View Larger Map
Before taking off from Santa Rosa, I stopped in at the Route 66 Auto Museum. There are some great old cars there. My favorite was probably this dark green '69 Mustang. As good as the Volvo is, it's hard not to think about how much fun it would be to take this trip in one of those old cars.
From Santa Rosa, it was a (relatively) quick drive the 60 miles to Tucumcari, and then the rest of the way into Texas. Stopped for lunch at the Midpoint Cafe a few miles into Texas. Adrian, Texas represents the halfway point in terms of miles on 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. 1,139 miles either way and you hit the end of the Mother Road. I guess that means the first leg of the trip is halfway done.
I was driving on the I-40 frontage road (aka 66 at that point), when I nearly blew right by the Cadillac Ranch. I saw a crowd of cars, and at the last second realized where I was. I quickly pulled the car over, walked the short distance across the way to the cars, and standing under one of them, wrote this:
It's windy on the Texas panhandle. So much so that I've taken shelter under one of the Cadillacs to write this. These sun baked and spray painted monuments give everyone a small distraction from the road. How many layers have been written since these cars were half buried in the ground? How many layers in just the 3 years since I last passed this way?
People write/spray/paint/chip their names/messages/symbols/pictures into these ageless/ancient/modern spectacles. Folk art at its finest and most spectacular. Community art by a transient and transitive community.
Out here in the panhandle, everything repeats over and over. Long road, yield signs, overpasses, and the same gas stations barely break up the endless landscape. But here, almost slipping by unnoticed, is the most unique place I think I will ever see. never the same twice, the Cadillac Ranch is itself transitory. Appropriately symbolic of the road it sits just off of.
Spent the next few hours winding my way through Amarillo, the eastern Texas panhandle, and western Oklahoma. I lost count of how many times I got lost (or at least thought I was lost), only to make a turn and suddenly have an "Historic Route 66" sign appear out of nowhere. One time, I was driving down a road between open fields, when the driver of a truck going the other way gave me a look like I had just teleported down from Mars. Turning left at the next intersection (with no reason to do so based on my directions), I crossed back over 40, continued on some blind faith for a number of blocks, came around a curve in the road only to be met with the Route 66 sign leading me right into downtown Elk City, my planned destination for the evening (planned only in the last hour, of course).
So here I am in western Oklahoma. Tomorrow I'll go to Oklahoma City, and then begin the long wide curve north away from I-40 and towards Chicago.
Pictures: Two from the Midpoint Cafe, three from the Cadillac Ranch.