Tag

Route 66

August 20, 2019

Lone Star State – Day 12

Lone Star State, as people call it, is a wonderful place to visit. They once attempted to secede from the Union, but they hold strong to the ideals of being a sovereign state (as all states in the United States should) and that the Federal Government should not trample the rights of the state as long as the state holds fast to the U.S. Constitution. This makes its citizens proud to be part of such a strong state.

Lone Star State, as people call it, is a wonderful place to visit. They once attempted to secede from the Union, but they hold strong to the ideals of being a sovereign state (as all states in the United States should) and that the Federal Government should not trample the rights of the state as long as the state holds fast to the U.S. Constitution. This makes its citizens proud to be part of such a strong state.

Lone Star State, as people call it, is a wonderful place to visit. They once attempted to secede from the Union, but they hold strong to the ideals of being a sovereign state (as all states in the United States should) and that the Federal Government should not trample the rights of the state as long as the state holds fast to the U.S. Constitution. This makes its citizens proud to be part of such a strong state.

Charly and I first noticed this with the theme of one star wherever we would go. You see this on belt buckles, shirts, hats and decor. Yes, Texans are proud to be Texans.

Lone Star State Theme on Route 66 Motel
Lone Star State Theme on Route 66 Motel

“Oh, Brent,” Charly said with excitement, “look at that patriotic motel.”

I spun my head around and saw that Lone Star State them decorating a motel’s exterior.

“Now, that is Texan,” I exclaimed.

“It’s American too,” Charly said.

“Yes, but they call Texas the Lone Star State for a reason,” I said as I began an explanation of how Texas once threatened to leave the United States in defence of their sovereignty.

Surprisingly, Charly listened and was interested.

“That’s really interesting. Can we stop?” She asked, and immediately followed it with, “Can we spend the night here?”

Charly jumped out of the car and ran to a door. I surveyed our surroundings.

“Charly, I think they are closed for the season. There’s not a car or soul in sight,” I pointed out.

“Oh, bummer. It’s so cute,” she said.

I convinced her we should move on.

Earlier

I almost forgot to mention…

Earlier before we reached Texas, Charly wanted me to stop. She got in the car and asked me to take a photo of the long road in front of us.

“screeeeeeech,” was the sound from the tires.

“What the… ” I yelled.

Charly put her hand out the window and waved.

Carly Burning Rubber
Carly Burning Rubber

She burned out heading down this lonesome stretch of Route 66 leaving me coughing in the dense tire smoke.

Soon I saw brake lights, and she waved for me to catch up. With my camera gear, I jogged towards the car. It seemed like a mile.

“Okay, that was uncalled for,” I yelled.

“Come on old man,” she yelled back.

I jumped in the car and before I got the door closed she was off again.

We crossed over I-40 and were on a stretch of Route 66 on the other side.

“Hey, I want to get a shot of Old Route 66 and I-40. Pull over,” I said excitedly.

Catching Air
Catching Air

As soon as I got out of the car and shut the door, Charly was burning rubber again. This time, catching air as she headed down Route 66.

“DANG YOU!” I yelled shaking my camera in the air.

Again, she stopped, but this time she put the car in reverse and backed up to where I was standing.

“YOU TURKEY,” I shouted, “My turn to drive.”

Charly laughed and said, “It’s my car.”

“Yeah, but if you get it impounded I’m not bailing it out,” I said, “or you for that matter.”

“You wouldn’t leave me in jail,” she said confidently.

“Wanna try me?” I glared at her.

She ran around to the passenger side and said, “Okay, you can drive.”

That was our excitement for the day.

Dinner and a Free Steak in the Lone Star State

There’s a place on Route 66 in Amarillo where if you eat a 72 ounce steak within their time limits it is FREE. We caught a complimentary limo from our hotel to the restaurant. (Note: I would like to their website and mention their name, but when I attempted to go to their website Norton Security produced a warning that the site was not safe and a threat to my network security.)

Waiting for our Table
Waiting for our Table

Charly wore the same dress again.

“Didn’t you wear that last night?” I asked.

“Yes, but that wasn’t a fancy place. This is a steak place, it’s fancy,” she said.

I started to laugh and replied, “You don’t know Texas, do you? I bet if I wore a tie they’d cut it off.”

We enjoyed a great steak, but neither one of us went for the 72 ouncer.

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 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 6, 2019

I Wanna Kiss You – Day 6

I wanna kiss you - Yeah, that's what Charly said when she saw our hotel for tonight. I guess I really traumatized her when we stopped at the Gardenway Motel and she believed that WAS our hotel.

I wanna kiss you - Yeah, that's what Charly said when she saw our hotel for tonight. I guess I really traumatized her when we stopped at the Gardenway Motel and she believed that WAS our hotel.

I Wanna Kiss You!

Yeah, that’s what Charly said when she saw our hotel for tonight. I guess I really traumatized her when we stopped at the Gardenway Motel and she believed that WAS our hotel.

Before we got to the hotel (yes, we’re staying in a hotel, not a motel, tonight) I saw this sign…

I wanna kiss you in Uranus... that doesn't sound right.
Uranus Fudge Factory

Who in the world names a fudge company Uranus?

This has my curiosity. But, you know what they say curiosity did to the cat!!!

Late in the Day

Traveling Route 66 late in the day, after Labor Day, seems a little lonely. Lots of places are closed. It is hard to tell if they are closed for the season, or simply closed for the day.

Keep that in mind when traveling Route 66. Some of these small towns roll up the sidewalk around dinner time. Heck, we’ve had a hard time finding post offices that are open. Some close as early as 2 p.m.!!!

Closed
Closed

“Brent, I know it says it is closed, but do you think we’ll get in trouble if we go inside?” Charly asks.

“My rule is if it is posted that we should keep out, we should keep out,” I answered.

Rolling her eyes again, Charly knew I was right, but it didn’t stop her mouth, “You can be such a fuddy-dud.”

“I’ll just blame you and say I was just driving by and this crazy girl said it was okay,” I said.

“See, let’s go,” she said tugging on my arm.

“Noooo, I’m not crossing the chain,” I said.

Charly’s hands went to her hips and she spun about on one heel and walked towards an area where there was no fence and chain.

Off to the side was an open grassy area with an old billboard. Below sat an early model Mustang – perhaps a 1964 or thereabouts.

Laughing, I said, “Like anyone would like to steal that old Ford.”

“That’s a Ford?” Charly asked.

“It’s a Mustang. I owned a 1967. Complete piece of junk. Pot metal parts that were manufactured to fall apart and it handled horribly,” I explained.

“I didn’t know you owned a Ford?” Charly said with complete surprise.

“Yeah, we’re all entitled to make mistakes. Unfortunately, I made that mistake again when I bought a Ford Taurus,” I said looking down and kicking the dirt.

“YOU! YOU owned a Taurus,” Charly started to laugh uncontrollably.

“Hey, I learned my lesson,” I said trying to cover my embarrassment. “Let’s move on. It’s going to be dark soon and I don’t want to be finding our hotel in the dark.”

As we got back in the car I noticed Charly had changed out of her Daisy Dukes and tank top and back in to her goth outfit.

“Getting chilly?”, I asked.

“Shut up,” she snapped.

I Wanna Kiss You

We pulled in to the hotel which was in an odd location in Rolla, Missouri. It was near a big traffic circle, and old Route 66 was split in two lanes either side of I-40.

We entered the lobby and Charly, turned, and with outstretched arms exclaimed, “I Wanna Kiss You!”

I Wanna Kiss You!
I Wanna Kiss You!

“Whoa,” I said backing up.

I don’t mind a friendly hello or good-bye embrace, but this was a bit forward.

Charly started laughing, and said, “This is so much nicer than that place you stopped at this morning.”

“I thought you knew I was joking?” I asked.

“Well, sort of,” she said looking off to the side to cover her blushing face.

“I guess after that experience at the Motel 6 in Normal, you figured we might end up in another dive?” I inquired.

“Well, yes. That place was gross with a capital G,” she answered.

“From now on, only nice places,” I said hoping I wouldn’t have to eat these words later on.

In My Room

In my room I noticed it was a little warm and muggy, but the hall was cool, so I propped my door open. I also cranked the thermostat down hoping the air conditioning would remove some of the humidity.

I grabbed my tabled and began to prepare a blog post.

Back Turned to the Door
Back Turned to the Door

I had my back turned to the door when suddenly I heard Charly’s voice.

“Want to go swimming?” Charly asked.

Want to Go Swimming
Want to Go Swimming

“I knew I should have kept my door shut. Don’t you believe in knocking?” I said in a firm tone, but my expression must not have been stern enough.

“Oh, come on. Like you’re going to be doing anything that would require me to knock,” Charly says.

“What if I had slipped those Hick Chicks back there a not telling them to meet me here?” I said trying to keep a straight face.

“Yeah, right. YOU? Never. You get freaked out when I walk in to your room when the door is OPEN,” she said knowing she had me there.

Distracting her I said, “Hey, you dyed your hair!”

“You actually noticed?” she said with surprise in her voice.

“Of course, you go from blonde with dark roots,” drawing a glare from her when I said ‘dark roots’, “to a redhead. Actually, your complexion goes better with red hair.”

“I am a redhead,” she stated confidently, “you’ve seen my hair red before.”

“Yeah, but you’re always changing it. Who knows what color it will be next week. Now, go ahead and go swimming,” I said. “I want to catch up on some blogging. And, DON’T FORGET YOUR KEY.”

“I won’t. I stuck it right here,” she said as she began to reach for it.

“No, that’s okay. I don’t need to know where you keep your key,” I said turning my back to go back to what I was doing, “Oh, and please shut my door on your way out.”

July 6, 2019

Elmer RIP

Elmer RIP my friend. I loved meeting you back in the winter of 2010 when my wife and I did a California-Arizona Route 66 trip. I was very excited to see the Bottle Tree Forest, buy didn't realize I'd meet the genius behind it.

Elmer RIP my friend. I loved meeting you back in the winter of 2010 when my wife and I did a California-Arizona Route 66 trip. I was very excited to see the Bottle Tree Forest, buy didn't realize I'd meet the genius behind it.

Elmer RIP my friend. I loved meeting you back in the winter of 2010 when my wife and I did a California-Arizona Route 66 trip. I was very excited to see the Bottle Tree Forest, buy didn’t realize I’d meet the genius behind it. I was saddened to hear of your passing.

Elmer R.I.P. my friend.
Elmer Long 1946-2019

I was exploring your creations when I saw smoke coming from a small shack. I approached the shake wondering if someone actually lived here. As I got real close you came in to view with your arms full of scrounged wood.

You gave me a friendly greeting and we dove in to conversation. I learned you love the Bible and were quite well versed. We then talked about your creation.

Bottle Trees

Stop Sign Bottle Tree

I was impressed when you told me that most of these bottles came from your hikes through the desert. In my mind I could see you going on treasure hunting treks and coming back to your property with your booty.

As I looked around I could see your welding equipment, and envisioned you welding up a rack. Eventually, the rack would hold dozens of bottles arranged to look like a makeshift Christmas Tree. After all, everyday is Christmas at the Bottle Tree Ranch.

Elmer RIP

I Came Prepared

I came prepared with some toys I was going to photograph for my grandchildren, and then I would give them the toys along with pictures of their toy. When I told Elmer of my plans he smiled and thought that was a neat idea.

Action Figure on a Piece at the Bottle Tree Ranch
Action Figure on a Piece at the Bottle Tree Ranch
Little Critters on Bottles
Little Critters on Bottles

It’s too bad my grandchildren will never meet you in this life. They would have loved that.

2017 Tour

In 2017 I was nearing the end of a 30-day tour of Route 66 with my friend Paul Bardotz. We met a young couple, nursing students, who we had fun photographing.

Nursing Students We Met at Elmer's Ranch
Nursing Students We Met at Elmer’s Ranch

While we were talking to them and taking pictures, I caught you out of the corner of my eye.

“Hey, you two,” I said to the young couple, “come over here I want you to meet the mastermind behind all of this.”

I then introduced them to you. It wasn’t difficult to remember your name because Elmer is what Ham Radio Operators call a mentor who teaches them about radios. You struck me as a wise old man whom someone could learn a lot.

When the couple wandered off, you and I got talking about God’s commandments. I knew from previous visits you were a Bible reader. We exchanged scriptures we had memorized. You said something about the importance of memorizing verses from the bible.

Paraphrasing a line I once heard, and applying it to you, I said, “You know Elmer, there are only two scriptures you need to memorize.”

You looked at me very perplexed as if you were thinking, “What does this young man (comparably) know that I don’t know?”

Elmer - September, 2017
Elmer – September, 2017

I smiled and said, “That’s right. Only two — The old and new testaments.”

You laughed with a twinkle in your eye and I knew even though we’ve only met a couple of times that we were friends.

Elmer RIP

Paul Gets to Meet Elmer

I was excited that my friend Paul would get to meet you. Our Route 66 trip was more about the people we were meeting, and you were no exception. We talked quite a bit about your having seen you. It was a highlight of our trip.

Yes, Elmer RIP My Friend

Yes, Elmer RIP my friend. There’s no doubt in my mind you were greeted by loved ones and our Saviour when you passed through the veil of death.

June 10, 2019

Day 4 – Near St. Louis

Day 4 – Near St. Louis and it’s starting to get dark. Some days we end up pushing dinner until it’s late, but time seems to get away when there is so much to see on Route 66.

“Brent? What’s that?”, Charly asks.

I look and see some sort of a monument. It says Illinois 181 at the top. My first thought is there’s no way this was around in 1818. It can’t be mile 1,818. Oh, wait… that’s the year Illinois became a state!!!

“I think that’s a monument to Illinois becoming a state,” I told Charly as I turned my back to do an Internet search. Whew! I was right.

Just think… we’re only a year off from Illinois’ bicentennial. But, we are here for Route 66… not Illinois.

Illinois 1818 Route 66 Monument
Illinois 1818 Route 66 Monument

It turns out this monument was put up by the people who live here. I think it is cool. I’d be tempted to do something like that, but there are so many places where code enforcement would jump down your throat.

Dusk Near St. Louis

It’s near dusk as we’re near St. Louis. We pulled over to take some photos.

Pointing to the Bel Air Drive In sign, Charly asked, “Have you ever been to one of those?”

“I grew up across the street from a drive in,” I proudly said.

“Can we go?” she asks.

“There’s nothing on the marquis. I doubt they are open,” I said.

Charly Points to Drive In
Charly Points to Drive In

“What is it like? How do you watch a movie?” Charly asks.

“You drove your car in, and parked next to a pole with a speaker. The speaker clipped to your window. You’d have to be careful when you left and made sure you put the speaker back else it would damage your window! You’d sit in your car and watch the movie on that big screen,” I said pointing to the screen, “and the sound came across the speaker.”

Drawing a breath, I continued, “If you got hungry, you could walk to a building in the center of where all the cars park. They also had carhops who came and brought food to you.”

Reminiscing

Here are some images I created of days gone by…

Reminiscing
Reminiscing

I started reminiscing about the days watching cartoons over the drive in fence. (After all, we lived across the street from a drive in. All I had to do is go out in the field with binoculars and watch — no sound.)

Where’s the Hotel?

Back in the car I plugged the address to the hotel in the GPS. It took us to some road with a chain link fence and barb wire.

“Your destination is on the right,” the woman’s British voice announced. (British because the other voices sounded too boring.)

“Charly,” I said, “that does NOT look like our hotel.”

“Maybe it was torn down… like so many other places on Route 66,” Charly said with a sound of disgust.

“I doubt that. I just made the reservations at lunch time,” I said. “Here,” I continued handing her my phone, “call the number and tell them we’re lost.”

Charly makes the call, explains the situation, and hangs up.

“Well? That was short,” I said.

“He said they get that a lot. We need to specify St. Louis,” she says.

“I thought it would take us to the closest matching address… in St. Louis,” I began to get a little perturbed.

“I’m just sayin'”, she says.

How I hate that phrase. ‘I’m just sayin”.

“Well, punch it in,” I snapped.

“Turn around. Your destination is 2 miles back,” says the GPS.

“SEE. It’s NOT me. It’s taking us back to that… I don’t know… It looked like an AREA 51, but we’re not in the Southwest U.S.,” I responded more angrily.

“Calm down,” Charly says, “I’ll try again. Nope, it’s taking us right back there.”

“Okay,” I said as I had an epiphany, “put in downtown St. Louis and we’ll just drive there. When we get downtown we will enter the hotel again.”

“Dang, you’re smart,” Charly said stroking my ego, but rolling her eyes as if SHE had thought of doing that.

Seeing the St. Louis Arch for the First Time

Seeing the St. Louis Arch for the first time was pretty impressive. I did not realize it was so BIG. We could see the city in the background against the dimming sky and the Arch dwarfed everything else around it.

“Okay, we’re getting closer to St. Louis. I didn’t realize back there we had so much further to go,” I said with a calm sound of reassurance. “Stupid GPS.”

Entering St. Louis on Route 66
Entering St. Louis on Route 66

Charly and I switched driving. I grabbed a shot through the windshield, but I couldn’t see the arch when I did.

Once in the city, the GPS took us right to the hotel. I let the front desk know they might be losing business if the GPS takes people to destinations unknown. They agreed.

A Dip in the Pool

“I’m going to go for a dip in the pool,” Charly announced she took the key card and headed to her room.

“Go ahead,” exhaustedly I said, “I’m calling it a day. Oh, and don’t forget to take a robe or a towel. I’m not sure…”

“I’m not stupid, you know,” Charly said like a defiant teenager.

“I’m not saying you are… just not as modest as most people,” I said with a wink.

There I sat in my room. Wired from all the driving we did today, or what seemed like a lot of driving. I broke out my laptop, and began downloading images.

Seeing it would take a while to copy, I decided to go down to the lobby and ask the lady at the front desk about places to eat breakfast. Or, at least see what they offer for breakfast in the hotel. I can’t remember if it comes with a continental breakfast or not.

Back at the Room

I’m walking down the hall as I’m heading back to my room and what do I see? Charly is standing in the hall, wrapped in a towel, pounding on my door.

Knock, knock.
Knock, knock.

“Looking for me?” I asked.

“I thought you were in for the night,” she says surprised to see me.

“And, I wasn’t expecting to open my hotel door to see a young lady dressed only in a towel,” was my response.

“I’ve got my swimsuit on underneath”, Charly informs me as she opens the towel enough to show she’s got a one-piece on under the towel.

“Thank goodness for that,” I said, relieved.

“I locked my key in my room,” she said thinking nothing of what she had done.

“And, so… you’re knocking on my door to ask me if you could have my room? Is that it?” I asked because I wasn’t sure what she was getting to.

“No, I was going to ask if you know how I can get in my room,” she nievely said.

“Yeah, you go down to the front desk, tell them you locked yourself out of your room… ” I started to say.

“But what if they ask for ID?” she inquired.

“This happens often. If they want ID they can always come up, open your door, and ask you to produce ID before they call the cops and have you arrested and thrown in jail for imitating Char… “, I was on a roll before she cut in.

“Okay, I get it. They aren’t going to arrest me,” she says as she scampered off towards the elevator.

Once safely in my room I thought of leaving a note on her door. In fact, I even wrote it out:

“DON’T BUG ME. I’M TIRED AND I HAVE GONE TO BED.”

But then, I reconsidered. If I put that note on her door she’d definitely be waking me 5 minutes in to my slumber.

June 8, 2019

Day 4 – New Suspenders

I forgot to mention I picked up some Route 66 suspenders back at Becky’s Barn. My new suspenders are the type of souvenir that will keep supporting me. They have little Route 66 emblems representing very state Route 66 passes through. I like my new suspenders.

Earlier in the Day (before New Suspenders)

Before I got my new suspenders, and before we stopped at Becky’s Barn, I noticed what Charly was wearing.

“Hey, didn’t you sleep in that last night,” I jokingly said while thinking her blouse looked like a teddy.

“NO! How would YOU KNOW what I slept in last night?” Charly said with indignance.

“It looks like a nighty. A teddy,” I answered.

Rolling her eyes, she said, “I’m stopping the car. I need to stretch my legs.”

She pulled off the cobblestone road on to the grass, and got out and walked around on the bricks. The sound of her heals on the bricks made a very distinctive click/scratch noise.

“Aren’t you afraid your heals are going to get stuck between the bricks?” I asked.

“Will you lay off my clothes? Sheesh. You’d think you’re my father,” she said sounding like an irritated teenager.

Walking the Cobblestone Road
Walking the Cobblestone Road

I moved over to the driver’s seat after taking some pictures, and Charly walked around stretching her legs a bit longer.

“You know, you keep stretching those legs and you’ll be all legs. Oh, what am I saying… isn’t that what every woman wants? Long legs?” I joked.

“You bet. Why do you think I need to stretch my legs every couple of hours?” Charly smiled.

“I thought that was just your way of saying, ‘Okay, Brent, you can go pee now,'” I laughed.

More Abandoned Sections

We drove along as I maintained a hypervigilance. My priorities were (1) safety while driving, (2) watching the gas gage, and (3) looking for portions of Route 66 that once-were.

“There! I think I see an abandoned section of road,” I said while making a hard right.

Charly slammed against the car door. (Remember, this is a right-hand drive car.)

“Are you trying to get us killed,” she screamed.

Laughing it off because there was not a car in sight, I said, “How? Did you think we might get rear-ended by a skunk or something?”

“Grrrr… you startled me,” she growled.

I pulled over near an abandoned bridge, and Charly got out quickly and straightened her dress and tugged on her shorts which had ridden up her legs. I’m sure my quick turn didn’t help any.

“Going to the movies, Charly?” I said as she pinched her shorts between her butt cheeks and pulled them down.

“Huh?”, looking at my with confusion.

“Are you going to the movies?” I said with a grin.

“Are we going to the movies today? You didn’t say anything about going to the movies,” she said with a continued look of confusion.

“Oh, I just had to ask because it looked like you were picking your seat,” I said as I took cover behind her car. (I figured there’s no way she would pick up a rock and throw it at her car.)

“I don’t get it?” she said.

“Never mind. It wouldn’t be funny if I have to explain it,” I said.

“Oh… Oh… I get it,” she said catching on, “It isn’t funny even if you don’t have to explain it.”

A Little Creative Fun (no New Suspenders Needed)

While Charly was sitting I snapped a photo of my Route 66 contraption I made. I’ve been rubbing the base in the dirt when we stop. The idea is a little bit of Route 66 from every state will become part of it.

There we go… A little creative work and you’ve got Charly sitting by this HUGE 66.

A Monument to Route 66
A Monument to Route 66
Do Not Do This on REAL Monuments
Do Not Do This on REAL Monuments

Note: I do not advice, encourage, or condone climbing on REAL monuments. This is a virtual reality.

Regarding Abandoned Sections of Route 66

If you are searching for abandoned sections of Route 66, please make sure you are not trespassing. If you see signs that say, “Keep Out”, “No Trespassing”, or “Private Property”, don’t go looking. And, if someone tells you that you are on private property and asks you to leave, do so politely.

June 7, 2019

Day 4 – Springfield

It’s Day 4 and we’re waking in Springfield, Illinois. While not directly on Route 66, I want to see Lincoln’s tomb.

While Abraham Lincoln played an end-game play around the U.S. Constitution, it was something that needed to be done. Not only was the Union at risk of failing, he saw the evil of slavery. Other politicians have used this as justification for less noble causes, but in the end, Lincoln was justified in the ends truly did justify the means.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

The visit was worth the slight detour. You learn much about the man and his family during the tour. This stately tomb is a reverent place inside. A hallowed spirit fills the air.

Inside the Burial Chamber

Back on Route in Springfield

Back on route in Springfield, we manage to find our way out of town.

“It looks like the road turns right up here Charly,” as I acted as navigator for Charly.

The vibration of the road was a familiar one for me, but a new experience for Charly.

“It’s called cobblestone… or brick, if you like,” as the road became quite quaint looking.

With a vibration in her voice, Charly says, “I hope it is not like this the rest of the way.”

“No, according to everything I’ve read this is a rare section,” I assured her.

We hadn’t got far when I saw a sign to “Becky’s Barn”. We turned off and checked it out. A Route 66 gift shop, the lonely owner was a widower who was once married to “Becky”. After a long visit, he invited us to help remove some of the rubble left in his yard when they repaired the bricks on Route 66.

“Seriously? I can take one?” I excitedly asked.

“Please do. The workers just dumped it here. It’s been here for years and I have to get it cleaned up so I can sell the place. Take as many as you want.”

Charly and I each grabbed a brick as a souvenir of the OLD Route 66.

Broken Bricks Removed from the Original Route 66
Broken Bricks Removed from the Original Route 66

Talkers and Turkeys

Springfield seems like it was days ago, yet it was just this morning. Our stop in Auburn, Illinois, was nice, but that guy could sure talk.

“I read there are turkey tracks in the concrete a little further up the road,” I said to Charly.

“Why were there turkey tracks?” she asks me.

“Because the turkey needed to cross the road,” I said, “Get it… why did the turkey cross the road???”

“To get to the other side???” Charly asked being unsure that I was making a joke.

“Just drive,” I said.

Turkey Crossing Route 66 outside Springfield, Illinois.
Turkey Crossing Route 66

We headed on our way after seeing those turkey tracks in Route 66. It’s kind of funny that they’ve become a historic landmark in their own rite.

“Whoa, what’s THAT,” I said pointing to a rusty looking metal dinosaur.

“Awe, he’s cute. I’m stopping,” Charly says as if I would argue.

Charly Scratching Scoby's Nose
Charly Scratching Scoby’s Nose

Charly jumps out of the car so quickly I don’t think the car had come to a complete stop.

Scratching the nose of this sculpture, you’d think Charly thought he was alive.

“So you like Scooby”, I said.

A voice came from the building nearby, “It’s SCOBY, rhymes with TOBY.”

“Oh,” I said, “I do see that now. There’s only one “O”. Scoby,” I said.

The creator/artist came up and began telling us the story of Scoby. He created it for his grandchildren, and it’s become a Route 66 icon in these parts.

“He’s so cute,” Charly repeated.

I thought she was going to ask if we could take him home. Scoby, that is, not the old man.

He's so cute.
He’s so cute.

The guy would have talked to us all day and in to the night, but I was needing to eat and go to the bathroom — not necessarily in that order.

We politely broke away from our conversation with the very nice old man and drove only a couple of blocks before we found a Hardy’s. Yeah, it’s not iconic Route 66, but they do make a good burger.

Not Iconic, but a Good Burger
Not Iconic, but a Good Burger

June 7, 2019

Day 3 – Dead Ends

We met a few dead ends today on Route 66. As we travel Historic Route 66 we will look for “missing” portions. Many are “dead ends” at BOTH ends.

The first one we found today was perfect to stage a drag race. You know where traffic will come from so you don’t have to have spotters at both ends.

Charly changed in to what she calls her “racing” outfit. I’d call it more of a racy outfit.

On a Dead End Section of Route 66
On a Dead End Section of Route 66

Checking Books, Maps and Internet

Checking books, maps and Internet is a good way to find abandoned sections of old Route 66. Route 66 moved several times throughout its history, and since being decommissioned, some sections are simply abandoned. Today, there are many sections that are still driveable, but even those you have to search for.

You will find some in the woods, others in fields, we found one in a park, and who knows where some are hiding. It takes getting out of the car and hiking around at times.

Pranking Charly with Dead Ends

We found an abandoned section in a park. It was being used for a bike/pedestrian trail.

“Hey, Charly, I’m going to take the car and scout around for the next drivable part of Route 66,” I tell her.

“Okay, I’ll explore the park and enjoy the sunshine,” Charly replies.

I drove to the other side of the overpass and found an access road. Sure enough, it came up to the roadblock on the park section. Waiting and watching, I waited for Charly to be off doing something so I could sneak the car to the “closed” side of the roadblock.

There I sat quietly off the side of the road with my camera to grab a shot of Charly’s surprise. I’m going to have fun pranking Charly with dead ends.

How Did He Do That?  How did he get the car on the other side?
How Did He Do That?

“What the …” Charly stops knowing I don’t approve of cussing.

“BRENT,” Charly screamed.

I sat quietly behind her with my camera in silent mode and squeezed off a couple frames.

“BRENT!!!” she yelled again, “Where are you, and how the freak did you get the car back there? Did you drive across the grass?”

“No,” I said as she nearly jumped out of her skin, “I found an access road on the other side of that overpass.”

“You think your funny,” she said as she came charging towards me.

I wasn’t about to stand there to find out what would happen next. Clutching my camera, I just started to run away from her. Seeing no place to run to, I put my hands in the air and said, “I surrender! I surrender!”

No sooner than I said the second ‘surrender’, I felt her arms around my neck and her torso pressed in to mine as her legs wrapped around my waist.

“What? Are you 5 years old wanting daddy to give you a piggyback ride? Get off me.” I demanded.

Ruffling my hair, she slides off my back and says, “Ah, come on. I enjoy piggyback rides.”

“I used to too… when I was FIVE,” I retorted. “Let’s get back on the road.”

Back on the Road

We managed to get back on the road. As the day neared an end we checked in to our hotel. The first thing Charly did was change out of her cowgirl outfit and in to a slinky cocktail dress.

“Are you taking me out to diner?” Charly askes.

Eyeing her over, I reply, “Yes, but don’t you think you’re a little overdressed for Route 66?”

“I can take it off if you want,” she says with a wink.

Perhaps she’s been on the road too long with me, but she’s never winked like that before. Well, at least not to me.

Knowing her lack of inhibitions, I said, “Nope, not at all. Let me go grab a tie.”

Charly in a Traditional Route 66 Diner
Charly in a Traditional Route 66 Diner