Signs of Those So-Called Good Old Days Along The Mother Road

Route 66 is sometimes referred to as The Mother Road because of the new terms and names she gave birth to along the way. Things like “drive-in, highway, rest stop, motel, and fast food”. She really was a trail-blazer for a new post-world war generation yearning for room to grow and to put the hellish memories of war behind them. As a baby boomer myself,  it was good to see some “leftovers” of the things that shaped our generation.

Did these photos, mostly from Tucumcari N.M., bring back memories? They sure did for me. My dear Aunt Mary saying “those rooms are refrigerated! You’re cool no matter what the temperature outside!” People like her, people who had grown up without “the good things” of life we’re finally beginning to get just a taste. God bless ‘em.

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Speaking of Tucumcari, here’s Tucumcari Mountain, a landmark western-headed travelers used to guide them west for many years.

My journey along the Mother Road to be continued soon……

Just a Couple More to Show Today’s Condition

So as We cruise east on I-40, a sign says “Historic Rte 66, exit here”.  Well, since that was my reason for taking this route, I exit. About 10 miles in I find our roadbed changes to heavy reddish clay mixed with gravel; I’ve driven on much worse on some back roads in Allegan County Michigan.

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Thankfully jumping off the Interstate took us by a couple old motels, barely standing…

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“Umm, I’m sure they’re quite modern, but i’ll Pass for now, thanks.”

Here are a few other shots taken after we got back on pavement and closer to the eastern border of Texas:

Finally, I was amazed at the number of power-generating windmills I saw in the Texas panhandle and in northwest Oklahoma. They’re making the most of those wide open spaces!

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138 feet from the ground to the tip of the propeller pointing up. Sorry the units in the distance aren’t clearer. They go on and on and on. 

Get Your Kicks On Route 66

My day began with quite a surprise when I opened the curtains to my hotel room:

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Just 22 degrees and an inch of snow; very glad we weren’t in the tent last night! After a very good breakfast burrito at Grandpa’s Grill, we headed east out of Gallup in search of Route 66 memorabilia.

It wasn’t long before a sign directed us to exit I-40 and travel “Mother Road” for few miles. There are lots of sections of I-40 where the old two-lane runs nearly alongside the much newer interstate. More often than not, though, what’s left of a motel, filling station or restaurant could be found in the towns along the way.

Here’s what I mean: I’m traveling Route 66, shown here on the right, with I-40 right beside it on the left.

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Due to technical “one finger frustrations”, we’ll continue with a new post of our continuing journey tomorrow.    🙄😬😃

Petrified Trees and a Desert Paint Job

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We said farewell to beautiful Arizona this morning with a visit to the Petrified Forest National Park. Neither this space nor my fingertips will allow me to explain what Petrified all those trees, but just know it took a long time and the results are beautiful. The park is huge, comprising 52,000 acres

I did not realize that The Painted Desert, a small part of it at least, can also be seen in the park. Astounding beauty!

I’m told that this is not the only place petrifed wood can be found. In fact it has been discovered in other states and other countries. This is, however the largest find anywhere in the world.

Tomorrow we’ll continue meandering eastward, hoping to find some treasures of our more recent history along Old Route 66.

 

A Dusty Little Desert Town

Quartzsite is a dusty little town of just 1,900 people in western Arizona. Situated just 20 miles east of the Colorado River—which also serves as the California state line—the town welcomes thousands of “snowbirds“ from frozen areas farther north every January-February.  You cannot drive a block in any direction without encountering an RV, motor home or semi truck navigating through town (the trucks hop off the I-10 interstate for fuel or service at Love’s or the Pilot Flying J truck plazas).

The town is also unique since it is a mecca for rock hounds. Quartzsite may be the world’s largest open air swap meet for everything from gold nuggets to quartz, obviously, and tons of other items in between.

The real draw, however, is the warm, dry air, deep blue skies and beautiful sunrises and sunsets, at least in my opinion. Well, that and the free camping available on public lands.

“The Big Guy above” does some beautiful work, that’s for sure!

My visit complete, I’m moving on tomorrow  either west to check out Ehrenberg at the Colorado River or due north just 30 miles to Parker. We’ll see which way the wind blows.

My Tent or My Yurt?

Late last summer, I was camping in Sault Saint Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and our neighbor approached saying, “I really like your yurt”. “My what? “ I replied. Truly confused by his statement.

He says, “ your yurt”. Ah, you mean my TENT, I responded.

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Well it was at that point I realized I was camping in something special…to some folks at least.

I love my tent, er…yurt. It gives me room and why not? The six sides are 11-1/2 feet across and the top is 93 inches high. That, my friends is a huge area to camp within. I have a large cot, a 4-foot table, a chair, a porta potty, and another chair when the weather is bad. Not bad at all. And all that can be put up in less than a half hour. Really, setting it up is very easy.

So I’ll continue loving my YURT  and enjoying the space it provides . Speaking of which…goodnight all…sleep tight.

 

 

Camping Free in the Desert Near Quartzsite AZ

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Pretty? No, probably not. But when you’re surrounded by mountains and your closest neighbor is at least 200 yards away, that has it’s own type of beauty about it.

Quartzsite Arizona is THE epitome of BLM camping. The Bureau of Land Management oversees MILLIONS of acres of land, most of which is within eleven states in the western U.S. Should you care to camp within these areas, you can camp free for up to 14 days. Then, you need to move on at least 25 miles away if you want to camp free at another free spot. Not a bad deal at all.

Of course, the BLM areas have no amenities like water, electricity, rest rooms or showers, this is “boondocking” at its finest! You can’t even find a trash receptacle, but hey…it’s free.

So, Abby and I will spend the next few days boondocking and report back on our experience. Stick with us, it may be fun!

 

An Early Morning Visit to Saguaro National Park

We arrived at the gate of the east park a bit after 7:00 on a cloudy morning threatening rain. Even so, the Saguaro (pronounced “Sa-War-O”) stood tall and magnificent in the shaded morning light. There are two separate parks, east and west, on either side of Tucson.

Even the mean-looking cholla cactus was bright and beautiful on this winter desert morning. I understand that cholla can be really nasty by dropping their “pods” with sharp, barbed spines. I was very careful to make sure Abby didn’t  get into those, especially when we took the short Desert Ecology Trail. Of course, in the Sonoran Desert there’s an abundance of ways to get into trouble with cactus spines!

The park ranges in altitude from 2,180 feet at the floor to 8,666 feet at the top of Rincon Mountain. It truly is magnificent, but I qualify that comment by noting it’s easy to say that when looking at it through a truck or car window rather than passing through on foot!

At the Visitor Center, I learned the Saguaro actually have vertical ribs rather than the “horizontal rings” common trees have, which makes it almost impossible to determine the age of the cactus. The Saguaro can live up to 150 years, sometimes reaching a height of 45 – 50 feet by that time.

Even though the Sonoran Desert hosts such things as poisonous Gila Monsters, the Arizona black rattlesnake, javelinas and black bears, I’m happy to say we didn’t run into any of those on our visit.

We spent the night in Ajo in a comfortable renovated school now named The Sonoran Desert Conference Center. Very comfortable and a spot I’d highly recommend. Tomorrow, Yuma calls us. The farthest west we’ll go without crossing the state line into California. But who knows, at some point in the next week or so we just may do that.

 

Chiricahua National Monument

We spent the past two days exploring this amazing area. Mile after mile of unbelievable huge formations of boulders and rocks, arranged so beautifully you’d think it was done by hand.

Our campground was at 5,400 feet, making nights in the tent pretty chilly as the temperature dropped below freezing. One of our drives up the mountain took us to nearly 7,500 feet…stunning and a bit scary at times on those switchbacks.

Here’s our little camp a mile in the sky:

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Tomorrow we plan a visit to Saguaro National Park.