So…this is the post I started out writing yesterday.
Ahhhh a little R&R.
We’ve been go go go for a week and a half, which isn’t that long compared to some well-seasoned travelers. But for two girls who are relatively new at this, it was nice this morning to wake up according to my biological clock, rather than the small but very loud and authoritative alarm clock I have.
We’re in Oklahoma, staying with Valerie’s aunt and uncle. They have been so gracious in putting up two smelly, tired, and worn out girls. We arrived ready to rest, and they had many plans and activities that they thought we might want to see and do.
As the smile faded from my face, all I could think was “I just want to use your shower and pass out.”
Which I did.
I’ve spent the day fighting with my negative scanner, praying it will work. (I think its upset with me for taking it on this road trip against its will) Apparently scanners do not like to ride in cars. But I also organized my suitcase and started uploading the photographs I have scanned onto our flickr account.
I have not been in my car since last night, and I love it. Although I’m excited and ready to get back on the road (we leave tomorrow morning), it is nice to have a day where I don’t have to worry about finding a gas station, figuring out the best playlist to listen to, or debating on where we should eat.
I am super excited for our next stretch because….we will venture onto Route 66! The land of broken down gas stations, abandoned motels, kitschy souvenir shops, and hundreds of townspeople waiting to tell you their story of how they came to be involved with the mother road. I can’t wait.
Oh and I made a new best friend. She’s a horse.
Totally good right? We were ready to post…and then the giggles happen. Oh the giggles. They were no ordinary giggles. They were toxic and contagious. Valerie started it. Then it spread to me. Then it spread to facebook. Be thankful that 98% of you are not our friends on facebook. Your feed would have been bombarded by us. It had to do with looking at photos of cats with dumb captions. Nothing good can ever come from that.
Okay, now I’m officially losing you due to the length of this post. Long story short, we are now traveling on Route 66 (yay!) and are headed to New Mexico tomorrow. We’ve already stopped a million times to photograph abandoned buildings, towns folk, and managed to piss off a heard of cows.
Today we began our adventure on 66. We made it to a few fun stops: El Reno Fort; Kobel’s place; and Lucille’s. We shot the filling station and ate at the restaurant. We’re slowly making progress through wind and rain, but we’re forced to come to grips with the fact that we can’t see/do/shoot everything. Six weeks is not a very long time when you are trying to cover an entire country.
Driving on 66 brings you face to face with your dreams of freedom and the open road. But it’s sad, far more sad than I anticipated. All the while we’re driving I try to picture what it once looked like, how the stops must have appeared to those who saw them in their heyday, how the neon lights must have glowed from either side of the street, and the chrome must have gleamed. Now it is all rusty, broken, forgotten, and lost behind trees. Much of it is demolished. A sign by the road reads “Pool and Restaurant” but can only direct you to what is currently a field of maize. I see lost jobs. I see towns half empty and drowning in an economy no longer supported by tourism. The big roads take you to big stores and everything else is gone, or only functioning as a shell of what it once was. Don’t get me wrong, it is beautiful and exciting. There are so many people who are dedicated to reviving the road, and some stops are surging with the hope of a much brighter future. But, as we navigate broken stretches of roads, I can’t help nostalgia for it’s younger days (even if I never saw them).
We came to 66 from my aunt’s home in a small town. I didn’t know her before, so I spent the day and a half we were there trying to get to know her and, naturally, regroup for the next four weeks. She loves to travel. She has photo albums filled with photographs of this and that national park they visited on horseback. She is the first relative I’ve known who really likes to travel and see the things I like to see. My parents are homebodies, though my mother likes to travel to see her family. She doesn’t travel to places because she thinks it might be interesting to see such a place. I enjoyed seeing that in my aunt, and hearing my uncle call her (and all my aunts together) inflexible. They get their way. I like that. I LOVE to get my way. They told stories of my dad when he was younger. It was truly amazing to finally have that contact, I know almost no one in my dad’s family. There’s no dark tale behind it, just your average case of distance and life getting in the way. If it is not enough that we’ve collected amazing pictures and adventures in this trip, I think expanding my family is worth the trip for me.