June 2014 Road Trip!
Historic US Route 66 with my daughter, Christy
My event schedule was showing a gap between Corvette Adventures in Wisconsin Dells the first week of June, and the National Corvette Homecoming in Bowling Green KY in the middle of July. I was keeping an eye open for something interesting to fill the void. When automotive photographer Evan Klein posted info on Facebook about a classic car show, "Highway Earth", that he was putting together for June 29 in Beverly Hills - BINGO!
I had met and worked with Evan in, of all places, Bar Harbor Maine in May of 2007. The occasion was Corvette Quarterly Magazine's Ride & Drive, held in a different scenic part of the country every year. It was the most fun I've ever had in a Corvette event! Click fmi.
I hadn't been on anything like a vacation in many years and hadn't driven to the left coast since 2002, and never in the C6. A quick check of the map revealed that Beverly Hills was nearly a straight shot from Decatur Alabama. Then the light dawned: From Oklahoma City on, I-40 was also Historic US Route 66!!! I had seen bits of Rt. 66 in 1998 as Sandy & I made our way back from California. I could revisit the sites where I got photos of the C5 and shoot the C6, plus document a lot of the other iconic landmarks that make Rt. 66 legendary! Somehow, I was going to do this!
In the latter part of May I mentioned to Christy that I was considering this. She seemed unusually interested and indicated that she might like to ride along, at least for the Route 66 part of the trip. She then revealed that she was seriously thinking of resigning her job as Senior VP in charge of West Coast Operations with an investor relations company. Why? To start her own business! If she did this very soon, she would have some extra time that would enable her to take the trip!
She called me a week later to announce that she had done it, given her 2 weeks notice the day before. She was going! She had checked flight possibilities and the only daily direct flight to OKC arrived at 4:03 pm. Perfect timing, as that was about 9.5 hours from home; we would have plenty of day left for Rt. 66 before our first overnight, Shamrock TX!
Here We Go!
Thursday, June 26
Leaving Decatur AL, 6:31 am CDT
In eastern Arkansas this quickly became a blinding rain - 30 mph tops for 1/2 hour.
5:15 pm: Waiting in the "Cell Phone" lot at OKC airport for Christy's (1 hr delayed) flight from SFO.
About an hour later, our first taste of Old Route 66:
The Pony Bridge: 3/4 mile long, 38 arches.
We tried this place for dinner as recommended by our tour guide book, but they were booked solid with reservations!
The next guide book recommendation was the Dairy Best, a classic drive-in.
Great food and atmosphere! My fried bologna w/tater tots.
By 9:00 pm CDT:
Art Deco Conoco Station and U-Drop Inn Cafe
(Recognizable as Ramon's shop in "CARS")
Much to our surprise there was a live band at the pumps!
The band sounded pretty lame and we had already had dinner, so we enjoyed a couple beers at Big Vern's across the street,
where this pair greeted us.
Leaving Vern's, the entertainment across the street was done, so we got these photo ops.
Friday, June 27
Checked out of the (VERY nice!) Sleep Inn.
The view as I pumped gas.
Conoco station in daylight
I was here before with Sandy: The '97, in 1998. Pre neon.
And here is the CARS movie version
Some sights along old Rt. 66, in McLean TX
Just one of many relics of the old Mother Road.
We almost missed this one, the first of many murals!
A few more...
Restored, iconic Phillips 66 station
The post office: get your stamps and beer here!
No comment necessary
Spectacular (if WINDY) scenery at the rest area/information center. Windblown selfie!
The "Leaning Tower" was deliberate; left rear foot is a couple feet in the air!
Largest cross in USA: 190'
The Big Texan
Home of the "Free 72 oz Steak" - if you can eat the whole thing in 60 minutes!
10:00 am CDT
At the turn off I-40
Note abundance of empty spray cans - graffiti is encouraged.
Evidently a lot of rain recently!
The gnome gets his turn, with help from the empties to stay above the mud!
The Vette out at the entrance
From the Pixar movie "Cars"
10:45 am CDT
The midpoint of Historic Rt. 66, the Midpoint Cafe
10:00 am MDT
The Blue Swallow Motel
Each unit has its own garage!
And the next stop is in sight!
The Blue Swallow from the '97 in 1998.
(or is it TEPEE CURIOS?) A tour bus of Brits was just unloading!
I had to buy this:
The '97, in 1998.
4:25 pm MDT
Had to stop here, hopefully to reconnect with the owners, Dick & Rosemary. No such luck - they had retired & moved to Albuquerque, but their son was on hand, running the business. We had just missed Rosemary who had dropped in but left 10 minutes before we got there.
Click here to see the Glenn's background story in Sandy's column. It starts about half way down the page.
1998: Sandy & sister Peggy in Glenn's owner's George Barris-built T-bucket!
They swapped cars to drive to the owner's house.
3:45 pm MST
(most of Arizona doesn't do daylight savings time; this is same as PDT)
4:50 pm MST
The Wigwam Motel
The '97, there in 1998.
Remind you of anything? Again, from "Cars"
Geronimo's Trading Post
Famous for petrified wood from nearby Petrified Forest National Park.
6:00 pm MST
"Standin' on the corner..."
"And such a fine sight to see,
It's a girl, my lord, in a flat bed Ford,
Slowin' down to take a look at me."
8:00 pm MST
Dinner and GREAT beer!
Saturday, June 28
10:54 am PDT
Yeah, some welcome!
4:28 pm PDT
Santa Monica Pier: Route 66 - the end of the Mother Road!
Unfortunately, a drive-by: it was so crowded that vehicles were banned at that time. Boo!
The pier from a lookout down the road...
Oh well, it's been fun!
Then it was off to LAX for Christy's return flight to SFO.
5:30 pm PDT
What a memorable trip; Thanks, Christy, for making it so!
From here I moved on to Burbank for the night.
The Highway Earth show (in Franklin Canyon, Beverly Hills) was the next morning.