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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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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