Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring Breakin' on Route 66

"If you ever plan to motor west,"

We began our Spring Break family truckser adventure by jumping onto John Steinbeck's Mother Road in a town called El Reno, the digital compass display on my wife's overloaded compact car announcing proudly in green backlight that we were indeed heading West.

First stop at my wife's insistence was the old Fort Reno, where we had taken our ghost tour date night a short time ago. She wanted to see the place in the daylight and since we were told that many of the spookies showed themselves during the diurnal hours to children, she wanted to see what our girls would see.

"...travel my way, take the highway that is best."

They saw old buildings and broken windows and big open spaces to run around in. No spirits of the unearthly plane, so back on the road we went.

"It winds from Chicago to LA, more than two thousand miles all the way."

This section of the historic highway bends and dips and makes a few ladylike curves between the old fort town to where we somehow lost track of it and had to jump on the interstate. The road hourglasses abruptly at shorty bridges, and illicited coos of joy and excitement from the two rugrats in the back seat who likened the highs and lows in the blacktop to a kiddie rollercoaster ride.

It was during one of these dippity-dos that the resident 7-year old "Cars" scholar in the back seat blurted out "Look Mommy, Sally was right!"

Then, almost verbatim she quotes a line from the Pixar flick, as uttered by the Bonnie Hunt Carrera, "...the road moved with the land, it rose, it fell, it curved."

On cue we all looked to the Interstate running alongside, as it ran straight and level on our left. This portion of the old 66 gave our struts a workout, and the rack and pinion some flexing, but our tires kept to the pavement and the history of those who came before soaked gently into our radials.

"Now you go through Saint looey - Joplin, Missouri, -- and Oklahoma City is mighty pretty...."

After enough rounds of kiddie knock-knock jokes at 70-mph to make even Henny Youngman cringe, we jumped off the interstate to search the town of Hydro and stumbled upon some ancient carnival rides, innert and seemingly frozen in time and space in the equally still city park. It had an eerie aesthetic vibe and we all felt a touch of Radiator Springs driving through this not-quite-dead-but-certainly-not-growing small town.

Next up, Lucille's Station in Hydro, Lucille's Roadhouse in Weatherford, and several museums celebrating this most famous stretch of highway.

5 comments:

Route 66 News said...

That stretch of Mother Road from El Reno to Hydro is amazing. For about eight or so miles, the interstate is so distant, it nearly disappears. You're so far in the boonies, you find yourself wondering what decade you're driving.

If you'd like to meet the major inspiration for Sally in "Cars," go to the Rock Cafe in Stroud and ask for owner Dawn Welch. If she's around, she's happy to meet up with kids who want to see "Sally."

Also, Clinton is hosting the big Route 66 festival on June 21-24.

http://www.route66festival2007.com/

Kim In Tulsa said...

Oh, you're living my dream! I'll keep an eye on your blog for updates and live it vicariously through your family.

BTW, Oklahoma has a Route 66 Association.

http://www.oklahomaroute66.com/

My eight-year old son joined it after seeing the movie "Cars".

Kim

66 Productions said...

This stretch of 66 you were on is also the first stretch of the Mother Road that I traveled back in 1996. I remember it vividly. Car packed full of my belongings as though I were an Okie fleeing the Dust Bowl. Windows down, radio on. But a semi passing me on my left made me realize that something special - I didn't know what - was happening to me. I shouted over to that semi, "You fools over there don't know what you're missing!" I didn't either, but I knew I'd find it.

And I have found it. I've found it in people all up and down the highway. Because for all of the Odell Stations, The Deli's, and Aztec Hotels that draw the people to the Mother Road, it's the people that on the highway that keep us coming back. It's the sense of family and familiarity that I enjoy the most.

OKDad said...

Kim, been reading about your "My Precious" project and it got me all fired up to go out and weld up some patch panels on my El Camino project.

The picture of you, holding a chicken and checking out the interior is a classic shot!

SweetJen said...

Oh. You are living my dream, too! Wow...

The part about your daughter cracked me up. So cute...it's great you're taking her on this trip. It already seems to have made her more aware of 'small' things than your average crumb-cruncher.

*runs off to read the rest of your posts*