, Charly. There’s a Post Office,” I said pointing to a red brick corner building.

Charly got out of the car, walked to the door diagonally across the street from where I stood taking pictures. She went to the door, turned around, and walked back to me.

Closed Post Offices #1
Closed Post Offices #1

Before I could ask why she didn’t go inside, she looked at me and said, “It’s closed!”

How could it be closed, I thought. Today isn’t a holiday. It’s a work day. It’s only 2:30 p.m.

“Closed?” I asked while thinking she didn’t even try the door.

“Yes, closed. The sign says the hours on weekdays is 10 a.m. to noon, and then 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.” she stated very matter-of-factly.

“That’s ridiculous!” I proclaimed like a disgruntled customer.

There wasn’t much we could do except to move on.

Other Closed Post Offices

Every stop we made at a post office yield the same results. They don’t all have the same hours. But it seemed that we were always about 15-30 minutes late. If we got there at 4 p.m., they closed at 3:30 p.m. If we got there at 4:45 p.m., they closed at 4:30 p.m.

And they wonder why people complain.

Fixing Her Hair

As I drove, Charly was fixing her hair. I noticed she hasn’t changed clothes yet today. She’s still wearing the same outfit, but obviously, today’s fuss is about her hair.

“I’m tired of the wind blowing this piece of hair in to my eyes,” she said holding a strand out.

I was too busy driving and paying attention to the road to look. We were in a rather rural area and Historic Route 66 had a few bends in the road.

Suddenly I saw a nicely restored drive-in.

66 Drive-In
66 Drive-In

“Can we go to the drive-in and see a movie?” Charly asked with excitement.

“They don’t start the movies until after dark,” I pointed out.

“Okay. I don’t mind waiting,” she said sitting back in her seat.

Looking at my watch and the position of the sun I found it necessary to say something.

“Charly, we’re going to have to wait about 3 and a half hours before sunset, and then another hour before the movie starts,” I explained.

“Oh,” she said with a lot of disappointment in her voice.

“I will tell you what,” I said to ease the disappointment, “since we really aren’t prepared right now, let’s go eat something, grab a few snacks, and return when it is dark.”

“But I want to eat at the drive-in,” she whined like a little child.

Seeing this could be a major disappointment and point of regret later on, I said, “Okay. But, let’s go get some provisions.”

We headed back to the car and started driving to find a store.

Back of the Screen and Ticket Booth
Back of the Screen and Ticket Booth

Drive-In Provisions

When going to the drive-in there are certain provisions one must bring. First, a blanket and pillow. Second, beverages. Yes, you can buy something at the snack bar, but at those costs, you’ll die of thirst or go broke, so you need an ice chest with some drinks. Third, your favorite snack. Again, the snack bar will break you and you need something to snack on during a movie.

We entered the convenience store and I instructed Charly to get one of her favorite candy, some other snack, and a couple of bottles of her favorite beverage. I looked around for a cheap ice chest.

Movie Time

I can’t recall the last time I went to the drive-in, and for Charly, this was a first. We slowly drove up to the ticket booth.

“Is it by the car or per person?” I asked the lady.

“Per person. Two adults?” she asked.

“Is there a senior discount?” I asked.

Bending down to get a better view inside the car, she looked at Charly, and then she looked at me. Being totally unaware, I hadn’t noticed Charly was playing with a curl of my hear behind my ear. Perhaps this earned the glare I received from the lady.

“Senior?” she asks, “Are you over 60?”

“Yes,” I answered.

Looking again past me and at Charly, it was about then I noticed what Charly was doing.

“Stop that!” I said pushing Charly’s hand away, “This lady is going to get the wrong idea.”

If looks could kill, this lady would have slayed me. I gave her the money, and we entered the lot.

“You had this cute curl of hair,” Charly said with a sheepish grin.

“Yeah, thanks to you this lady must think I’m some pervy old man,” I snapped.

“Oh, that’s what you think?” she asked, and then added, “I’ll stand up for anyone who thinks your pervy. I tell them, ‘He’s not pervy, in fact, he’s very prudish.'”

“So, I’m not the one extreme, but the other,” I said continuing, “That’s comforting to know.”

I pulled up to a spot and edged the car forward and backward until the viewing angle was just right. I then reached to the back seat and positioned the ice chest to form a wall between me and miss-hair-fetish.

“Eat your snacks,” I said.

“I thought you were going to get dinner at the snack bar,” she asked.

I drew a deep breath, “That’s right, I did. Come on, let’s get dinner. BUT, no more playing with my hair or anything else that might make people think we’re here for some hanky panky.”

Looking at me with a very confused look, Charly asked, “Hanky panky?”

I can tell I’ve got a lot of explaining about drive-in movies.

July 12, 2019

Corvair Heaven – Day 8

Corvair Heaven is how I’d describe this day. One of the most misunderstood cars ever made, and one of the greatest cars ever made. It was an example of how a mercenary man with the stroke of a pen could bring down an engineering marvel and erroneously get people believing it was a dangerous car. For that, Ralph Nader lost all credibility with me (and thousands of other Corvair owners.)

We’ll return to Corvair Heaven later…

Frozen Custard

Frozen custard, erroneously called ice cream, is good, but it isn’t ice cream. It seems to be quite popular in the heartland and along this stretch of Route 66.

We had barely finished breakfast when I saw this cool looking place. It’s a frozen custard place, and while it didn’t look open at this hour of the day, it WAS open. So, we stopped for a taste.

You Didn't! Corvair Heaven
You Didn’t!

Charly took hers and went to sit on the hood of the car to eat it. I waited for mine, grabbed my camera and joined her. However, I couldn’t resist grabbing a picture.

“You didn’t!” Charly said as getting a dab of frozen custard on her nose.

“I did, and I’ll buy another one if I’m still hungry after this one,” I said.

“No, you didn’t take a picture of me just now,” she growled.

“Why? You don’t think this is flattering?” I said after pushing the play button and showing her the LCD screen.

“UHG!”, she exclaimed, “That better not end up on the blog or Renderosity.”

Well, done deal with that.

Empty Cottages

Leaving town I discovered where they store all those road pylons.

Road Pylons
Road Pylons

If you look closely, I swear it looks like my friend Paul Bardotz is hiding in there. Or, maybe it is just my imagination thinking he’s not happy I’m driving Route 66 with Charly this time.

Then, we came across these abandoned cottages.

Abandoned Cottages
Abandoned Cottages

They look like they would have been nice places to stay in their prime. Now, they are all boarded up. However, the good news is there were construction permit notices. Maybe in a a couple of years people will be able to lodge here again.

A Route 66 revival would be nice.

Plano Means Flat

The word plano means flat. We came across a place that was named Plano, Missouri.

“Not much left of the place,” I said.

“What do you think was here?” Charly asked.

Punching it in on my phone, I came up with this, “The tree-invested limestone building has even been alleged to have served as a casket factory and mortuary. Apparently all that is not true though, and the fact is, according to the Springfield News Leader, it was built in 1902 by the Jackson family, with the occasional help of neighbors, with two rooms becoming a general store where families would sell produce, eggs and baked goods. “

Inside the Building
Inside the Building

Towards Corvair Heaven

I didn’t know we were heading towards Corvair Heaven, but we stopped at an old service station called Gay Parita. We poked around and I found what Gary Busey has been doing these days…

Gary Busey's Dopleganger
Gary Busey’s Doppelganger

Charly, remembering that first night in Illinois, saw the old police car there.

“Brent! Help! I’m being arrested,” she jokingly yelled.

Charly Pretending she's being arrested
Charly Pretending she’s being arrested

“Sorry officers,” I yelled back, “she’s been following me for days now. Please, lock her up and throw away the key.”

Charly stood up, putting both hands on her hips gave me a stern stare and said, “Really? That’s what you’d do for a damsel in distress?”

“If you’re being arrested, I’m sure they have good cause,” I said as I headed back to her car with keys in my hand.

She ran as fast is she could in heels on a gravel road to catch up.

Finally! Corvair Heaven!

I had just pulled on to Historic Route 66 when I noticed a blue Corvair Monza Station Wagon.

“I’m sorry, I’ve got to stop at this house,” I said as if it were urgent.

Charly glared at me as if to say, ‘Why didn’t you use the bathroom back there.’

Reading her mind, I said, “Sorry, I hate outhouses.”

I stopped the car, got out and started drooling over this perfectly restored 1961 Corvair Monza Station Wagon.

“I had one of these,” I said proudly.

Charly looked at me as if I had said I used to wear a dress.

“Seriously? You owned one of these?” Charly said condescendingly.

“Yes,” I did, “Is there a problem with that?”

“Brent! It’s a mom car,” she said.

Brent!  It's a mom car.
Brent! It’s a mom car.

About then a woman around my age walked out of the house and asked, “Can I help you?”

“I’m sorry, my name is Brent and this is my friend Charly, and we’re driving Route 66 from Chicago to L.A.” saying as I lead up to, “I used to own a 1961 Corvair Monza Wagon, and I saw yours in the driveway and had to stop.”

He told us the story behind her car and then asked, “Would you like to see the rest of them?”

“Would I? You have MORE?” I asked.

“Yes, we collect and restore Corvairs,” she said.

Looking at Charly, I mouthed the words, “I’ve died and gone to heaven.”

As we entered the back part of the property, I saw my first car – a Corvair Greenbriar “bus”. (They didn’t call it a van. It was a “bus”, like the “VW bus”.)

Corvair Greenbriar Bus
Corvair Greenbriar Bus

“Charly,” I said, “this was my first car. A 1961 Greenbriar bus. Mine got 25 miles per gallon and sat 9 people.”

“Now, that is cool,” Charly said.

“Yeah, but mine was cooler. It had curtains and was a real hippy van,” I explained.

My 1961 Greenbriar Bus
My 1961 Greenbriar Bus

Chuckling, Charly said, “You? A Hippy?”

“Get over it,” I said, “I did.”

July 10, 2019

Dowd’s Catfish – Day 7

Dowd’s Catfish is where we stopped to eat. I was craving some catfish and I figured with a name like that, they better have catfish. So, inside we went.

I looked around for a sign that said, “The catfish you ate today slept in the river last night”, and while I didn’t find one, there was plenty around to let you know this was a fresh-catch restaurant.

Visitors to Dowd's Catfish
Visitors to Dowd’s

Charly and I were seated and we started looking at the menu. Both of us were quite hungry. I went for the blackened catfish, but Charly went for the mundane. (Obviously, she’s not a catfish fan.)

Dowd’s Catfish Tasty

Tasty is the best to describe blackened Dowd’s catfish. Charly leaned over and began the conversation. It felt like I was being interviewed, but I went along.

She started with, “What made you decide to drive all of Route 66?”

“I love nostalgia. I love the trip down memory lane. Route 66 reminds me of an era I’m old enough to remember, but not so old that I’ve forgot,” I answered.

Then came the real questions and objective for asking, “Why me? Why did you want me to come along?”

“I’m glad you asked.” I continued, “I knew you’d be adventurous, fun to be around, fun to photograph, and I enjoy being around you.”

“Really?” she asked with doubt in her tone.

“Really,” I answered.

“No, I mean, you really enjoy being around me?” she said exposing a lack of confidence.

“Of course,” I said as if anyone could doubt that, “you’re a fun person to be around.”

“I miss the days of being ‘Dad’. And, while you sometimes think I act like I’m your ‘Dad’, I don’t think of you as my daughter, but as a younger friend.” I began to explain, “it’s more of a discovery thing.”

“Huh?” she looked confused.

“I enjoy watching you discover this stuff for the first time,” I said. “Had I brought an old friend we both would have been like, ‘Been there. Done that.’ But with you, it’s like… YOU REALLY USED ONE OF THESE? Or, YOU REALLY REMEMBER WHEN…”

“Oh, I think I understand,” she said.

I realized then that history is sometimes lost on youth, and even more so with today’s technology. While one would think it is just the opposite, instant information has robbed them of true hands-on discovery.

Teaching Moment

“It’s like this, Charly,” I explained, “when I go to Israel, I don’t just look at stuff. I read everything I can get my hands on before the trip, and take stuff to read while I’m on the trip. Then, while I’m there, I try to close my eyes and imagine what it was like 2000 years ago when Christ walked those roads.”

Continuing, I said, “Route 66 is even more personal. While there are sections of road I haven’t been on before this trip, there are little things here and there that remind me of similar items and locations during my childhood. My imagination is less involved and my memories and the emotions tied to those memories are involved. I find it fun sharing those things with you.”

Charly sat quietly for a while and just stared at my face.

Interviewed by Charly
Interviewed by Charly

If it were a movie, this would be the part where two lips would meet, but that would be totally inappropriate in this case. I felt a little awkward and uneasy wishing she would say something.

Finally, she broke her silence and said, “Thank you for inviting me. I’m learning a lot and having fun.”

I still felt a little uneasy given how she was still looking at me, and not knowing what to say to quell my uneasiness, she spoke up again.

“You know, I kid you about your acting like my dad, but you’re like the dad I never had. Thank you for never taking advantage of me and respecting me,” she said with tear filled eyes.

Taken Back

I was taken back. The rest of the trip is going to be different. Not so much different for me (because I know where my boundaries are drawn), but for Charly.

Red Corvair After Dowd’s Catfish

Shortly after eating we saw a red Corvair. I just had to stop.

“Charly, my first car was a Corvair van called the Greenbriar. A few years later I traded it for a red Corvair Monza, like this one, only mine was a station wagon,” I said.

“So, this is what you were talking about at the restaurant — about memories,” she said having an epiphany.

“Exactly!” I smiled.

Red Corvair Monza
Red Corvair Monza

“They were great cars and I’ll never forgive Ralph Nader,” I said.

“Who?” Charly asked.

“Ralph Nader. He erroneously wrote in a book that they were unsafe cars. He was later proven wrong, but it was too late. General Motors stopped making them and created the Camaro.”

“Camaro’s are cool cars,” she said mater-of-factly.

“Yes, and do you see the resemblance?” I asked.

“Yeah, I can see that,” she said and then asked, “What made the Corvair so great?”

“Rear engine, built for speed and gas economy, and built to compete against cars like the Porsche,” I explained.

“Were they fast?” as if I didn’t see that question coming.

“For their weight to horsepower ratio, yes,” I smugly answered.

I finished drooling over the car and off we went.

Munger Moss

The Munger Moss Motel is quite iconic. It’s one of the better maintained iconic sights on Historic Route 66. We just stopped briefly to grab a picture of the mileage sign.

Munger Moss Motel
Munger Moss Motel

Biggest Gift Shop

This place claims to be the World’s Largest Gift Shop. Well, I don’t know about that, but they did have quite a collection of Cotton Candy. (I only thought it had one flavor – sugar.)

Cotton Candy
Cotton Candy

“Hey, you can’t eat that! You haven’t paid for it,” I said before I realized I’m sounding like a ‘dad’.

Charly giggles, “I’ll pay for it, I just want some NOW.”

Onward and westward as this day winds to an end.

Hmmm… One final note for the day — Charly wore the same outfit all day. That’s a first. That should keep the laundry bill down this week.