Getting Our Kicks on Route 66

In case you haven’t checked recently, I’ll remind you that Memphis is not actually anywhere near Santa Fe, our final stop before home, so the road trip since Memphis included a LOT of ROAD. Some of it was even green and gorgeous, some surprising–like a huge Benedictine Abbey and finding ourselves suddenly in Paris (um, Arkansas, NO resemblance)–and of course, a lot was just LONG. But eventually, just outside of Oklahoma City, we discovered I-40 had joined (or become or covered over, we weren’t really sure) the classic historic Route 66 . . .

Route 66 Map
Route 66 Map

. . . which, okay, doesn’t exactly exist anymore, but remnants do. I-40 between Oklahoma City and Santa Rosa, New Mexico is pretty much the same route, but unfortunately large parts of it are completely lacking the character of the famous “Main Street of America” also know as “The Mother Road.” That is, until here . . .

Russell's Truck & Travel Center Car Museum

. . . the coolest car / mid-century memorabilia / Route 66 museum ever. We wouldn’t even have stopped, but after lunch in Amarillo, Texas, the exits and on-ramps were so convoluted, we got distracted and forgot we needed gas until about an hour later when we were out in THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.  Oops. We were hoping to make it to Tucumcari, New Mexico, but the car’s prediction of how many miles we could drive before running out of gas was dangerously close to the number of miles to Tucumcari. So you can imagine our relief when, just across the state line between Texas and New Mexico, we saw Russell’s Truck and Travel Center.

A sign had mentioned a free car museum, but, seriously . . . yawn . . . until we walked in and saw this . . .Car Museum New Mexico Ford

Car Museum Blue CarAnd it was FREE. And the docent was a super funny, friendly old guy who made it even better. Loved it.

Good thing we’d had a bit of a mood boost, because the Hampton Inn in Tucumcari, where we’d hoped to spend the night, was a burned out shell and all the other options in town seemed to be 50’s era motels offering rooms for $31.95 a night. Scary. Pass. So we kept going, and not too far down the road, in Santa Rosa, found not only a decent hotel, but a fabulous little Route 66 diner with outstanding Mexican food. Woohoo.

One of the things these long days in the car have offered is plenty of time for observation and reflection. It’s stunning how many cows you’ll see straining through a barbed-wire fence to reach some coveted weed, when there are sometimes literally thousands of available acres of pasture on their own side of the fence. Makes me think about, “The grass is always greener . . . .” After driving across and around a good part of this country, I can tell you that, surprise, surprise, the grass is greener . . . where it rains more. So take your pick. I love the green, and I’ve learned to love a rainy day, but I also love the sunshine, the majesty of the mountains, and the wide open spaces of the West. What a treat it has been to see so much of it.

. . . the grass may look greener on the other side, but believe me, it’s just as hard to cut. ∼Little Richard

True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare. ∼G.K. Chesterton

Contentment is the only real wealth. ∼Alfred Nobel

Wishing you green valleys . . .

Four-Legged Farm, Putney, Vermont
Four-Legged Farm, Putney, Vermont

. . . peaks bathed in sunshine . . .

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

. . . and quirky surprises along the way.

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