This place feels heavy lately, so let me switch gears a bit and try to lighten it up.
The Trip Gods didn't like my original plans to stay as far south as possible so they decided to introduce me to Harry who loaned me his shock. That put me some 400 miles north of where I wanted to be and it didn't make sense to lose that much latitude, so I altered my course.
Although I have avoided interstates wherever I could, occasionally I've been forced on them due to a lack of other roads. I found myself on I40 in a 75mph speed zone being thrown around by trucks doing well more than that. It was then I noticed an old road running parallel. There were no cars on it and it was only two lanes. Looks perfect. I crossed over the small grassy area and ran at a much quieter 75mph without the buffeting of tractor trailers, without constantly checking my mirrors for assassins, I was only worried about what road I was on and if it would take me in the direction I wanted. A few miles down the road I discovered that I was on an actual road, it was TX 75 or something, but more importantly it was the Old Route 66.
For the next two days I would attempt to follow the Old Route 66, although my GPS thought I was deliberately trying to frustrate it. Route66 changed it's appearance quite a bit for the two days I followed her. Sometimes I40 ran right over the top of her, sometimes besides and other times 66 was just a dirt track in the middle of fields.
Now I'm not really a sentimental type, and I rarely chase historical markers. In fact the few places I've crossed RT66 in the past left me with a sense that it only exists to part tourists from their money with cheesy, nostalgic crap made in China. But the Trip Gods gave me a new, temporary mission; to follow Route 66 for as long as I could.
But they wouldn't make it easy on me. Often times the road would simply die out in overgrown trees or large signs saying "road ends" (pic shamelessly stolen from the web)
I crossed over the grass divider so many times that I should be calling home collect from a cell. But it seemed to only be me and the trucks out there and I suspect they were entertained. The reward was two days with a purpose and a lot of discovery. I followed Old Route 66 through three states (New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma). It's hard not to imagine how things were in the early 1900's when 66 was in her prime. The remnants of old buildings, an old railroad track that appears to have suffered the same fate around the same time, and of course the road itself (which varies in condition quite a bit) all have a ghostly feel about them. It's like a toy that a spoiled child simply stopped playing with that beckons to passersby to pick up and put to use again.
It was a nice diversion to stop and wander through abandoned buildings or study the GPS to figure out where or if the road might take me somewhere. Often the GPS still showed the road completing when in reality it was missing a bridge or other obstacle.
I even came around to appreciating some of the touristy parts of Route66 too. It warmed me to imagine old farts collecting old oil cans and gas pumps. Maybe I am a sentimental type. Mental anyway.