Well we made it home weary, tired, sore and in Kristen’s case broken.  The toll of not working out and eating like she does has caused her some pain.  We visited Doctor Barrick and he was able to get her started on recovery.  Her t-band on her left leg is very unhappy.  She drank some grapefruit juice and that is helping a lot to put some much needed vitamins and minerals into her body.  Hopefully in a week or so this will just be a distant memory.  I asked her if she regretted the trip, which was greeted with an emphatic no.  We had a lot of memories on this trip, we met a lot of really neat people.  We saw parts of nine states, countless cities, towns and burgs.  We visited old ghost towns.  Took pictures of a lot of cool old buildings and signage.  We saw sights that in ten years will be gone for ever.  The road itself is a long arduous journey that some times has nothing to look at.  I tried to imagine myself driving this road in the 1940’s.  How totally scary that must have been.  One flat tire or blown radiator and you probably died.  We encountered 118 degree heat in some areas, and we had the luxury of water and iced tea.   I can’t imagine seeing a sign with cross bones telling you 340 miles to the next water source, when you car only topped out at 40 miles an hour.   We saw tiny roads the were only nine feet across, we saw roads in flood plains that washed out regularly.   We truly live in the age of the pampered.  Even in our Ford focus, bad seats and garbage suspension, we still had it a hundred times greater than the poor shlub rocking in his 1917 Ford Model T.  We had air conditioning and Bluegrass on the radio.  I bet that they had bluegrass too, but we had over three hundred songs to listen to.  I imagine that Pops knew probably ten songs?   On the fifth go round of when the saints go marching in on Pops busted up fiddle , I bet little Timmy was ready to go postal.

I’m very impressed with the people we met that have been able to keep their business alive on a dead road that only has traffic on it three to four months out of the year.  I thought a lot about the empty gas stations, cafes and motels that we saw along the way.  How many were doing really well until the 44, 40, 15 and the countless other interstates moved in and pulled their customer base for all time.  I found myself thinking many times, wow I wonder what this looked like back in the day.

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Chicago downtown was amazing.   What man can do when all there is, is to build up.  The city was clean.  The roads we crap on a stick and yet the city keeps on inviting people to start the route with it’s best foot forward.   Yeah, I get it’s the murder capitol of the world, we fortunately did not encounter any of that drama.   The pizza was amazing and the people for the most part we friendly.

Alley day

Missouri likes to kill animals, especially Armadillos, those poor guys just can’t play Frogger for anything.  We met our first real cool guy at an old Sinclair filling station.  We almost skipped past him, so glad we didn’t.  Gary loves this road, it is his bread and butter.  He made us feel right at home and spent thirty minutes with us giving us some great ideas.  He is the one who sold up our yearbook, and we took his advice to make memories…and we did.

Gary 1

The Yearbook

The Yearbook

We stayed in iconic motels in Missouri and in New Mexico, both were better than we dreamed possible.  The Wagon Wheel is where you go on a honeymoon.  It was fantastic.  We both wished we had stayed longer.  The Blue Swallow in New Mexico was like being transported back in time.   I was fascinated with everything about it.

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Super models eat your heart out.

Super models eat your heart out.

We saw family that hasn’t been scene in eighteen years, and were treated like we never left.

The Whole Putman Clan.

The Whole Putman Clan.

We left Vegan-ism behind and did what Romans do in Rome.   We ate Wal-Mart fried chicken, picked at a guitar and swamped stories with most excellent people.  A Round Barn in Arcadia made us smile like we had never smiled on the road thus far.  A 86 year old man with the spunk of some one a quarter of his age telling stories and loving what he did.  Mr. Sam will always be fondly remembered.  We missed out the Rattlesnake Museum sign as it fell victim to age and wind.

The Spin

The Spin

We saw parts of Oklahoma we never ever thought we would see….mostly because we got lost.  THANKS TO THE CRAPPY GPS!  LIAR!!!!!  We found lost cities on those journey into the fringe.   We had ugly crust pie and cafe food.  We ate a steak in Texas and Seafood in Santa Monica.  We dreamed up children stories about a brave Windmill named Wendy.   We sang bluegrass songs to each other and tested our patriotism in singing the star spangled banner and the pledge of allegiance in St. Louis.

Oklahoma Sign

Oklahoma Sign

In Texas we saw that flat means FLAT.  Where you can see the curvature of the earth baby.   New Mexico greeted us with Sopapilla goodness and early onset back pain.   We Saw the Rio grande river and creepy graveyards with Uncle Rick in Albuquerque.

Kristen and Uncle Rick, by the Rio Grande.

Kristen and Uncle Rick, by the Rio Grande.

Arizona showed us were kitsch and wackiness reigns king.  We rode an rabbit (again) We dreamed of Two Guns and we saw many epic failures in the bones of old buildings.  Kristen took her picture with giant things!  We collect postcards and other memorabilia.   We have magnets o plenty and we came, we saw, we got the t-shirt.

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Memorabilia

Memorabilia

This trip was amazing fun.  I highly recommend you do it.  But give yourself time, get a year book, don’t be afraid to check a cooler as luggage.  Above all else, be ready to see America as Europeans want to see America.  A time lost to time, that only can be seen along the Mother Road.

Thank you for being apart of our great journey.  I for one thank you for your comments, you were all great fun.

May the road take you where you have never been.

Shane

The times we spent here will last with me forever. AND…we only saw about a third of it.  Can you imagine how much more is out there to discover?

Route 66 Needles to Fontana 010

After our mini vacation from our vacation in Laughlin, we headed out on the Needles Hwy to find Route 66. Route 66 Needles to Fontana 010 The liar who lies about lying while it’s lying GPS took us on the old Needles Highway and right to Route 66.  YEA!!! ummm but we missed Needles entirely.  Crud.  Well I have taken Kristen to Needles for an anniversary, cuz that’s how I roll yo.  So I have pictures for that portion of the road.  They do have some really old motels and a cool Wagon to meet you upon arrival into the city.  If you are in town check it out, it is really a cool spot on the road.

The old Needles Welcome Wagon

The old Needles Welcome Wagon

Another old Route 66 Motel.  Still open.

Another old Route 66 Motel. Still open.

After we realized that we were thirty miles from Needles we through up our hands and just kept moving.  We arrived in to a ghost town called Essex.  Essex has a cool story.

An old sign along the road.

An old sign along the road. There is no cafe or motel for miles around.

Back in he forties when folks were coming out west in droves, there weren’t many filling stations and water was at a premium.  Essex used to put out signs on the road to come to Essex we have free cold water.  They had a well that produced cold water and shared it with weary thirsty travelers.  The well is stopped up now, but it’s still there and you can see it if your looking for it.

Old Well when we passed it in 2012

Old Well when we passed it in 2012

Old well today.

Old well today.

Leaving Essex, we took pictures of the surrounding desert and finally arrived at Cadiz Summit.

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In Cadiz Summit there is an old (1930’s) Service station…ok the ruins are still there.  It is a hot spot for graffiti, lots of Route 66ers leave their mark here.  I guess since it’s been graffiti-ed for eighty plus years, why not add some more.  We declined to imbibe in that tradition.  I did explore a bit though.

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Check out the great bug killing machine.  Our Ford Focus.

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Thousands of bugs died for our entertainment. And for that bug-dudes we salute you!

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We really were on the road! Proof!

  If you have an opportunity to drive one for 2,800 miles…you should say no thank you.  Great gas mileage and it had a Sirrus radio which has a fun Bluegrass station – Channel 61 for those of you with musical taste.   But the seats are brutal and the suspension is garbage.

While on the road Kristen and I would sing random Bluegrass songs to each other, well because after listing to it for seven days, you begin to understand that you can sing about anything in Bluegrass and it sounds fun.   (*Banjo hits….Violin takes it up a notch, steel guitar starts in*….My dog sits at my feet, and the sun is very hot!  I think I would like some stew in that there pot!!  I wonder if trails around my house are haunted by a bear?  I don’t care, I will just sit and stare…Just sitting and a pickin’ that’s just what I’ll do!  well until mama says come have some stew!  *Banjo solo*)    I know it makes no sense most of the time, but it sure is fun!

We rolled up on the ghost town, or should be one, of Chambless.  Only an old cabin motel remains.  It is long out of business but a new sign sits out front.

Old Chambliss cabins

Old Chambliss cabins

Once we left Chambless we started for the shoe tree outside of Amboy.

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Shoe tossing!

We finally found the tree, that not only supports shoes from Route 66 visitors, looks like bras and panties have joined the mix.  I mean come on.  What are you supposed to do if you wear your good pair of flip flops?  *Face palm*

Here is the video of myself taking part in the Route 66 tradition.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10200656032156541&set=vb.1632643084&type=3&permPage=1  (Pt.1)

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10200656238561701&set=vb.1632643084&type=2&theater (Pt. 2)

Leaving the tree we came up on the old Roadrunner Retreat Restaurant.  I love this sign.  Probably my favorite of all the dead signs.  I had to crawl under a fence to get my shot, all in the name of SCIENCE I say!!

The sign is pretty big even from a far.

The sign is pretty big even from a far.

Road Runner Cafe

Road Runner Retreat Restaurant

My favorite shot.  The Roadrunners head is almost fallen off.  Soon it will be gone.

My favorite shot. The Roadrunners head is almost fallen off. Soon it will be gone.

After taking part in the tradition of littering and trespassing or however you look at it, we strolled into Amboy.

Road to Amboy

Road to Amboy

Entering in to Amboy.

Entering in to Amboy.

Iconic Roy's Cafe.  Serves cold drinks and souvenirs.

Iconic Roy’s Cafe. Serves cold drinks and souvenirs.

old Amboy School

old Amboy School

I took pictures of the old hotel and school.  The church across the way finally had it’s steeple fall in so I didn’t bother to take a picture.  Just looks like most of the buildings in Amboy.  White and crumbly.

Amboy is a fun little town that is trying very hard to stay alive.  One guy owns the entire town.  He has finally gotten the gas pumps back up and running, but is in need of a new septic tank.  We talked to one of the relatives that work in Roy’s.  He signed out yearbook and we bought our last shirt.

Leaving Amboy we can see the Amboy volcano.  It is the big hill to your left as you head to Santa Monica.

Dormant Volcano.  You can see the volcanic rock for miles in all directions.

Dormant Volcano. You can see the volcanic rock for miles in all directions.

In the 60’s when the town was still active and alive, some of the kids took tires and  old mattresses and tossed them into the volcano.  At night they lit the junk on fire and ran into town saying the volcano was active.  The locals freaked out until they realized the prank.  That would have been too fun see.

As we proceeded towards Ludlow we came across a stone building from what I can gather is in a dead part of the road called Siberia.

Old train depot

Old train depot

The building was a supply depot for the railroad.  As we headed out of the little area, we came across the tin can hell.  A ton of tin cans litter this portion of the desert.  I think it is were bad cans go when they die.  Over 120 degrees in the baking sun…till you rust away into nothingness?  It’s Tin Can Hell I tell you.

Tin Can Hell

Tin Can Hell

The last town on this stretch before you have to get back on Hwy 40 is Ludlow.  It still has a functioning cafe and motel.  Everything else in the town is dead.

The current cafe and motel.  Both still active.

The current cafe and motel. Both still active.

A long empty house in Ludlow.

A long empty house in Ludlow.

Dead cafe in Ludlow.

Dead cafe in Ludlow.

In the vain hope of reaching Los Angeles before rush hour we decided to skip Newberry Springs.  Newberry Springs has a couple of noteworthy things there.  One the Baghdad cafe, the 1988  movie was filmed there and there is a dead Motel just outside of town that looks awesome.  It too was in the movie.

Very cool looking Henning Motel.  You need a spot for a slasher flick...look no further.

Very cool looking Henning Motel. You need a spot for a slasher flick…look no further.

Far shot of the Henning

Far shot of the Henning

On the way to Barstow we pulled out some carrots.  Now Kristen has a super power, other than being cute, she can crunch loudly.  Like break glass loud.  As she bit into a carrot and wolf’s howled in the hills, she challenged me to a crunch off.  This was still like the old west out here, so I accepted her duel.  With Bluegrass music playing in the background, tumbleweeds rolling in the sand, we counted to three and chomped!

You don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull on superman’s cape and you don’t challenge Kristen in a crunch off.  Needless to say she was triumphant and to add a measure of insult her second crunch was even louder than the winning one.  If you challenge you will be humbled.  It is her super power.

Pulling a Rachael.

Pulling a Rachael.

We approached Barstow and we know there is a good Denny’s there so we stopped in for a quick lunch.  Across from the Denny’s is an old motel called the Desert Inn.  It looks old and is in need of a facelift.  There were a couple of still active old motels on the strip.

Old Sands in Barstow.

Old Sands in Barstow.

We took some pictures and made a run for Victorville and the other Route 66 museum I wanted to see.

Arriving in Victorville we quickly found old town and the museum.

Entry way to Route 66

Entry way to Route 66

The Victorville Museum.

The Victorville Museum.

Santa Monica or Bust Baby!!!

Santa Monica or Bust Baby!!!

I was so glad to find this place.  Bob and Larry were great hosts and had a lot of fun little stories of when they were on the road.  Bob let Kristen get up in the 1917 Model T and honk the horn.

Kristen going back in time.

Kristen going back in time.

We bought souvenirs for the kids back home and left.  This museum is a must see.  People from all over give them stuff from the road.  It has tons of old signage and other memorabilia.   Highly recommend it.  Clinton Oklahoma’s museum should take note.

Driving old school.

Driving old school.

I wanted to make one more stop before we made a straight shot to Santa Monica.  In Fontana there lives the last Orange stand in the land.  Back in the early 1900’s orange stand where everywhere.  Because believe it or not, Southern California was covered in Orange trees.  Anyway I wanted us to get a picture together there.

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Last Orange stand in the land

As we finished the picture a old guy named Joe Bono the owner of Bono’s right next to the Orange came over and said Hello.  He asked if we wanted to see inside Bono’s.  Of course we said yes.

Bono's

Bono’s

As we looked around, you could see that this place hasn’t been open for years.  Joe told Kristen that Joe’s parents owned this property since the 1920’s.  In the 30’s grapes were not doing so well.  his mom started selling Orange juice and the boom began.  Joe’s mom passed in 1995 and the restaurant closed shortly there after.  Joe is fixing up the place and is planning on reopening soon.  We wish him luck, he has a lot of work still to do.

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Kristen with Joe

Also in Fontana is another Wigwam Motel.  If you don’t want to travel to Holbrook Arizona, well hussel your bussel to Fontana.

Wigwams in Fontana

Wigwams in Fontana

Check them babies out.

Check them babies out.

Now with that out of the way and it closing in on 2:30pm, we were literally one hour away as the crow flies from the Santa Monica Pier.  But we had to go through the butthole of California to do it.  Chicago has NOTHING on L.A. when it comes to traffic.  L.A. can take two weeks of relaxation and kill it in less than an hour.  If an alien race came and sucked up all of L.A. in a giant vacuum cleaner then left I think I would be horrified by the loss of life, but I think…I think I would golf clap just a little.

The stop and go traffic is bothering Kristen’s back, hopefully we will get to Dr. Barrick tomorrow so he can fix her up.  If you need a good sport medicine doctor, he’s your man.  Yes, he is another unofficial, unknowing sponsor of the Shane and Kristen Excellent adventure.

For some reason the path to Santa Monica was almost a breeze.  We arrived a little before 4pm.  We grabbed out camera and headed for the last two shots of our trip.  The End of the Route sign

Done!  2802 miles, 9 states and not one argument over who's cuter.  She totally wins every time.

Done! 2802 miles, 9 states and not one argument over who’s cuter. She totally wins every time.

and the end of the pier sign.

Last shop on Route 66.  We bought a post card.

Last shop on Route 66. We bought a post card.

Taking a couple of pictures we knew we had done it.  2,802 miles in total.  Nine states and a ton of memories.  We thank each of you who came along for the ride.  I hope to work on compiling our blog and pictures into a table top book for us.  If you would like one, I hope to have it up for download soon.  Again, thank you.  There will be two more blogs after this one.  A reflection blog by each of us.

FINAL ROADKILL TALLY:

Unrecognizable: 27

Armadillo: 18

Rabbit: 12

Prairie Dog: 10

Raccoon: 7

Opossum: 7

Deer: 6

Coyote: 5

Bird: 4

Beaver: 3

Cat: 2

Skunk: 2

Dog: 1

Squirrel: 1

Turtle: 1

Vulture: 1 (I know it’s a bird…but this was a big bird!)

California had the least road kill followed by Arizona, but the winner of Deathrace 2013 was Missouri, followed by Texas.

Lastly, as we headed home, my wife was having Zoe withdraws.   We took this video, which is not great quality, of her reaction at not seeing her mama for ten days.  Enjoy.

Shane and Kristen excellent adventure as come to an end.  Till next time!

This morning we woke up and got ready to leave the hotel, it was slow going as Kristen’s back is out and she is in pain. I offered to take us home as we are really only eight hours from home. Kristen balked at the idea, she wants to see donkeys and she usually gets what she wants if I can help it. Holbrook has a lot of cool old restaurants and motels, especially the iconic Wigwam Motel. In the Cars movie it was the inspiration for the Traffic Cone Motel.

Wigwam Motel.  Inspiration for the Traffic Cone Motel.

Wigwam Motel. Inspiration for the Traffic Cone Motel.

Maybe how it looked in the 50's?

Maybe how it looked in the 50’s?

Again how it looked int he 50's?

Again how it looked int he 50’s?

Look how small these rooms are?

Look how small these rooms are?

After leaving there, we took a picture by a huge mural that had the entire road in drawn with high points on two very long walls.

We are here.

We are here.

After a few more old Motel pics we decided to head out on Route 66.

The Desert Inn.  Still operating.

The Desert Inn. Still operating.

Indian Trading Post.

Indian Trading Post.

An old tourist trap shop.  Now out of business.

An old tourist trap shop. Now out of business.

An old gas station, out of business.

An old gas station, out of business.

Old Route 66 Hotel.  Still operating.

Old Route 66 Hotel. Still operating.

Every off-ramp has some kitschy hook to get you off the road to get your money. We ignored many till…..Geronimo. The self-proclaimed world’s largest petrified tree was staring us in the face. Another giant thing? Must…take..picture. Ignoring her back pain, we got off the freeway to get the picture.

Kristen with the Giant Petrified Tree.

Kristen with the Giant Petrified Tree.

After Geronimo, we headed back out on Route 66.
After a few miles I saw it and I got all goose pimply and my inner five year old began jumping up and down in the back seat. Come Ride the Rabbit…stared me in the face and my face was happy! I want to ride a rabbit.

The sign that started a mission.

The sign that started a mission.

Once we got around the corner of the building, I knew that the fiberglass rabbit awaited, my five year old self was once again disappointed that it wasn’t a real rabbit, but 43 year old Shane was very pleased to be back where the love of the Mother Road started.

My five year old self giving my rabbit buddy a hug.

My five year old self giving my rabbit buddy a hug.

Giddie up little rabbit!

Giddie up little rabbit!

I talked with the owner and had him sign our Route 66 yearbook. I gave him a suggestion for a shirt…I rode the rabbit. Hopefully in five years when we head back I will get my shirt. I did pick up a Here it is rabbit shirt. Now all is well with the world. After buying enough junk to choke…well a rabbit we headed off.

Kristen and Shane by the sign that started it all.

Kristen and Shane by the sign that started it all.

Leaving Joseph City we headed to Winslow. Since it was in the Route 66 song I wanted to see it. It had some cool old motels.
We passed the original Meteorite City observatory.

Old Observatory.  Unable to get to it.

Old Observatory. Unable to get to it.

I tried to get a picture but the area was locked off.
Next is the coolest ghost town on the road in my opinion. Two Guns.

Old Two Guns...the ghost town.

Old Two Guns…the ghost town.

New Two Guns Ghost town.

New Two Guns Ghost town.

If you have a couple million dollars for a bad investment, I have an idea for ya. We buy Two Guns and turn it into a haunted house of the road. I tell you! It will make hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars!

The front view of old Two guns.

The front view of old Two guns.

Mountain Lions.  YES!

Mountain Lions. YES!

Two Guns has an old bridge that some say is still drivable.  Good luck with that.

Two Guns has an old bridge that some say is still drivable. Good luck with that.

More Ruins.

More Ruins.

Two Guns Ruins.

Two Guns Ruins.

I think it was a water shed.

I think it was a water shed.

She so hot, in 110 degree weather...she's cool.

She so hot, in 110 degree weather…she’s cool.

Dreaming of what I could do here with your money.

Dreaming of what I could do here with your money.

Cowboys in a ghost town.

Cowboys in a ghost town.

Taking a second, we took a couple pictures of the dried up tourist trap of Twin arrows. The route 66 committee in Arizona pays to have the arrows maintained. The original arrows are long gone.

Trading post from the front.

Trading post from the front.

Twin arrows cafe.  Closed for a long time.

Twin arrows cafe. Closed for a long time.

The iconic arrows.

The iconic arrows.

As we started back on the road we came across Winona. There are two things of note in Winona, an old bridge that Forrest Gump ran through in the movie and Shell gas station that was one of the oldest on the road. The gal working there gave me a free bumper sticker that says don’t forget Winona. Very cool. My man cave will thank you kind lady.

Run Forrest Run!

Run Forrest Run!

It was around two and Kristen wanted donkeys. One more stop before we headed there. We took off to find Seligman and the kitschy-est tourist trap on the road. Now I didn’t know this till I got here. Good for them, they are defiantly selling the crap out of being on Route 66.
In Seligman, we found an old bandstand. I took my wife, hurt back and all and slow danced with her, so we could always say we danced on the road and we danced in Seligman.

Tourist trap that looked awesome!

Tourist trap that looked awesome!

Old Snow Cone stand.

Old Snow Cone stand.

Tourist trap

Tourist trap

Her back hurt, but she is still ready to ride!

Her back hurt, but she is still ready to ride!

Old Copper cart Mexican food sign.  Still in business.

Old Copper cart Mexican food sign. Still in business.

My wife and headstones.

My wife and headstones.

Old Supai Motel.  Still serving travelers.

Old Supai Motel. Still serving travelers.

It was now 3pm and as we have found out on the road, although the sun sets at 8p the doors close in rural Arizona at 6pm. The Liar who Lies GPS told us that Oatman was an hour and half away, knowing this, we decided to bypass the rest of Route 66 and hustle to wear the donkeys are.
As we headed to Oatman the road got really twisted and showed us some awesome views.

Road side view.

Road side view.

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We found a Donkey crossing sign but didn’t see any donkeys…..till.

Donkeys Next eight miles....we didn't see any, just poo poos.

Donkeys Next eight miles….we didn’t see any, just poo poos.

Once we arrived at Oatman the donkeys greet us and freaked out Kristen. It was great.

Hey pretty lady.  You looking for some ass?

Hey pretty lady. You looking for some ass?

Hey you got carrots?  I smell carrots.

Hey you got carrots? I smell carrots.

No seriously, gimme some freakin carrots.

No seriously, gimme some freaking carrots.

I found a pregnant donkey just staring in an alley; I walked up on her and fed her some carrots we had. I then had a buddy for the next five minutes.

My pregnant buddy, all alone.

My pregnant buddy, all alone.

I feed my little buddy some carrots.

I fed my little buddy some carrots.

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Well I guess that makes us friends for life. Well at least till the next person to feed her comes along.

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I tried to break it gently that I was out of carrots and our affair was over.

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Finally I had to say goodbye.

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Kristen was glad she didn’t have any carrots. Though she did say if we come this way again she won’t be scared of the donkeys.

I finally got Kristen to take a picture with a donkey but she was still apprehensive.

Old building in Oatman

Old building in Oatman

Cool Mountain.

Cool Mountain.

Oatman hotel.

Oatman hotel.

Wild donkeys all over the place.

Wild donkeys all over the place.

the wild donkeys in the road.

the wild donkeys in the road.

After leaving Oatman we only had Laughlin to go. The Lying Liar who is a bit vindictive, GPS told us that we were only thirty minutes from Laughlin. All we had to do was take a left on Silver Creek road.
Well. Silver Creek road is a dirt road……yeah I have driven on plenty of dirt roads…once we got about a mile in we saw a sign that said Primitive road, drive at your own risk. SERIOUSLY? Fricken GPS of doom. In Rome do as the Romans do, has been our mantra. What the heck, let’s do it. The road was the most rural road we have ever been on. Kristen kept saying, well if we have a flat out here we are screwed. Three miles to Laughlin she said, I see civilization; at least we will make it there before nightfall. Finally, we hit the blacktop and were home free. I must say the sights were excellent on that road. In about ten minutes, we were at out Hotel and the Jacuzzi tub of hot watery goodness. We had a beer and I helped Kristen into bed to stretch out. I hope that two days of doing nothing will help her heal a bit before we head to the finish line, the Santa Monica Pier.

Getting up in the morning in Tucumcari was a treat, in the day time you can really see just how much work the owners have put in to restoring and keeping up The Blue Swallow Motel.

Our own garage. Little did I know that only vintage cars can be in the spots.  oops.

Our own garage.
Little did I know that only vintage cars can be in the spots. oops.

The front of the Motel

The front of the Motel

The world famous marquee.

The world famous marquee.

Kristen talking with the owner.

Kristen talking with the owner.

Super models eat your heart out.

Super models eat your heart out.

Once we left the Blue Swallow we decided to take in the other vintage motels in Tucumcari.

Lasso Motel.  All that remains of this place is the sign.

Lasso Motel. All that remains of this place is the sign.

Apache is still open, but looks to be barely hanging on.

Apache is still open, but looks to be barely hanging on.

Tepe's Curios.

Tepe’s Curios.

Motel Safari, this place looked really cool.

Motel Safari, this place looked really cool.

Another abandoned cafe.

Another abandoned cafe.

Americana is still operating.

Americana is still operating.

La Cita mexican food place.  Is still open.

La Cita mexican food place. Is still open.

Buckaroo Motel. Still open.

Buckaroo Motel.
Still open.

This old Cafe has seen better days.

This old Cafe has seen better days.

Old fast food joint, now out of business.

Old fast food joint, now out of business.

Once we left Tucumcari, we had to make a choice, head on to Holbrook Arizona or go back to Texas for pie….No brainer!  We turned around the car and headed back to Texas.   As we headed back to Adrian Texas, the official middle of the Mother Road.  There is a cafe that was owned by a woman named Flo who was the inspiration used for Flo in Cars.  She is the inventor of the ugly crust pie.  We came across a ghost town called Glenrio.  It has a few old buildings but is really…really dead.

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Dead Cafe in Glenrio

Another abandoned cafe.

Another abandoned cafe.

glen5

Old train bridge, now gone with the wind.

Abandoned gas station on the other side of the off ramp.

There are random windmills all along the strip to Adrian.  Why are they there?  We didn’t know.  They are not big so they don’t power anything, anyway we put that in the back of our minds, because Adrian was just around the corner.

Kristen is enjoying Peach and I'm enjoying Pecan.

Kristen is enjoying Peach and I’m enjoying Pecan.

Official midpoint marker.

Official midpoint marker.

The Mid Point Cafe - Home to the Ugly Pie.

The Mid Point Cafe – Home to the Ugly Pie.

Fabulous 40 Motel..not looking so fabulous.

Fabulous 40 Motel..not looking so fabulous.

Needed a Route 66 marker in Texas.

Needed a Route 66 marker in Texas.

Out front there were bikers from Germany that were tackling the road on their Harleys.  We met quite a few folks from Europe on the road.  We went in and the diner is a throwback to a long ago time.  It was really cool.  I half expected for Ralph, Ritchie and Potsie to step through the doors. We met the new owner of the Cafe and he was very attentive and was working very hard to make the cafe a new, fun experience.  We wish him luck.   Anyway we got to order pie and have the new owner sign our yearbook.   Just a note; the food here is diner food.  Like Mel’s diner.  It is what it is.  Though the pie was excellent.

From the midpoint we decided to do some quick pictures in some ghost towns but try and meet up with my Uncle Rick in Albuquerque by 2 pm.  We passed the Welcome to New Mexico sign to add to our collection.

This was way easier to do in the daytime, thanks New Mexico for welcoming us.

This was way easier to do in the daytime, thanks New Mexico for welcoming us.

As we passed Glenrio again this time heading west.  We came up with a great idea for a children’s book called Wendy the Windmill, about a 1920’s windmill that never gives up spinning even when the town dries up.  Eventually she is saved and put amongst giant windmills to give them inspiration to turn, turn, turn.  Never giving up even when everything around you looks bad, cuz you never know what will happen.  Coming to you soon!

 

Old Longhorn sign that will not last much longer.

Old Longhorn sign that will not last much longer.

Current Longhorn Motel of exit 203.

Current Longhorn Motel of exit 203.

Abandoned Whiting Bros. Gas sign.

Abandoned Whiting Bros. Gas sign.

We arrived in to Albuquerque around 2:30 pm and were able to hook up with my Uncle Rick.  He is in New Mexico working in the New Mexico State College IT department.   Since he is here alone for a while, we really wanted to show some family support and have lunch and hang with him for a while.  Once we picked him up he took us to Route 66 there in Albuquerque  where there is an old restaurant called the Frontier, both Kristen and I had Tortilla soup with chilies in it.  It was real good and the folks there were very friendly.

Old Frontier Restaurant on Route 66.  Good Tortilla soup.

Old Frontier Restaurant on Route 66. Good Tortilla soup.

Once we left the Frontier, Uncle Rick took us to the Rio Grande river!  The mighty river was flowing at three feet and looking like it needed some help.  It was cool to say we saw the Rio Grande.  John Wayne has nothing on us.  Well except money, fame, notoriety and world wide recognition.  But he’s dead…IN YOUR FACE JOHN WAYNE!

Kristen and Uncle Rick, by the Rio Grande.

Kristen and Uncle Rick, by the Rio Grande.

After lunch we decided to start the GREAT SOPAPILLA ADVENTURE!!  Uncle Rick guided us to downtown where we tried to remember where we had sopapillas the last time we were here.  We asked the locals, “Hey do you know where the Rattlesnake Museum is?”  Because the museum is right by the restaurant we went to before.   We got a lot of no’s and we think maybe over there?  Finally Kristen asked a store owner where to buy sopapillas.  He recommended a restaurant down the street.  Walking in 90 degree heat looking for sopapillas was starting to loose it’s luster.  Undaunted, Kristen found the restaurant an asked if they had sopapillas.  “Sorry we are the only restaurant here that doesn’t make them.”  I think Uncle Rick was able to find us a map.  Once we had that little beauty in our hands it was off again to fulfill the quest.  We headed around a corner and found a little cafe.  It didn’t look right to me, but hey maybe they remodeled.  Kristen ran in and ordered two sopapillas.  A few minutes later we had the prize and were heading back to the car.  As we drove out of downtown, I saw the were the holy grail of sopapilla goodness resided.  It was too late we were leaving to take Uncle Rick back to work.  As we drove Route 66 back to his place of employment, Kristen ate the second rate sopapillas like a crackhead in need of a fix.   She asked if we wanted some, but it was half hearted, and if we said yes, we could be putting our life in danger…maybe.  Once we said our goodbyes to our most excellent Uncle Rick who also signed our Route 66 yearbook, I had an idea.

If you don’t succeed, try try again.

“Hey Kristen?”

“Yeah”

“Want to get more sopapillas?  This time at the place we bought before?”

“No…it’s ok.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah………*sigh*”

“I don’t believe you…lets go get some more.”

“Ok…I really want some, let’s do it.”

THE QUEST WAS ON AGAIN!!

Sopapilla with honey. or the holy grail of yummyness.

Sopapilla with honey.
or the holy grail of yummyness.

Once the quest was properly fulfilled we knew we had a long drive to Holbrook Arizona.  I wanted to stop at a couple of towns along the way to visit some more ghost towns.  Kristen’s back started to rebel at not being able to run miles and miles.  This trip does have a margin of stamina to it.  You eat badly, don’t exercise and you drive for hours and hours.  Your body starts to fight back, or break down. I am trying to make her as comfortable as possible, soon we will be in Laughlin and she will be able to relax and stretch out for a couple days before we finish the route.

Monterey Motel iin Albuquerque.

Monterey Motel iin Albuquerque.

The Doghouse. You can get a Frito pie here.

The Doghouse. You can get a Frito pie here.

The old El Rey.

The old El Rey.

A Pop n' Taco!  It's out of business but my 5 year old self was impressed.

A Pop n’ Taco! It’s out of business but my 5 year old self was impressed.

An old motel still in business in Albuquerque.

An old motel still in business in Albuquerque.

Found this abandoned train in the middle of nowhere.

Found this abandoned train in the middle of nowhere.

We decided to skip the rest of the road to make a run to Holbrook to get Kristen out of the car.  We arrived at 9pm and checked in. Lucky for us there was Denny’s right next door to the Best Western in Holbrook.  Unfortunately the Denny’s in Holbrook SUCKED!!  Worst Denny’s we have visited thus far.  If you have to stay in Holbrook, stay in the Best Western, awesome customer service, but avoid the Denny’s.

We did get a couple of motels in the dark.

The Sahara.  Looks way better at night.

The Sahara. Looks way better at night.

The Mesa, it too looks better at night.

The Mesa, it too looks better at night.

Finally we went to bed, but I swear our room was haunted.  I kept feeling like some one was following me around in the room.  Kind a creepy.  I prayed a bit and finally just blew it off as nerves, because we did visit a a lot of ghost towns.  LOL.  Hitchhiking Ghost are wanting to follow you home!  Whatever.  Anyway tomorrow we get to see the inspiration for the traffic cone motel in cars and Wild Donkeys!!

We left the fine folks of Norman Oklahoma at 10:30a.m.

Kristen with her Aunt Carrie

Kristen with her Aunt Carrie

Group hug goodbye

Group hug goodbye

Ya'll come back now ya hear?

Ya’ll come back now ya hear?

and went and found a health food store that by the grace of God had BJ’s Licorice.   If you never had BJ’s Licorice, well you can’t have any of mine!  Get your own!  Seriously best licorice in the universe.  Enough of that.  We decided to visit the Round Barn in Arcadia on Route 66 to start back on our adventure.  Well you see they have these things called turnpikes….and turnpikes cost money.  How much money you ask?  Well there is the fun!!  It’s a mystery until you get off the turnpike.  We paid three times in Oklahoma.  I get it, they use it to fix their roads, which by the way for the most part were great.  So, the first time we saw a sign we were going to pay $4.00.  When we got off the freeway, some old dude told us it cost $0.50.  Sweet!  That was cheap, the second time..was because I wasn’t listening to the GPS and went all Disneyland guest and went right when I need to go straight….so after twenty one miles trapped on the turnpike.  We finally got off at the first off-ramp…there was a bowl with a red light daring us to go through……the bowl of doom wanted $1.25.  What the smack?  Kristen luckily had that in her coin purse.   Once the bowl of doom was appeased, the light turned green, much to the joy of the locals behind us hating on the Dummies with the Illinois plates, we then passed on through….to ROUTE 66!!  What were the odds?  The third?  Well, let’s not talk about that one ok?  it cost $4.00.

Oklahoma Sign

Oklahoma Sign

As we headed down the road we came across a couple of old Motels that were now gone but the signage remains.

Gone and almost forgotten

Gone and almost forgotten

I think it is for Patio Furniture

I think it is for Patio Furniture

Further down we found an old part of the road that is now inaccessible and an old drainage outlet from the 1920’s still doing it’s job.

1930's Concrete road, leads to homes now.

1930’s Concrete road, leads to homes now.

Old road that no will ever drive again.  Circa 1920's

Old road that no will ever drive again. Circa 1920’s

Old 1928 Drainage Ditch

Old 1928 Drainage Ditch

Finally after searching we came across the Famous Round Barn.  They made a few round barns with the thought that tornadoes would just go around a round barn but tear the hell out of a square one for not being part of the round family…..yeah.  The flawed logic must of really hurt sales.  But this one survived to shower us with it’s thatched roof goodness and of course the most excellent Mr. Sam.

red barn 1

The Round Barn

k with Mr. San

Kristen with Mr. Sam

S with Mr. Sam

Shane with Mr. Sam

Mr. Sam also owns the first gas station ever in Oklahoma.  The history of this place was creepy to say the least.

1st gas station in Oklahoma.  Home of many nefarious deeds.

1st gas station in Oklahoma. Home of many nefarious deeds.

But back to Mr. Sam.  Mr. Sam is 86 going on 87.  He is the story teller of the Round Barn, a super cool dude who everyone should have the pleasure to meet.  He is funny and a ladies man.  The round barn doesn’t allow square dancing in the dance hall…because it’s a round barn.  Duh.  Sam does know the waltz and has a couple other stealthy moves on the dance floor.  After asking me for permission to dance with my wife, he set out to teach her the waltz.  Ever vigilant in my video camera skills, I left it in the car, thus almost missed out on sharing this once in a lifetime experience.  But I did have the camera.  So I do have a few stills of Mr. Sam dancing with my wife.

The start

The start

The Spin

The Spin

The fail.

The fail.

The finale part 1

The finale part 1

The restart

The restart

The Spin

The Spin

The home run!

The home run!

Needless to say, we had a blast here.  Mr. Sam signed our yearbook of Route 66 and showed us the Sky Hook.  Not the basketball shot, the toy from the past he makes on his spare time.  It defies your belief in the laws of physics, even though it is totally physics.  I will show you if you want to see it when we get back.  My regret is I didn’t buy all he had for souvenirs.  So sorry everyone.  Maybe I can get on there website and have them send me a box…hummmm.

After we left the most excellent Mr. Sam we proceed to head into Oklahoma City.  We found a couple of businesses that have been around since the 30’s.

The Glancy, still operating.

The Glancy, still operating.

Round-Up Cleaners. Guess electricity is cheap in OKC.

Round-Up Cleaners.
Guess electricity is cheap in OKC.

The Tower Theater. Currently under remodel.

The Tower Theater.
Currently under remodel.

Charcoal Oven Hamburgers.  Serving Burgers since the 30's.

Charcoal Oven Hamburgers. Serving Burgers since the 30’s.

Once in the heart of OKC we got lost…I mean we were looking for the bean?  Ok…we were lost and trapped in OKC.  Finally cooler heads prevailed and we went to eat at the slowest Panera known to man and their not sure what spinach is.  Hey could have been an isolated event.  But I like to think they don’t know what spinach is….it’s funnier.

After talking with the Hertz GPS guy we got a turn by turn of Route 66 programed into our GPS….Yeah!  no…not really.

As we headed out the GPS lied lies that liars lie about when they lie!!!  We were lost again…but with Kristen on Full.  She came to the rescue of the pilot and found us the 44 Freeway and a straight shot to Route 66 outside OKC.  For her troubles she was rewarded with this…..

Garth Brooks Blvd.

Garth Brooks Blvd.

Toby Keith’s house now Garth Brooks Boulevard?  Will wonders never cease?

After that blessing…LOL..we finally escaped OKC after four hours.  We decided to head for Clinton and the Route 66 Museum.   As we headed towards Clinton we found a ghost town called Foss where we found the super creepy Kobel’s Place a former cafe and Greyhound bus stop.

The side

The side

The front

The front

A little ways down we found the Cotton Boll.  The sign still looked pretty cool.  It is now a private residence.

Cotton Boll Now a private home

Cotton Boll
Now a private home

After leaving Foss we were off to find the Route 66 Museum.  But…we went looking for the Bean again…..dang it!!  This time we got so far off track we ended up on CR1000.  Country Road 1000.  We saw flat fields, giant windmills and finally the small town of Araphao.  It had a post office and a correctional facility.   Yep….found The Bean…again, after mailing off a postcard we were able to get the lying liar who lies GPS to find us a way to Clinton.

We arrived at 4:30 p.m and paid out money to check out the “Best Route 66 Museum on the road”….ok..it was cool, it had some neat stuff.  But the best?  No I don’t think so.  It was a Disney ride…as much as you want to believe your on a boat in the Caribbean…ummm your not, and those pirates…there not real either.  Nothing was authentic, except the old cars and maybe the first exhibit.   I did find a cool shirt, but nothing stayed with me except the home movies.  That was cool.  I would not visit here again if I do this run again.  Yes I’m already thinking about it.

With time not on our side we need to hustle if we wanted to make Tucumcari, New Mexico in this lifetime.  Again, we had to skip portions of the road.  I’m beginning to understand that I underestimated the time to do this journey right.

As we ran for the border I need to get a picture in Sayre OK.

Stovall Theater Not open, under remodel.

Stovall Theater
Not open, under remodel.

And the iconic U-Drop Inn in Shamrock.

Famous U-Drop Inn Seen in Cars.

Famous U-Drop Inn
Seen in Cars.

Really pushing time, I knew we would never get to sleep if we didn’t stop and get on Hwy 40.

The good things about heading west is you get a little time back as you cross from Central to Mountain.  Finding this out we decided to take a chance and get some grub.  Now what do two mostly Vegan want to eat when entering in to Texas?

Enter Texas.

Enter Texas.

That’s right.  A steak!

Big Texan Steak House Home to the 72 oz steak.

Big Texan Steak House
Home to the 72 oz steak.

As we got off the freeway we made a call to the Blue Swallow letting them know we would not be there till midnight and to hide key.  Which they did by the way.  Super cool folks owning that place.

Back to the steak house, we decided that since we had eaten a corn dog at the first corn dog stand in the world and we ate fried chicken with the Putmans.   What the heck…let really blow the vegan thing up and have a steak.  Plus I didn’t want to face Mark and Carol without having a steak in their home state.  We split a 10 oz steak which was huge!!!  But we muddled through it.  The Big Texan Steak house in Amarillo has a challenge.  If you can eat a 72 oz steak with all the trimming in an hour, it’s free.  For the math impaired that is over five pounds of food.  The average person can hold up to 2.5 lbs of food A DAY!  6,200 people have done it since 1960.  Two dudes from Norway were going for it when we were there.  The bigger of the two dudes was sweating big time and looking like he wanted to puke fifteen minutes in.   If your ever here the atmosphere is something to say the least.  While we were here we found two more giant things for Kristen to take her picture with.

Giant Texas Lizard

Giant Texas Lizard

Giant Cow

Giant Cow

Another angle with the giant cow.

Another angle with the giant cow.

With Kristen and myself fed we made one stop to the Cowboy Motel that is still in operation in Amarillo.

Cowboy Motel

Cowboy Motel

Finally we made the long journey to Tucumcari, New Mexico and the Blue Swallow Motel.  We were so late, that they had turned off the neon for the night and changed our room from Room 1 to Room 12.  At first I was a little mad, then realized Room 1 is right on the street.  Room 1 was hidden in the back.

blue wallow 1The room itself is done in a 1960’s train motif.  Old phones, radios and magazines are through out the room.  It was a very cool experience.  I recommend it for the nostalgia factor.

Tomorrow I will try and catch up, but getting in so late on Monday I was shot.  It is now Midnight on the 25th so I’m going to crash out in our Holbrook Best Western Hotel Room.  I will give you this teaser..we go back to Texas, because I need me a slice of Ugly Crust Pie!

This morning we woke up and headed back to Route 66.  We both made the decision to get a couple more pictures in Tulsa then head to Norman to meet up with the Putman Family.

Old Hotel Sign Could make out What it said, but it did offer Free Coffee!

Old Hotel Sign
Could make out
What it said, but it
did offer Free Coffee!

Far away shot of the Motel

Far away shot of the Motel

Daytime shot of the Oasis Motel.

Daytime shot of the
Oasis Motel.

Another old motel called the  Brookshire.

Another old motel
called the
Brookshire.

Norman was an hour and half away so we, got on Hwy 44 and began our break from the Mother Road.   As we got closer to Norman we saw the crazy devastation the tornado caused in Moore OK.  A hospital looked a monster ripped through.  Later in the day we were taken to a couple of neighborhoods that were gone.  Neighborhoods that look just like ours.  It was a scary humbling experience.  Toby Kieth is a resident of Oklahoma and he going to be doing a benefit concert soon.

Kristen was taken to the home of Toby Keith, while I slept in the front seat.  Hey writing a blog till two in the morning will take it out of you.

Toby Keith's Front Gate

Toby Keith’s Front Gate

His house. Can we say stalker?

His house.
Can we say stalker?

Earlier we had a Putman Family reunion in our honor.  It was a lot of fun meeting new family and getting to rock out with an electric guitar.  If you turn the sound down real low and use your three cord banjo picking technique you too can fit in.  LOL.

Kristen with her Aunt Dorthy and Uncle Dane.

Kristen with her Aunt Dorthy and Uncle Dane.

Kristen and April

Kristen and April

Shane rocking out with Jerry and Tim.

Shane rocking out with Jerry and Tim.

Wanna hear me rock out?  If you listen closely, will not hear me what so ever, as I turned down the volume on my guitar.  But I feel cool.

The Whole Putman Clan.

The Whole Putman Clan.

On behalf of myself and my lovely wife, we want to thank with all our hearts everyone who hung out with us and made us feel at home.  A huge shout out to Dorthy and Dane for welcoming us into their home.  We hope to see you on our side of the world one day, but we will be back.  Santa Monica to Chicago is already calling out my name.

Tomorrow we will head back to the Mother Road and back track a bit.  We will finally end up in Tucumcari, New Mexico and a possible run in with my Uncle Rick and soapapillas.

After adventures with the deluge yesterday we knew that today was going to be better and we were not disappointed.   In the morning we got up and had breakfast, then went to meet the gals that really hooked us up at the Wagon Wheel.

ww1 ww2

 

I can not tell you enough just how much we enjoyed that Motel.    After we bought a shirt we said our goodbyes and headed back out on the mother road.

 

 

 

 

Not even five miles down the road we found a giant rocking chair.   I mean Green Giant big.  Kristen likes to collect two things.  Magnets of fun places she has been for our refrigerator and pictures of her with giant things…..Abe Lincoln’s in Wagons, White Buffalos, Roosters, Chairs, Bowling Pins….basically if it’s huge she has to have a picture with it.

Giant Abe Lincoln

Giant Abe Lincoln in a Wagon

Giant Buffalo

Giant White Buffalo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giant Chicken

Giant Rooster

Giant Chairbowling for Kristen

 

So when we rolled up on the giant rocking chair I knew today was going to be a good day.

Giant Rocking Chair

 

 

After taking a few pictures we went in to see if we could go 2 for 2 and find a cool magnet.   Well…I think we passed on the magnet but I did find some Moonshine!  100 proof!  The Iowa blood in me giggled and then grabbed it like a seagull in Nemo.  MINE!! MINE!!  After calming down I was able to decide on the moonshine with cherries in it.  Yes!!

After quelling my inner redneck we got back in the car and headed back on the Mother Road.

We visited a lot of little towns and took a lot of urban decay pictures.

_MG_2296 _MG_2323 _MG_2298 _MG_2289 _MG_2282 _MG_2280 _MG_2279 _MG_2274

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until we met Gary at a little town in Paris Springs Missouri.  Gary owns a totally refurbished Sinclair station in the the 30’s and 40’s vein.  He was so much fun, Gary was a former Sinclair Attendant and still has the hat a suit to prove it.  We bought a book that turned out to be a really good find.  Images of Route 66 by David Wickline.  What a superior book, it has been recently updated.  Anyone thinking about doing any part of this trip will want to have this book.

Gary 1 Gary 2 Gary 5 Gary4 ZGary3

After spending time with the flirtatious little guy we moved on down the road.

 

 

It was time to find Tow Mater.  Since it was a while down the road till we found him we took more pictures of the road and even found us the Route  66 Drive In.

66 drive in

 

Still only 4 p.m. and still needing to get to Oklahoma City, I knew we would not get to see a movie here tonight…..guess I will just have to come back again.  Hustling down the road we found Galena Kansas.  Home to Tow Tater the inspiration for Tow Mater for Disney’s Cars.

tater1

We took a lot of pictures in Galena, The Cars movie people used a couple places in Galena as inspiration.  It was cool to see some of the real places used.  Once we left Galena, we had to make a decision.   Make a run for Norman Oklahoma where Kristen’s family is waiting on us, or take our time and stay the night in Tulsa, get up early and head over to Norman refreshed and excited.  Luckily we picked the later, I don’t know if we would have made it into Norman by midnight.  After making our schedule change, we made a run for the Blue Whale.  All along taking in more old buildings.

IMG_0873

 

 

 

 

IMG_0870

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0883

 

 

 

 

_MG_2391

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kristen ready to filler up!

Kristen ready to filler up!

 

We were ten minutes out from the Blue whale when we got to see a spectacular Oklahoma sunset.

sunset OklahomaAs we were about to reach the Whale, I made discovery.  Did you know they have a fast food restaurant named Taco Mayo. tm2 Let that sink in for a minute.  Taco.  Corn tortilla cooked probably in lard, beef, usually low grade beef with lots of fat in it, put in some cheese…add sour cream, beans with lard and since we are watching our weight some lettuce and tomato.  Ok.  We have achieved taco goodness……wait.  Something is missing……plate?  Check, fork?  Yep…Hot sauce?  Yeah that’s good…but something is still missing?  OH I KNOW!  Let’s add Mayo!…..What the smack??????!!  Ok, nevermind I don’t want to know.  Change the subject.  Hey did you know that as of Cuba me and Kristen have been keeping a road kill tally?  oh too soon?  Yucky?  Sorry hey Kristen can sing Blue Grass!  Take a listen to this!

https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10200614195310646&notif_t=video_processed

Finally after going crazy from hunger and getting tired, we found the Blue Whale.

 

_MG_2408After meeting all our goals for the day it was time to visit our new Hotel.  It is another Best Western that has passed the bed bug test and also had high marks from previous guests.  We arrived after 8pm and quickly took showers since only the awesome humidity we have been slogging through can get rid of that yucky new car smell in a rental car ya’ll.

Finally we found food we could eat…Denny’s!  After Pizza and a Corn Dog, we were tempting fate eating the crazy food that is along Route 66 (See rant on Taco Mayo)

After leaving Denny’s I saw this as an opportunity to get a night picture of one of the old Motels along Route 66, The Oasis.

 

_MG_2431Tomorrow will be a quick day on the road, as we will basically hit Tulsa to Oklahoma City and then break off till Monday morning as we will be spending the day with Aunt Dorthy and the rest of Kristen’s family.  I do plan on going back to the day one on Route 66 blog and add a couple things my sleep addled brain forgot and add a lot of pictures, so I encourage you to relive day one again tomorrow night.

Thanks for coming along for the ride with us!  Many more days to come!

We made it to Cuba!  No, not the island,  Cuba  – Missouri!  Why they named Cuba is beyond me.  You would think someone would have vetoed that back on the 60’s but whatever.  Today we said good-bye to Chicago.  It treated us well.   Once we checked out of our Hotel we made our way to some Vegan cuisine and then to the post office to send out a postcard.  Finished with our tasks we headed back to the parking lot of the Best Western.   Before I go on, I would like to warn anyone staying here about a couple of things.  First off, the free parking is sparse; if you get one, covet it like a mad person.  Thus why we walked everywhere, if you don’t get one of the early spots you have to valet your car at a nominal fee I’m guessing.  And please!  Would someone teach the staff to smile?  Seriously, they we professional but very standoffish.   Oh and the vending machines suck!  Bring your own water.  The Machines will just eat your money.

Finally, we found Route 66, you would think it would be easy, except street repairs were going on.  Luckily, we found another coveted parking spot and were able to take a starting picture.  As we headed west out of Chicago we made a startling discovery.  Once you pass over I90.  All City sound stops and you can hear bugs and birds.  It was surreal how quickly that happened.  Chicago is in desperate need of someone who can manage their street division.  Street lines are barely visible, street signage sucks and taxi drivers are the devil.  Seriously!  They drive like crazy people.   So before I left, I honked at a few just for giggles.  They weren’t doing anything wrong, but they didn’t know that.  Just trying to even the playing field out in the shark tank.

Now out of Chicago we started out journey to Cuba Missouri.  It should take us eight hours to get there via the standard freeway, Route 66 on the other hand would take much longer.    I made a big error in how much time it would take.  Due to all the little areas that want you to stop and see, plus the thunderstorm that dumped buckets of water on us, time flew by and the sun was setting.  We barely got in the Rabbit Ranch before darkness took over.  Once we reached St. Louis we mutually agreed to take the freeway to Cuba just so we would sleep before midnight.

We arrived at 10:30 p.m. to the Wagon Wheel Motel.  This hotel so far rocks!  Jacuzzi bathtub, huge room, refrigerator and beautiful décor, money well spent.  Highly recommend this place.  Best thing though is the customer service; the women here have been really accommodating to us and went above and beyond.

I will add pictures tomorrow of some of the sights we did get to see before the deluge.  There will be Muffler Men, and a giant rooster.  WHAT?  you say?  That’s right a giant rooster.

Tomorrow we head to Oklahoma City and get to meet Kristen’s family.  I look forward to it!

We survived day two.  We packed in a lot of stuff!  Including a eight mile walk around downtown Chicago.  Now mind you, the walk should have been half that, but we don’t do anything half way.  We go for it baby.  Let me back up a bit.  This morning we neeeeeeeded to find toilet paper. Real toilet paper not this see through chainsaw like stuff the city seems to have EVERYWHERE!  After that we found a Native Food restaurant that of course made us both happy.  We decided to walk to the Navy Pier.  This was one of the two attractions I purchased in advance.  Well….umm…ok.  I wish I did a little more research.  The Pier has a cool Ferris wheel which we took a bunch of skyline pictures.

K & S on a Ferris Wheel

On the Ferris Wheel

Navy Pier Entrance

Navy Pier Entrance

 

Everything else was for little kids.  The miniature golf course was really small, I bet even Jacob and Nathan would give me a run for my money on that course….just saying.  Not to rub it in still….LOL.   Ok.  So the park was for little guys.  If you come to Chicago I do recommend the pier for the Ferris Wheel and the stained glass museum.  I was really impressed with the 1890 stuff.  Bros had talent.  We found a few truly outstanding pieces with women in them that were anonymous.  My wife commented they were probably done by women.  I have no doubt.

Stained Glass

1890’s Stained glass Awesomeness,

While we were in the museum, Kristen had to take a break so I stood outside looking at the murals.  A group of teenagers came through from what looked like a school.  Since they were all in uniform.  One young girl had her hands folded and looked…well..stupid.  She basically yelled out “This is stupid, and boring.  I hate this.”  I had to shake my head.  So much beauty made by people that had limited resourced from our point of view and still knocked it out of the park.  I felt sad for her, I guess if it wasn’t rap music or graffiti art she wasn’t down.  Well I for one 1890’s dude, appreciate your skill.

 

When we left the Pier we decided to find us some Chicago pizza everyone raves about.  A young girl named Melissa was selling Ice cream and sodas when we walked by.  So I asked her where do you get the famous pizza?  She told us in her thick British accent that she had only been here for three weeks, that Gino’s was the best she ever had.  So off to Gino’s we went.  We looked at a map, set our GPS and starting walking….and walking….and when we were done with that…we walked some more.  And when we thought we were almost there, we walked even further….and finally we found it!  The Bean!

Parallel Universe awaits

Parallel Universe awaits

Now the Bean was on my list of stuff to check out.  A artistic marvel in the center of a park, where rumor has it you can meet your parallel you.  We took some pictures and met our other us’s.  So mission accomplished!

bean 2

Shane high-fiving Shane from Earth 2

bean 3

Were going to make it after all!

                 Bean 1

Kristen meeting Kristen of Earth 2

 

oh pizza…crap!  That’s right.  What does the GPS say?  Right by our Hotel!!???  Crud.  Well walking is fun!

We walked passed the Chicago Tribune building and Wrigley tower.  I’m pretty sure Mike Hoskins…I found where the vampires live in Chicago.  I took some pictures.

Betcha Vampires live here.

Betcha Vampires live here.

 

Finally we found Gino’s.  It was only a five minute wait to get in.  But a 45 minute wait for the pizza.  They don’t even mix the dough till your order comes through.  We got a veggie pizza with no cheese.  Kristen was beside herself and no not in that parallel universe kind of way, but with hunger gnawing at her bones.  Luckily we got a salad or my left arm was coming on the menu.  After fifty minutes our pizza arrived.  I have to tell you, I get it.  The crust was fully cooked.  Almost like a soft cracker.  The sauce was good, not the best I have had, but I will say that Gino’s pizza gets a solid 8.5 from me and I have pounded me a lot of pizza so I know…oh I know.  Plus the service of Mike and Meriah was exceptional.

After dinner we went to the hotel to change clothes and head to the Willis tower.  The walk from our hotel was only about two miles and we saw some crazy skylines.

Skyline 2

Skyline during the day

 

Skyline 4

Skyline at night

 

Chicago is very cool looking at night.  On our way to the tower we met Chuck, who saw us trying to figure out if we were looking for the Bean again.  He set us on the path but then hit me up for a sandwich.  Five bucks later we were on the right path and we had a story.

Willis tower is big…. 103 Stories big.  Biggest building in the Northern Hemisphere big.  Sounds like fun!  We went on a elevator ride that was 18 miles an hour.  My ears popped and my head swam.  It was interesting to say the least.  Unfortunately the mist from the lakes was coming in and we only had about twenty miles of visibility.    My camera was giving me problems, only Kristen’s phone was able to get us a half way descent picture.  This experience was worth seeing.  If in Chicago you need to stop on by and check this out.   You can do the Ferris Bueller and lean over the city and look down.  The one thing missing was this combined with Extreme Scream at Knott’s, that would be awesome!

 

 

Over looking the edge

Over looking the edge

 

 

 

 

Me & Kristen 103 stories up!

Me & Kristen 103 stories up!

 

Finally we headed back two more miles to our hotel room to enjoy the unofficial beer of the Shane and Kristen’s excellent adventure, Blue Moon Pale Ale.  Kristen wanted a picture of a seedy Chicago alley, where we can not confirm or deny that someone was shanked with an ice pick, but after looking at this alley….you decide.

Chicago 071

Dark Alley……If you dare.

Alley day

Even during the day…you could get shanked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honking your horn out here has a code.  If your a pedestrian and you jaywalk, you get honked at by taxi’s and normal drivers alike.  If your a normal driver and you use the customary merge with out blinker techinque that everyone here uses, a taxi will honk at you.  When the light turns green and your not a 1/3 of the way through the intersection you get honked at.  It got so bad that when the crossing light turned to walk Kristen would honk at me if I was too slow getting off the curb!  Though taxi’s are the shark in these here waters, the shark eating whale is the bus.  You cross swords with those monsters you will get honked at.  So the order of the food chain bottom first is:

1. People/bicyclists

2. Cars

3. Taxi’s

4. Buses.

The moral here?  Be a bus.  You get to honk at everyone.  Or be a taxi.  There are more of you.

Totally like L.A. here.

 

Tomorrow we start what we came all this way for.  Muffler men!!!  No..No..No….Route 66!!  …and Muffler men!!!  So wish us luck and throw up a safety prayer as we head to St. Louis and the Arch.

Shane

Well the flight was mostly boring, the kids on board were good.  Slight turbulence but that was about it.  United gave us a good experience.  I guess the only think I would have to say negatively was the flight attendants hate their jobs.  Only one, Debbie Davis smiled.  Everyone else was pissed off you wanted a freaking coke.  Don’t know what that was all about but Captain Dan hook us up by catching a tail wind.  We arrived twelve minuted late.  Not bad Captain Dan, not bad at all.

20130619_161045

When we got off the plane, I guess the only thing that struck me about O’Hare was that the bathrooms had automatic seat cover machines.  yeah that’s not weird.  Also they use 1/4 ply toilet paper.   Seriously what’s the point?  Just hit us with a air blower.  Cheapskates.

We got our baggage and headed out to find a taxi.  We got in the line for one of the taxi’s who also were in line waiting for us.  Our cabbie came out, took our bags and asked where we were going.  That’s it.  Nothing else.  No, how are you?  What are you doing in this fine city?   My you are a dashing couple.  Nothing.  Not a word.  But dude drove like he had cops after him.  The taxi website I mentioned in a previous blog had me shelling out 47.00 or so.  Dude got us there with 37.00 on the meter.  So I tipped him pretty well.  He didn’t kill us and he saved me money off my budget.  Good man!  Random taxi driver with no name plate in your taxi!  Well done.

We checked into our hotel with little fan fare.  Lucky for us, we got a pretty cool room.  Now everything is old here.  No bedbugs, we checked. It just has that really old building feel.  Since I’m on the hunt for old buildings, I’m pretty happy.

20130619_222756This is our view.

Chicago reminds me a lot of Vegas and downtown San Diego.  We walked to a place called Rock Bottom.  Hey I’m a wrestling fan, this could be good.  No wrestling but it was a fairly high end place.  What the heck you only live once.  I discovered a new beer called White Ale.  Pretty good stuff, the atmosphere was pretty cool as the Blackhawks were in the Stanley Cup finals and the folks in there were pretty excited.   After dinner we headed back to the hotel were Kristen enjoyed her free time, by jumping on the bed and here I am sharing with you.  Tomorrow we tackle central time and try and get up to get our rental car.  We also will be hitting Navy pier which is just down the road from us and the old Sears tower, now called the Willis tower.  Whatcha you talking about Willis?  Sorry had to.  See you all tomorrow.

Shane