I have been searching for an apt way to describe Route 66, and to explain why it is relevant to our little US road trip. I finally came across this:
‘Spanning 2,451 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica, the significance of Route 66 is that it served as the great American road trip in the minds of many.’
Ahh. So you see, Route 66 was one enormously long, long road. For many Americans and visitors from abroad, historically, when they did US road trips, they drove down THE Route 66.
Sadly over time, it was taken over by new highways and interstates roads. Route 66 was decommissioned and it no longer appeared on modern maps. Boo hoo hoo.
Route 66 then became a nostalgic thing. Roadtrippers attempt to recreate the scene, and visit the key sights along the old route.
Some sights were well maintained.
Some places were sort of half used.
Some were ghost towns. We came across these derelict areas in Tucumcari. I was so fascinated by it and I didn’t snap any photos! Oops. So here’s a plagiarised photo from google to explain what we saw. This was not even like the worst we saw.
We left Santa Fe, New Mexico on day 20. We crossed the state line into Texas towards Amarillo. And darn, we lost another hour moving from Mountain time to Central time.
Texas was more of nothingness I’m afraid. At least on the roads anyway. It was also our first cloudy day. *wonderful*
Before arriving at Amarillo, one of the Route 66 sights was the Cadillac Ranch. These were 10 old Cadillacs nose dived into the ground.
Visitors including minis were encouraged to spray paint onto the cars.
Emily climbed onto the car to exercise her lungs.
And then she was so concerned with the paint marks on her cheek and hand. Well. Stop climbing next time then…
In Amarillo, we took a complimentary limo service with a bull’s horn to the Big Texan Steak Ranch – one of the Route 66 sights.
Our grand arrival at the restaurant.
This was how it looked like from the outside.
This restaurant was famous for the challenge to wolf down a 72oz (2 freagin kilograms!) of steak within an hour and it was on the house.
The record was 4 minutes, by a woman no less. Seriously? Did she drink the steak?!
We ordered our food sensibly, well, except for daddy who ordered the 10 beers sampler for himself.
We were on the road again the next day, onwards to Oklahoma City which was in another state, OK, short for Oklahoma.
We were singing and eating and dancing in the car.
The road into Oklahoma City was very promising. Beautiful.
We went to the ‘not bad zoo’, i.e. OK Zoo (you get it?). It was 20 bucks for all of us to get in. Not that I’m an expert in zoos, but it was one of the best zoos I have visited.
They had a wonderful children’s section to begin with. So that kinda sealed the deal for the best zoo prize in my book.
With goat grooming activity. We were brushing the goat’s hair. Daniel kept pulling their ears though.
We were looking at some American Black Bears. Grooowl. Emily was finally happy we found a bear, given we didn’t see any in Yosemite.
For dinner, we chose Redrock Canyon Grill by Lake Hefner, on the advice of Mr TripAdvisor.
Well, Daniel was causing mini scenes. This photo was blur because guess what, he wouldn’t sit still.
But it was one of the best meals we had in America. Very yummilicious.
This was the view from the restaurant of Lake Hefner. Simply stunning, try beat that.
The Redrock Canyon Grill on the lake was truly a beautiful find.
The night we were in Oklahoma City was the 9th October Sunday. That was the night of the second presidential debate in the run up to the US elections.
Daddy said ‘I HAVE to watch this debate’. Ok then. We sent daddy out to watch from a TV in the hotel’s communal area after the kids were asleep.
He came back at 10pm ish and the first thing he said to me was: ‘darling, it was sooo bizarre and I had the most surreal experience’. I was like: ‘Huh? Er, WTH happened?’
Basically, there was a little Democrat gathering, in this red Republican state. It was ran by a nutter woman for a grand total of 8 overly enthusiastic peeps, plus Michael the South African.
They were all stuck in this room of our hotel. There were balloons, little flags, ribbons, Hilary buttons, trumpets, and drinks and snacks. Quite a party eh?
The lady next to Michael kept asking him every 5 minutes during the debate ‘what do you think of tax issue’, ‘what do you think of the Syrian issue’, ‘what are your views about issues x y z’.
‘How about you sit quietly and let me watch the debate?’ He said to the lady in his head.
Michael wanted to leave promptly after the debate. The nutter woman told everyone to stay, to which Michael thought: ‘Oh dear, now they want to debate the debate. Great.’
They even held a raffle (seriously for 8 people!!) and Michael had to pull the ‘lucky’ number. First prize was some doggy snacks and a leash.
He came back to the room with a flag, a ribbon and two Hillary buttons. No dog food thank goodness.
What the F?…
Anyway. If we were gonna be in the States during the run up to one of the craziest elections, we might as well be part of some crazy campaign too.
On day 22, we hit the road towards our long stay in Mena which we were really looking forward to.
Oklahoma City was a total delight, we were sorry we couldn’t spend longer. This was bye bye to OK City.
On our way to the next stop in Mena, Arkansas, we drove through Talimena Scenic Drive in Ouachita National Forest.
Another super stunning drive. Shyio. We were greeted by vast amount of lush, thick greenery. This was quite different to Yosemite where the greens were comparatively less dense.
The scenic drive was marred slightly by Daniel the terror. He continued his stunt from yesterday’s dinner performance.
I say no more.
We sorted ourselves into Stonehill Cottage. After 9 days of driving through 7 US states and 3 time zones, we were ready to NOT MOVE for a while.
A beautiful cottage – check.
A run around the forest – check.
A fire pit – check.
Marshmallows – check.
Braai master – check.
Al fresco dining – check.
Beer in a dry county – check. (Dry county means you can’t buy alcohol in any shops within the county)
Rocking chairs – check.
Hide and seek – check.
What a bliss this was.
We leave Mena on day 25 Friday. And we start our next stretch of 10 days on the move before we arrive at Orlando in Florida.
Up next first, we will spend quite a bit of time in Tennessee covering Memphis, Nashville and Chattanooga.
More of this to come guys.