Who’s gonna cook, clean and pick?

IMG_2968I’ve never used this forum to preach anyone’s political agenda, and I usually try to remain impartial to any policies that may affect me when travelling abroad, but in this case I’d like to offer my two cents on the illegal immigrant status in the United States.

Being Canadian and living in such close proximity to the U.S. we are bombarded with American news hourly, especially the everyday antics of their politicians and president. It was on our recent trip along Route 66, from Chicago to Santa Monica that I made certain observations and came up with one big question for any American who believe’s there’s no room in their country for illegal immigrants.

Who’s going to cook your meals, clean up after you, and pick your produce?

During our trek across eight completely different States I noticed something missing from common laborers ‘everywhere.’ There were no fat white people making my breakfast, cleaning our motel rooms, or picking vegetables in the fields. The only ones I saw were being waited on in places like Denny’s, where they were shoving massive amounts of biscuits and gravy or waffles and pancakes into their pie holes.

Whether they believed in deporting illegals or not, none of the white folk I saw seemed to have any problem whatsoever with who was putting their food in front of them or cleaning up after them. It was obvious that the younger generation only cared about the mobile devices they were fixated on and probably couldn’t have told you if it was a human or machine that served them.

So back to my question. If America is successful in kicking all the illegals out of their country who the hell is going to run the place? I wonder how many politicians have immigrants working for them at home? I’d bet there are more than a few. I’m just a bashful and passive Canadian. What do I know?

Road Less Traveled – Crossing America

IMG_4073Cathryn and I just completed Route 66 from Chicago to L.A. and a return trip across the United States on a more northerly route, racking up over 6,000 miles on mostly forgotten roads that were once the main arteries in America. As much as possible, we traveled the old U.S. Highway system that is still in use but often replaced by Interstate super highways.

Following Route 66 was like a cross-country scavenger hunt. We used a guidebook to seek out the old road or what’s left of it and eroding memorabilia from a time past and almost forgotten. Millennial’s have no concept of the road, and as folks our age travel to never-never land the sites and stories will disappear forever.

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The Mother Road – Part 2 – Amarillo Texas to Santa Monica California

IMG_3354We started the second half of our westward journey on Route 66 on Sunday, June 16th, in Amarillo, Texas. Not too far out of town I had to throw out the anchor and do a u-turn to stop at the infamous Cadillac Ranch. For those unaware of the legend and song that refer to the unusual site, this one boasts ten old Cadillac’s that are standing on end, partially buried, looking like the American version of Stonehenge.

For years, tourists have been stopping at the eyesore or work of art, depending how you look at it, to spray-paint or write their names or whatever on the empty shells of the once-classic cars. We entered the field through a gate in the fence, careful not to touch it, since eager tourists start tagging right there. Every color of paint you can imagine decorated the gate, fence, and packed dirt path leading to the monument.

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The Beatles – Love – Cirque du Soleil

downloadI’d seen the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show called Love┬ámany years ago and knew that Cathryn would love to see it while we were in Vegas on our detour from Route 66. We’re both Cirque fans and everyone knows the Beatles music, so you can easily sing along. We got married in Vegas six years ago and were too busy to catch a show. This time we had no excuse.

The show is still at the Mirage and it promised to be bigger, better, and bolder, having been redone since my last viewing. I wasn’t convinced when we first sat down, the seats were smaller than I remembered and there had been speakers built into the headrest for surround sound. None of that mattered once the show started.

Typical Cirque characters got the production started, then came the music, color, acrobatics and the awesome music of the Beatles. There was confetti that fell from the rafters, bubbles from that lingered in the air, and a giant sheet of silk that covered the whole stage and stretched out into the audience.

Of course there were a couple VW Beetle Bugs and a van. The acts performed were top notch and blended with the theme of the music. The costume and set colors jumped right into your lap. The stage itself was a giant machine, with sections that opened up and parts that moved actors up and down and in and out of sight.

Love wasn’t as heavily weighted with acrobatics or circus-style acts as other shows, it had just the right amount of song and dance and action to keep your eyes wandering around the stage to see what was going on in all corners. It definitely lived up to its promise of being bigger, bolder and better. We both loved the show and easily rated it a 10 out of 10.

Everyday People – Everywhere

IMG_2954 (1)Once again, while travelling Route 66 from Chicago to L.A., Cathryn and I have had our faith in humanity renewed. There really are friendly people left in the world, all you have to do is say hello and talk to them.

Who’d have thunk there’d be anyone willing to talk to you in a metropolis like Chicago – it’s one of those places you’re programmed to think that you can’t make eye contact with anyone for fear of them saying, “What are you looking at?” So much for preconceived ideas. Our first glaring example was at the Congress Plaza Hotel in the windy city.

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The Mother Road Part 1 – Chicago to Amarillo Texas

IMG_2950In 1926 new horseless carriages created a need for a network of roads for people to drive them on. Thus the federal highway system was launched with Route 66, dubbed The Mother Road or Will Rogers Highway, being the path west from Chicago to L.A. Folks were already heading west for land, jobs, and to find their fortune in one way or another.

Cathryn and I packed up the Impala and headed to Chicago on June 10th. We headed to Chicago, where Route 66 originates, and walked around downtown. A beer and a cheeseborger at the Billy Goat gave us the fuel to carry on and check out the Riverwalk. We had dinner and finished the night at Andy’s Jazz bar, a great send off from the windy city.

We stayed at the Congress Plaza, a beautiful turn-of-the-century hotel near the waterfront. Pete, the hotel security guard took us on a private tour showing us the first air-conditioned ballroom in the U..S. and a backroom where Al Capone hung out and played cards. Apparently him and Elliott Ness stayed in the same hotel at the same time, unknown to the Treasury Agent.

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Rocketman

uploadscardimage9964749ca94b84-337b-4fee-b183-e5172f15b6c5.jpg950x534__filtersquality80I had to think about this movie for a couple days to let it sink in. Given that time to mull it over I have to say I was not impressed by Rocketman – the story of Elton John. Cathryn loved the movie so this review will give you both perspectives. She liked the music selection and thought the actors playing John as a child and adult (Taron Egerton) did a fabulous job.

The film accurately mimicked many of the rock star’s wild and crazy outfits, but made no attempt to play his music in the order the songs were released. Theatrical creativity must have been the point since the song lyrics were used to describe the events of the artist’s stage in life. Oddly enough, it was Bernie Taupin who wrote the lyrics and Elton added the music.

For me the story dwells too long on Reg Dwight’s (Elton John) woe is me childhood. They show us how he came up with his stage name – the second half taken from John Lennon, but that fact in not true. Granted, John was executive producer of the movie, but he obviously decided to portray his life as he perceived it and not as how it actually happened. Thus there are other historical inaccuracies.

I was also unimpressed with the movie being a fantasy musical. I thought it took away from many of the great songs that I love. Nothing in the reviews I read said anything about the format. Overall the movie was still entertaining with a couple of zen moments to put you in the zone.

I rated it a 5 and Cathryn a 10 out of 10.