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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Route 66 , Cars and Beyond

From the Grand Canyon through the Big Middle via Route 66 & the I40 to Memphis!
It took us 5 whole day and an awful lot of driving but it was totally worth it, especially with the stops with made along the famous Route 66.
We could have driven over the Interstate 40 and than it would have been about 1500 miles of big roads with nothing special to see. But since we decided to get off that road every once in a while we saw a lot of fun things. For me Route 66 is just a name and I don't have any bonding with it. But for many other people it is one of the most important routes of that time. So some research taught me a thing or two and I had a rough guide on where to stop and what to see. For example the "corner in Winslow, Arizona" and the "Jackrabbit Trading Post Sign".

We also drove through the Petrified Forest with its "Painted Desert". Nice views of this amazing countryside.

The first night we camped in the Bluewater Lake State Park. But when we woke up we found out that one of the poles of our brand new tent broke during the night so we again had to go and find a Big 5 Sporting Goods Store to replace the thing... Luckily we were going to Santa Fe and we knew that there was one right there! No hassle, just give the broken one back and pick another.
Then we visited Santa Fe, known for all the art... and there is a lot of it! Not my favorite thing to do, but there also happened to be a carshow and I loved seeing all these cool, old cars. The town itself was nice to see as well ;-)

That night we camped in the Conchas Lake State Park. Again a good campsite where you can put up your tent for just a few bucks.

Later that day we followed several parts of Route 66 and came across some of the best sights. First we saw a ghost town (a place that used to have actual people living in it, but is entirely abandoned now...) and then we came across the Midway Point. From here it is 1139 miles both to Chicago and to Los Angeles. The best part, however, was that the cafe that is there was the model for Flo's V8 Cafe in the animation movie "Cars". Inside we met the woman/girl on whom Tia (from Tia & Mia from Cars) is based (her sister was Mia... I am not kidding you). From her we heard a bunch of stories and learned that the mountains in the background of the movie are shaped like Cadillacs just as the Cadillac Ranch where we would be later. And also that we would be driving past the Cars place "Ramone's House of Body Art", or at least the building after which it was modeled. And of course the famous Wigwam Motel. Check it out below!!!

And like I said, a little later we drove past the Cadillac Ranch an idea of eccentric (and filthy rich) artist Stanley Marsh. Just get a bunch of Cadillacs and bury them halfway in the ground in an open field along Route 66 and have people put graffiti on them.

That night we "checked in" at a campsite in Foss State Park. Only to continue early the next day. the day before we were just too late to get into the Devil's Rope Museum (a.k.a. barbed wire). The stupid timezones keep changing here and it is hard sometimes to figure out in which one you are... Today (Sunday) we wanted to visit the Route 66 museum in Clinton. But since it was Sunday and we are in all Christian Middle America it only opened at 13.00 (while we were there at 10.00). So no museums for us. The good thing is that Piggy felt up to coming along with us again. The evening before he had major surgery and besides a big scar on his back he is good to go again!!!

We had a couple more stops at Route 66 places, such as the restored Philips 66 gas station and some diners, but that's it. The rest of the day it was driving, driving and driving until we came to Ozark National Forest where we would be camping that night.

On Monday we drove the remaining 300 miles to Memphis. No problems, but it got really hot and humid so driving was a little less fun than it used to be... But at around 14.30 we arrived at Shosh's grandma's place and could enjoy the airconditioning! More about our stay in Memphis and Atlanta later!

De groeten uit de VS!
Pigster, Shoshy and Rudi

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