Sunday, April 27, 2008

i <3 internet

thinking about the great Route 66 trip and I cannot urge people enough to take it. ok, so 66 doesn't strike your fancy. then take a road trip, anywhere, somewhere. see whats going on in other states. see the back roads... the road less traveled. its something you won't likely ever forget.

66 was a fantastic experience. the people of 66 are genuine, kind... yesterday it was late in the day and Dad and I were driving through Illinois. We were nearing Funk's Grove, where they make maple sirip, spelled like the way you think I just spelled it wrong. They've been making it for 100 or so years and selling it right there along Route 66. Anyway, I looked at the clock and said, "Hmm, too bad. It's after 5 on a Saturday. I'm sure that they are closed." We pulled in, just for a look and a picture, and as Dad was backing the car around to leave, this little old lady comes out from the house on the property and asks us if she can open the shop for us. She was very sweet, and no offense Sweet Old Lady, but I would guess she was about 70. Dad said we didn't want to bother her or make her come out of her house and she said she was feeling a little under the weather but no big deal.

So she opens her little shop, which was quite cozy, and we bought some sirip. And as we stood there talking to the sweet old lady, another car drives up and comes in to buy sirip.

The amazing part, to me, is that that sweet old woman didn't have to come out, but she did. And she talked with us. It seems that many of the Route 66 business owners are like this. They care about the travelers on the road and they genuinely want to assist you or help you. We were in Quapaw, OK taking a picture of the side of a barn which had a cute little mural on it. We were alongside the road, ready to leave, and this woman comes running out of the building across the street. I rolled the window down as she approached and she said, "I saw you taking a picture of that mural and this is for you!" She handed me a picture postcard of the same mural in better shape (livelier colors). We chatted with her a few moments about her business and where we were from. I asked her if I could keep the postcard and she said of course! She just gave it to me! Most places you have to pay for everything and I'm sure having a few hundred picture postcards printed isn't exactly cheap. Sure, probably not expensive either, but why do it? There is no advantage to her, right?

The business owners of 66 are real people--real GENUINE people. Classic example: Midpoint Cafe. Cutest darn place I ever did see. Gosh, I'd go back there in a heartbeat. I need a transporter (but not a plane; I'm talking instantaneous) because the pie was that good and the people were that nice. I asked Leyla if she could break my $100 and she said yes. I purchased a patch and my change was considerable, including some serious coinage. As I struggled with a wallet of coins falling everywhere, she said, "Hang on! I've got something for all those coins," and disappeared into the kitchen. She came back with a plastic baggie. Now, again, how many people would do that? Most people would watch me struggle or just be patient and wait for my coin situation to go away. But no. Not here. I'm telling you--the Route 66 Business Owner is a different breed. You really have to see for yourself but I promise you'll find the same results. My examples may sound trivial but put yourself in a similar situation and I am sure you won't find similar results off Route 66.

66 is a different world than the normal one we live in. It's slower and more patient, more understanding, and honestly, an experience you need to have.

Conversion Factor

All while traveling through three time zones, I stayed on Eastern time. Or pretty close. But I went to bed late and got up early, cutting in on sleep time.

So now it's past "bedtime" and I'm not tired. Le sigh. Got to go back to work tomorrow. Hopefully I can wake up alright.

Pulling thoughts together

Don't go away Blog fans. Come back and visit. Now that the whirlwind trip is over, I can finally put my thoughts together and I'll do my best to share them with you.

I still don't know if I was gone nine or ten days. Regardless, what I do know is that it just wasn't enough time to really see 66. There is so much to explore on Route 66. I strongly urge any of you who think you might be interested, or are evenly slightly curious, in checking out Route 66 that you DO IT! Try it in small pieces, make it an adventure! There is so much to explore, so much to see of America. There are lives out there so unlike our own, and yet, they are still similar. It is amazing to see how this one road influenced the lives of so many people and cultures. Communities were literally left high and dry when the limited-access freeway came along. Towns got up and moved in order to be closer to the road.

66 is closing up, little by little. At least 8-10 of the places in my guidebook (published in 2005) were closed, out of business, or entirely unable to be found (demolished?). My only guess is that "progress" prevented their continued success. Businesses that had been open since the early years of the 20th century were closed, having survived the first storm when 66 was shut down, but unable to keep up business in the many years later. It is true that 66 is experiencing a resurgence in interest in our country, but it won't keep these businesses open forever. Now is the time to see 66. Do it before its too late. Don't make excuses. Tomorrow will be too late. See time as it stands still in some of these places. See what the world offered then when 66 was in its heyday. Open your eyes. I promise its worth every bit of trouble you may encounter in getting there.


We put nearly 3,000 miles on the Grand Marquis. Route 66 itself is 2,400 miles (approximately) but we did a lot of backtracking.

"Oh! Look! There it is!" and we'd be going 60 miles and hour. Dad would slam on the brakes (figure stopping time and distance travelled while stopping), then we'd turn around, adjust the shot from various angles (across the street, alongside, etc)... Apparently all that configuring adds some miles to the trip.

Anyway, we were fortunate to have enough time in our trip to get all the way to Chicago this morning. I'm so glad we were able to drive the whoooollllle Route 66 trip.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


In Saint Louis. Wearing an XU shirt. Dad questioned my wearing the shirt but you know what I say? XU went to the Elite Eight and the Saint Louis Billikens didn't do anything so... there. Enough said. I'm proud to be an Xavier University alumna.

Saw lots of green hills yesterday. I feel like we've lost a little of 66 as we moved into the midwest. I mean, we still see old things that are on the route, but it just doesn't feel the same as in the desert. Made it to Saint Louis and its Saturday. Might head up into Illinois a little today time willing.

Sorry for the lack of blogging. I sit with the laptop on my lap for nine or ten hours a day and can't stand being around it any longer. You see, I'm riding with the laptop on my lap, tracking our progress and turns on the GPS, in addition to reading instructions from the guidebook, reading information about the upcoming locations (what is photo-worthy)... Too much computer.

Going to check out Ted Drewes today, famous for frozen custard. There is a dog museum here but Dad says we don't have enough time.

Its near the end of the trip, but in total, it was good. I'm glad we did it. I wish I could have gotten out and explored a little more, but time didn't allow it. I think I'll cruise 66 again, but definitely plan more time to do it. Two weeks and do half of it, and I'll get out at every stop, laptop or not. :)

I've been holding up the show this morning because I've been trying to add more pictures to the website, but having server issues. You never want to be the one holding up the show when you're traveling with Dad!

Have a good day!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Starmart has gas for $3.35/gal

Fueling up before we head through Springfield.

My poor credit card is getting a helluva workout. It's never had to work so hard in its life. And $3.35 is cheap compared to the prices I've seen. Did I tell you we saw gas in the desert for something like $5.25/gal? HAHAHA. I'm serious.

Humid and sunny, for the moment, here but I hear that that could be a-changing! Storms! Rain! Hail!

Ok, no more drama. Must disconnect and put this little bugger away.

Under the carport

at the Ramada.
Dad's getting ice for the cooler then we are on our way through Springfield, MO. Car is beeping because the driver doesn't have his seatbelt on but he isn't here. It's annoying. Or maybe there is a door ajar. Regardless, its beeping.

Called up for Ice duty. Got to go push the button.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


We're in Tulsa.
Saw a lot of cool things yesterday, including the Round Barn of Arcadia. It rained a little and was mostly cloudy, but I got my picture taken with a penguin! :)

I think we're lost in Tulsa because we started looking for a motel and after about 6 being all booked up, I'm not sure where we are or how to get back to Route 66.

Got to finish getting ready to leave. Sorry for the brief post.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ohhhhhhhh-klahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains

Caught up on some sleep last night in Elk City, OK. Waiting for Dad to get ready so we can label some photos and then head over to the National Route 66 Museum. It opens at 9 a.m. We're in the Central time zone now.

Yesterday's highlights:

*Driving on real, authentic Route 66 concrete. The road was narrow but very cool.

*Tucumcari certainly had a lot of old hotels but the Blue Swallow didn't look as good as I had heard. Maybe I just didn't look closely enough, but it looked a little run down. But hey, they did have "100% refrigerated air"!

*Midpoint Cafe, Adrian, TX was awesome. Great people, great pie, cutest darn place I ever did see (ha). Definitely worth the stop.

Today we're in Oklahoma and the weather forecast says rain and thunderstorms so... its a good time to hit the museums. States remaining in our grand tour of Route 66: Oklahoma (we're on the very West side), Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. I still think we'll cut of Illinois but we'll see how things go and what day we get through Missouri.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

8:46 a.m. ET

We're in NM and it's Mountain Time here. So that makes it... 6:46 AM. Sun looks like she's up. Dad's getting ready. Then we'll have breakfast and be on the road again. I think we'll get to TX today. Wanted to get to Tucumcari last night but it didn't happen, sadly. So far we haven't hit any of the towns I want to at night. Oh well.


Monday, April 21, 2008

No Monday Blues Here

Didn't get back to the blog last night but shout out to Wayne! We made it to Winslow and nope, there wasn't a whole lot there! Got my picture on the corner featured in The Eagles song, "Take It Easy." We rode on to Holbrook but didn't stay in a Wigwam.

Continue to see a lot of awesome things. Today it was mostly nature, not the offbeat. Lots of picturesque mountains and flatland and red rock. My head was swiveling left then right. Will try and post a few pictures tonight if I'm not too exhausted.

Did I mention I had my picture taken on a big bunny? That was last night in Jackrabbit, or maybe I should say at the Jackrabbit Trading Post in Jackrabbit.

Today we've made it just a little past half-way through New Mexico. So much to see and yet just so little time. Probably stopping here soon (currently jetting down I-40... apparently 40 is practically on top of old 66 along this leg), which is good. I'm exhausted.

There are moments when the road seems a little long and dull, but then you think, "I am on Route 66. This is a once in a lifetime trip," and I know I'm lucky. There is a history here, a story that belonged to so many people before you or me. I love it, seriously. I think about all the people that came this way and saw 66 in its heyday and what it was like for them. It was barren too, and there were long stretches, and just like them, Dad and I get out from time to time at roadside attractions and stretch our legs. And then I wonder, looking at all these crumbling remains of former tourist stops, why did they go out of business? Where did the people go? It's the mystery that makes me wonder. Some places look so neatly abandoned that it looks like the owners just didn't come back one day.

Getting close to our stopping point. Leave a note and say hey.
:) valarie

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Milemarker 239

Just passing mile marker 239 for Meteor City. We decided not to stop. We want to get to Winslow before its dark and try and make Holbrook if we can. I really want to stay in the Wigwam Village but I think Holbrook is a little wishful. Nonetheless, we will try and I just checked lodging options in Holbrook and Winslow... and there are plenty. So we'll find something.

Been a long day on the road. Saw some pretty interesting things. The desert is a good place to think and I guess I'm starting to see how people could live there. No one to bother you, that's for sure.

Current surroundings: I-40, lots of flatland and wouldn't you know it, railroad tracks. They've followed us everywhere, or maybe we've followed them, but BNSF seriously does some business. Can you still be a tycoon in the railroad industry? Anyway, it sunny. The car says it 66 degrees. Clear skies. Windy as heck.

Saw some of the old Route 66 today. Not like, hey, we're driving on Route 66, but like, "Hey! There's what used to be the old Route 66 before the route we're on now," i.e. circa 1930s. It was actually really cool that we could see it. It wasn't completely there but you could certainly pick out that it was the old road.

Saw some other cool sites, like the Hackberry General Store. Loved that. I'll post some pictures. Also got an root beer float (c'mon, you're not surprised are you?) at the Snow Cap Drive-in in Seligman. Great little place where the employees love to joke around. Gosh, what else, there has been so much I'm afraid I'll forget it all. Lots of little towns that probably have population 50. Cool mountains. OH! I just remembered this awesome thing we saw this morning.

We drove out of CA (finally!) and into AZ. We drove around and around and around this mountain on these sharp hairpins turns. I LOVED IT! Dad might not but it was really cool and fun. And when you got to the top, there was this town called Oatman and it looked like we had just stepped into the 1840s with clapboard buildings-- very pioneer and mining town. All natural, no stain. Tin roofs. Narrow roads. Wild burros.

I'll have to check back in a little later. Time to exit and I'm the navigator!

Day 2 Summary

It was a long day in the car yesterday and I'm not sure we made up much time. But we did see a lot of the barren desert. It was pretty cool and most times we were the only one on the road. Most of the cars we did see either sped up behind us and passed or were going the other way. Most weren't stopped, like we were, looking at everything.

There was so much to see that I can't pick a favorite. Here's a few highlights:
* You're driving through the desert for the longest time. There is nothing for miles and miles and miles (this is after Barstow) and then suddenly, there it is. Amboy. And Roy's. Well, Roy's used to be in business but its my understanding they closed in 2005. Still looks good. Some old cabins, some gas pumps with $4.89/gal gas, and a post office that is still operational. And as you leave, there is nothing again. It's just there. So very cool.

* Shoe Tree, or as our guidebook refers to it, "Public Art." And plenty of it. There is a bra tree too. And then lots of names written on a slight berm next to the road--names written with stones. It's very entertaining to see miles of names spelled with stones but it is impossible to read. There was also the shambles of some building which I can't remember what it was covered in spray paint. More public art.

* Victorville, CA Route 66 Museum and Store. Wow. Lots of neat little artifacts related to the local area Route 66. And very friendly people. One guy more or less gave Dad the personal tour, telling him all about certain pieces as Dad stopped at them. Wanted to buy more from the gift shop (as one of the volunteers said, "this part of the building pays the rent!") but I just want to get a few tokens from each place. I bought a patch ("Historic Route 66") and two postcards. Should have posted one in Amboy.

* Bono's Restaurant Orange Stand. Nothing special but apparently they used to be more common. This big orange (though really small since its probably the smallest freestanding building I've ever seen--maybe a little larger than an outhouse) sits outside their restaurant and I'm assuming sells juice... if it ever opens. We drove by at 12:20 pm CA time and it wasn't open.

* It was warm outside, according to the car temperature gauge but it wasn't uncomfortable. VERY breezy in the desert but not humid like it tends to be in Cincinnati. It was 87 degrees and we rode with the windows down... and it was very comfortable.

* Stopped in Needles for the night. ALMOST out of CA. Not sure what's in store for today but the sun is up so its time to get moving!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday Misc.

* Dad's luggage weighed 49.5 lbs. Fifty pounds is the limit before you're charged for weighing too much. Ha.

* Car power adapter didn't work because we were plugging in the cell phone charger, not the power adapter. The power adapter is still funky so now we have a replacement if it should die while we're in the desert.

* Stayed at the Duarte Inn, which has nothing to do with Route 66 but we were tired. I hope we cover some ground today!

* Had dinner at a nice little Mexican restaurant.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Oh dear

It's 7:39 p.m. in California and we haven't escaped L.A. yet. It's been a really crazy day. Not a big fan of Delta, for one, and not a big fan of Budget car rental. Between the two of them, we are at least 4 hours off our agenda. Because of that, we've been sitting in awesome L.A. traffic and we're both tired and ready to call it quits for the day.

But, the car adapter for the computer just died so Dad is currently in Target looking for a replacement. Not even through Day 1 and the damn thing pooped out.

Haven't seen much of Route 66 yet. EAGER to get out of here and start seeing some stuff. Took a few pictures but nothing noteworthy, mostly road signs.

Oh, and on our first plane ride this morning, the flight attendant came on the PA and said, "We are pleased to offer you a selection of beverages this morning and Biscoff cookies." I was like, "Yesss!" but moments later, she returned to the P.A. saying, "I apologize but our snack this morning will be peanuts." ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME. Peanuts?! At 7 AM?!

Dad and I have been on the quest for a hotel during the last hour but there hasn't been much luck. Here's to hoping we find something soon. I haven't used the restroom in about 7 hours and haven't eaten anything since 11 a.m. (crackers on plane #2).

Ok, plane 2 story:
We land in Atlanta. Plane leaves from E11 at 9:50 for LAX. We walk to the gate around 9:15 and the dude says, "There has been an equipment and gate change." So we go to E18 and there is a huge line of people, all having to recheck in because its a smaller plane. Ugh. So I'm standing in line, afraid we won't get seats, and the dude THERE says that there has been another change in equipment to accomodate all passengers, so please return to E11. So I'm speed walking to get to the head of the line at E11... and by the time everyone is re-checked in, we don't depart till 11 a.m. I don't like you Delta!

And then we finally get to LA and there is the world's longest line for rental cars I have ever seen. It took FOREVER to get through the line. Ho hum.

Signing off now. Computer isn't going to last much longer without power supply.
:) Valarie

Morning Drag

Went to bed at 1 a.m.
5:14 a.m. waiting for us to get in the car to go to the airport.

Tired? Yes. I hope to cash in on some Z's on the plane. My belly is grumbling. I hope there are some cookies on the plane. Peanuts aren't appropriate for A.M. flights.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thank you Wayne!

Too many late nights are affecting my brain. Last night I couldn't get the website to show properly but it was midnight and lack of sleep was weighing on me so I gave up in frustration. I returned tonight and Wayne at GoDaddy saved the day! F5! Did I think it was odd that he was born in Winslow, Arizona, a town along Route 66? Well, not ODD but strangely coincidental... maybe.

We leave tomorrow and no, I'm not packed. I haven't even had dinner yet. And I still need to email the wonderful folks at work to share the site with them. Hmph, sorry about the lack of cupcakes Randy. I'm running out of time. But I sincerely appreciated all your efforts this morning helping me with the blog.

See y'all soon!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Just 8 more days!

And website isn't even up yet.

Working on content now.