Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 18: The Long Road Home

We woke up, spending our last night in a hotel. Kingman, Arizona was our last home-away-from-home. Kingman was one of the many towns across America that prided itself in having a historic downtown. Historic we've learned means a bunch of old buildings, not that anything particularly "historic" happened here.

Being on route 66, doesn't automatically mean that your town is historic, nor does an obscure Civil War meeting that no one ever heard of.

Coming home was about getting
Home. But it gave us some time to reflect back on these last 18 days. It may have been just days ago that we were at Arlington, Jamestown, the Badlands, or Monticello, but it feels like it has been forever. The trip to Dewey Beach was fun, as was our stay over in Pittsburgh and lunch in New York. It's all been fun.

The trip has some real moments. No fighting or arguing, both of us just going with the flow.

There has been an ongoing joke about Cracker Barrell restaurant. Though they may have implemented a anti-discrimination policies in 2004, but you can and add the words "with racism and homophobia" to any of their signs, and it makes sense.

No doubt the Cracker Barrell serves products containing the millions of acres of corn that we passed. We wouldn't know, we never stopped at one. On this trip there was only one corn cob eaten, it was deep-fried and disappointing.

But the ribs that went with it was one of the best meals of many we had, and Ron's favorite. That was in St. Louis, MO.

Ken couldn't stop talking about the fried chicken at Indi's in Lexington, KY.

Both of us are still wondering how they make that Pastrami at Katz's in New York, it was incredible.

We traveled from restaurant to restaurant through interesting neighborhoods and on some wild roads. Some of them may not have actually been roads, and others were under construction.

Which, incidently reminds us that American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has reared it's ugly head in every state, slowing highway traffic down to a snail pace. If the Act was supposed to get people back work, why is it that it slowed people from getting where they need to go?

We've been moved...

...we've been amazed (and not always well)...

...and surprised by what we saw along the way.

On this trip we've:
-cleaned the windshield an estimated 30 times.
-have smelt a skunk at least once each day.
-been to Walmart 5 times, including one twice.
-traveled through 28 states.
-paid the least for gas in New Jersey ($2.39/gallon), and it's full service !

-passed through Virginville, PA on our way to Intercourse, PA.
-stopped at 5 Dairy Queens and a Baskin Robins for softserve.
-went through 4 cans of Pringles.
-spent 16 nights in hotels.
-seen the worst rest areas in New Mexico, the best in Texas.
-traveled 8,810 miles.
-made it home at 5:27 PM

All the numbers totaled can't add up how much fun this trip was. We got to see America from coast to coast, trailer to downtown everywhere. Two friends, one car, a box of china and 18 days in September.

Location:York St,San Francisco,United States

Friday, September 24, 2010

Travels Through the Desert

We opened the curtains today to a view we hoped wasn't indicative what we would see today.

Fortunately it wasn't.
We left Gallup, New Mexico heading North then West.

In the process we added 3 more stated to our list by visiting Four Corners. The only place in the U.S. where you can be in four states at once (Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado).
The nearby Navajo marketplace gave us a place to by trinkets, mostly rocks, oh and Christmas ornaments. Who knew the Indians believed in Santa Claus? We should tell them about a special place we visited in Indiana.

Passing the Four Corners we came across the only major accident on our trip. This big rig crashed just before we came over it.

No one was hurt. We were able to pass it taking the shoulder. Good thing, because that would have kept us from dinosaur tracks.

We even had our own Pocahontas to show us around. Despite our initial skepticism, we were pleasantly surprised by the roadside attraction.

Fossils and footprints are everywhere here. It apparently was a marsh some 180 million years ago now it is part of a Navajo Reservation. Wandering around this ancient swamp prepped us up for a bigger sight...the Grand Canyon.

YouTube Video

A long day of driving behind us, we packed it in for the night. This is our last outside of California. Tomorrow, we will sleep in our own beds. Day 18 will end in San Francisco. It's a good thing, because hotel rooms are beginning to feel like home, we can reach for towels with our eyes closed and know where they are.

Location:Sycamore Ave,Kingman,United States

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Route 66ish

A windy, then wet morning made for an uninspiring drive as we made our way out of the shopping cart state called Oklahoma. Evidently the shopping cart was invented and first used here...or so the highway signs tell us.

The signs don't tell you that the red dirt that surrounded us was caused by high iron oxide, ironically, Oklahoma means "red people" in Cherokee.

We left Oklahoma behind for Texas before Noon.

We are following beside, and in some cases on, the infamous Route 66. The highway doesn't even exists on maps anymore. When the highway went away, many places just couldn't make it.

Take the citizens of Jericho. They believed their fair town was destined for greatness. In the 1930s, Route 66 was moved one-half mile north, by-passing the town and spelling doom for its future.

Today, Jericho is a ghost town, made up of scattered ruins, cement foundations and piles of junk.

In nearby Groom, TX is a leaning water tower. It originally was a functioning water tower until Ralph Britten bought it and moved it to serve as a sign for his truck stop.
This truck stop can still be seen, set back off the road behind the tower. It is now boarded up and in disrepair.
The town has adopted the tower and still turns on a large colored star mounted on the top around Christmas time.
Lunch in Amarillo was Texas sized BBQ and Frito Pie at Crazy Larry's.

Larry himself took our order. He can best be described as a cross between Bobcat Goldwaithe and a Kiss groupie.

It didn't matter though, the rub on the ribs was incredible, the Frito Pie delicious. That cup on the side of the ribs was the BBQ sauce.

We crossed into New Mexico expecting more....we got less. Fewer farms, fewer people, no corn. But more spectacular scenery.

We are ending the night in Gallup, New Mexico. Tomorrow we'll continue our trek West.

Location:Jefferson Ave,Gallup,United States

Edging West

It was a scorcher in Memphis, but not hot enough to skip a tour of Graceland.

The former home and resting place of Elvis. Clearly it was an overwhelming prospect for Ron, shortly after pulling in to the parking lot ken had to tell him he was driving on the sidewalk. The rock and rolk icon had 140 songs on billboards top ten list, 90 albums in top 100, and starred in 31 movies.

With all of that talent decorating was not among his skills. With all that money he clearly couldn't buy taste. To call the house decor "period" would be a stretch. It looked like a cross between the Lawrence Welk Show and the Madonna Inn (for those of you who don't know what that is, here's a link, The pictures speak for themselves.

The racketball court and adjacent outbuilding have been turned into shrines to his career and life.

Leaving Memphis behind we continued our trek home.

Crossing the Arkansas border we made out way to Little Rock.

We checked put the Clinton Presidential Library before grabbing a bite to eat. A clerk at the Museum shop suggest a place a couple doors down. We were not disappointed.

The Flying Fish should be called the "Frying Fish."

The menu was so overwhelming Ron narrowed himself down to making a choice from one small section of the menu. When Ken looked as though he was going to have an anxiety attack, Ron urged him to do the same.

Fried oysters, shrimp, catfish, fries and the best hush puppies ever were the final choices. They were complimented by what we can only imagine is the world's only Billy Bass Adoption Center.

The walls are covered with the infomercial phenom.
Bring yours in, they'll give you real fish. We paid cash.
Little Rock is also known for it's role in the civil rights movement. It is here in 1957, that a nation watched as 9 African-American high school students were turned away from an all white Little Rock Central High School by the Arkansas National Guard.

Across the street is the gas station where the media watched the Little Rock Nine and the events that followed.

The high school is still used today. Fortunately for us, this one had signs to keep Ron off the sidewalks.

It is a long drive to Oklahoma City.

It took us through the Ozarks, then over the Oklahoma border,

past Troy Aikman and Carrie Underwood's hometowns. We only know that because they actually have signs on the highway informing of their roots.

We hit Oklahoma City after nightfall and we were lucky to do so. The Federal Building memorial site was light up specatularly. It is hard to believe that it has been 15 years since Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people in the Murrah Federal Building.

The memorial has chairs lit up for each person killed that day. They are in order of the floor they were on. On the periphery, those killed outside the building. It is a moving experience. We were both nearly moved to tears. You can't help but feel the incredible sadness and magnitude of what happened here.

We left Oklahoma City behind after a quick bite to eat.
Tonight we'll sleep in Western Oklahoma...not far from the Texas border.

Location:Cypress Dr,Weatherford,United States