Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Into Texas...on the road for two weeks:

In Vega, TX tonight. Two weeks on the road. Checked the odometer and have ridden around 2200 miles since leaving Santa Fe on May 16. Let me catch up for a minute. I rode out of Santa Fe heading for Chicago. Several days of very heavy storms in Kansas caused a bit of a delay. Seems like I was under all the storms across the Midwest. About 150 miles south of Chicago more storms moved in. Rather than ride into the storms I decided to start on the Mother Road north of Springfield, Il. Since that time I have been true to Route 66 except when I approached Joplin and closed roads.

Conway, TX is home to a tribute to the Volkswagen and Route 66. Bet you thought it was only Caddys buried nose first in Texas.

Caddys are actually along I-40 just a short distance from 66. Stunning ride through Texas today. Mother Road is smooth and continuous. Slight tail wind. Gliding along after all the wind, rain, hail, and tornados the past two weeks.

Groom, TX famous for a water tower which was constructed with a built-in lean. The idea was to put Groom on the map. Not really sure it worked.

Tomorrow will be in Adrian, TX half way point of Route 66 between Chicago and Santa Monica. Hard to believe. Time has been standing still for me the past two weeks.

The last "Where am I, what is this"?...ended up being much too easy via Google....so here is the next one...another raffle ticket...another chance at a great SFPW of your choice....be the first one to identify the location and subject...big hint...located less than 150 feet from the Mother Road...

be strong, be safe, Carlan.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Two days on the Mother Road in Oklahoma:

The Mother Road dips and rises straight across Oklahoma. Much of the original road is intact. It has been two days of thumpy thump along the concrete roadway. Seen so much and experienced so many incredible people the past two days. Hard to believe it has been only two days.

In Stroud some of my friends I have been working with in Bokoshe drove up and we met at the historic Rock Cafe. That's Tim from Bokoshe on the left.

Carl Shortt rode his bike and met me in Chandler. We had a great ride from there on down to Oklahoma City. The ride included a stop at the DX station and motorcycle museum at Warwick. More on this will be in the book of the trip.

After arriving in Oklahoma City Carl's dad...also Carl, gave me a great tour of the area including the National Cowboy Museum. If you have not experienced this...put it on your list. It is a must see in Oklahoma City.

After a wonderful dinner with the Shortt family we spent the evening at the Federal Building Memorial in downtown Oklahoma City.

How many times I have driven by the exit while traveling on I40. The memorial is a tranquil yet powerful place. A place to reflect on the senselessness of violence.

Left Oklahoma City this morning. Route 66 passes through El Reno the location of a violent tornado last week. As I rode into the path of the tornado it is difficult to express with words what I saw. I stopped along the road. A pickup pulling a trailer pulled up next to me.

I met Tim Hobson a local resident. He and some friends had been out looking for his truck which was destroyed by the tornado. They had just found it. He wanted to talk. For the next twenty minutes he told me about several of his friends who had perished in the tornado. Tears came to his eyes and mine. One minute a stranger along the road...minutes later two individuals sharing together the emotional impact of a violent event.

Two days on the Mother Road in Oklahoma. Changes in my life forever.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

The Blue Whale:

My, my...I never thought so many of you would use Google to discover the mystery of the Blue Whale. What did we ever do before Google! I should have made a bw photo of the Blue Whale!!

Thanks very much to everyone for discovering more about the historic road side attractions along 66 in Oklahoma. The lucky winner of the raffle ticket for a chance at the SFPW workshop is......drum roll......
Peter Delfe from Los Alamos,NM. Good luck Peter in the raffle on June 5.

Stay tuned...more attractions on the way.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Friday, May 27, 2011

Where am I? What is this?

A very famous landmark on the Mother Road today.

Be the first email to identify the historic landmark by name and location and win a free raffle ticket for a chance at a fully paid Santa Fe Photo Workshop of your choice. Only one entry per person. Winner will be announced in the next post.

be strong, be safe, Carlan.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Into Oklahoma:

Been having trouble posting to the blog the past couple of nights. Just posted yesterday a little late. Problem with posting the photos as well. This evening will be words only.

Rain this morning in Lebanon before leaving the Munger Moss Motel. Drank coffee and discussed the current state of affairs with Ramona and Bob the owners until the rain stopped about 10A. Rode west along 66 through the countryside of gentle rolling hills under a heavy gray sky. Seemed a bit lonely. No other cars for well over an hour.

As I approach Joplin stopped for gas and talked with some of the local folks. They shared the news with me 66 was closed both sides of Joplin. Backtracked a couple of miles and picked up the new 66 (Interstate 44). It was a cold ride and the air felt heavy closer I got to Joplin. The tornado cut directly across the Interstate. Pictures you have been seeing can hardly express the reality of the situation. Everything twisted and broken to pieces. Forces of nature unleashed. Navajo would say Monster Slayer was very mad about things. That was the thought in my mind as well. No pictures, just thoughts.

In Miami, OK tonight. Hard time finding a motel. Got one of the last rooms. Town is filled with people here to help in Joplin. Put all those people in your thoughts tonight they need your strength.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Rusty Snaps:

Been in so much rain lately the snaps on my leathers are beginning to rust. You might ask...how wet can you get on a motorcycle? If you could see my motel room tonight with clothing hanging everywhere you would answer that one.

Watched all the tornado activity last night. About 3AM this morning a large cell came into Cuba with heavy winds and rain. Mid morning the sky began to lighten so I decided to get back on 66.
Hooker Cut is a four lane section of the Mother Road with one of the deepest rock cuts in the U.S. The road was dry and I had it all to myself. Off to the left I spotted the Mule Trading Post and pulled in.
Daryl was sitting at the front desk and met with with a friendly "Howdy".
The Mule Trading Post has been located on Route 66 for over sixty years. You can find everything from frying pans, old vinyl records, to classic Route 66 "collectibles". The "Memorial Day Specials" appeared to be from a few years past.

Back on the road for a few miles and very quickly the sky turned coal black. I saw an old gas station ahead. Stopped under the covering and discovered the station was now the home of a florist shop. Met Darlee inside arranging flowers. She graciously offered me shelter from the storm complete with a storm cellar if needed. Hail the size of golf balls fell from the sky for over thirty minutes. Two hours passed and there was a break in the sky. I only needed to go thirty more miles to find a motel. Seemed like a short distance, not so. Within a few miles another downpour. This time I spotted an old barn and took refuge. A woman came out and offered me a chair to wait it out. What friendly and neighborly folks in Missouri.

At the Munger-Moss Motel in Lebanon tonight. My room here is an "original" 1950 decor. When I checked in the owner said..."feel free to park you bike by your door to keep it out of the weather....."
Like I said...friendly, neighborly folks here in Missouri.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Into Missouri:

Clear skies this morning. Crossed the Mississippi River and entered Missouri. Had to ride a section of I-270 through Saint Louis with heavy traffic. Breath of fresh air when I turned back onto the Mother Road.

Stopped at the Circle N in Bourbon, Mo for a late morning breakfast. Circle N has been serving great diner road food on Route 66 for over fifty years. This place is the real deal. Not a plastic tourist stop. Great friendly people to chat with.

A few miles after breakfast a tee-pee caught my eye off to the side of the road.

Met Joe and his wife. They are both Cherokee. I realized I was on a part of the "Trail of Tears". They were making buffalo jerky to sell along with other native crafts. Joe and I stood outside talking, sharing stories and family history. We talked about Question of Power. He brought out his flute and played a song for my trip.

I bought some buffalo jerky to carry in my saddle bags before we parted. As I pulled back onto Route 66 Joe raised his arm with a parting wave. Felt like I had known him for a long time.

The largest rocking chair in the world is located four miles west of Cuba, Mo.

Yes, that is my bike sitting in front of the rocking chair. No funny Photoshop tricks here. It's real! It's BIG! Why...one can only guess.

Spending the night at the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba. Stone cottages built in the '30s. A classic Route 66 spot. Beautiful!

The ride today was all about "pressing and leaning". Which means the Mother Road was filled with gentle curves and rolling hills. Great riding.

Checking the weather tonight. Tornados all along the route. Springfield, Mo tomorrow weather permitting.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Monday, May 23, 2011

Horse Shoes, Cozy Dogs, and Severe weather:

In Springfield, Il. Dinner last night with good friends Lorrie and Jake Bunn. Jake asked me have you ever had a "Horse Shoe" dinner...not lately was my reply. I thought...wonder what it is? Question you may be thinking....did he order it? Answer...yes. The "Horse Shoe" dinner is a Springfield original. Picture two pieces of toast...sirloin steak...tomato slices...crispy French fries...smothered in a gallons of cheese sauce...all in that order. Never slept so good as last night.

Up early this morning to meet Jake and Lorrie. Our plan to ride the original Route 66 between Springfield, Il. to Saint Louis, Mo. First stop was to have an original "Cozy Dog" for breakfast.

The Cozy dog is a historic Route 66 Springfield original. Not to be confused with a corn dog!

We rode the original 1926 Route 66 toward Saint Louis until we began seeing very black greenish clouds ahead. At that point Lorrie and Jake decided it best for them to make tracks back to Springfield while I headed on to Saint Louis. Got to the Mississippi River and hit the storm head on! Made a quick exit and here I sit in a motel room in Granite City just outside of STL. Waiting out the weather. Hail, rain, and heavy winds. My schedule is to be through Joplin on Thursday. Will see how things go.

Been talking with a lot of local folks all along the way. Have been hearing over and over again...weather has never been like this before...

be strong, be safe, Carlan
Riding For Ron:

In Illinois the past two days on Route 66. Yes, finally made it to the Mother Road. Before hitting the Mother Road I had the opportunity to see some special people in Missouri.

Wanda Mullendore is married to my cousin who passed away last fall. She and Ron both rode Harleys. I called Wanda and we talked about meeting when I came through. She had not ridden since Ron passed. "I have been thinking of selling the bike since Ron is gone. Battery needs a charge, tags have expired". I asked her...why don't fire up your bike...we'll ride together for a while for Ron. She did...and we did. It was great seeing and riding with her. We stopped along the road when she needed to turn around. I looked and caught the smile in her eyes. As we gave each other a parting hug... She looked at me and said..."I think I'll keep riding the bike now".

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blue skies...nothing but blue skies do I see:

That verse kept running through my mind as I rode through the Kansas Flint Hills today and into Missouri. Beautiful ride. Blue skies all around.
Illinois tomorrow...Route 66 here we come! Get ready for the Mother Road ride!

Be strong, be safe, Carlan

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ray of sunshine in Kansas:

This morning as I was savoring my Best Western Motel breakfast of sausage, eggs, biscuits, and gravy I met Diane and Rick Hickman. They are members of the Classic Car Club of America. The club was holding a rally here in McPhearson. Diane and Rick were driving their 1947 Packard Clipper.

Due to the continuing rain here I had decided to keep the kickstand down for another day. Diane and Rick said they were going to tour the area for the day along with about fifteen other cars. They asked if I would like to join them. "Well, I was planning another trip to Wal-Mart..." In less than a flash at a 1/125 sec I accepted their offer.

First stop McPhearson College.

Several years ago Jay Leno provided a grant to the college which helped develop the only four year degree program in the country in auto restoration.

Next stop the Kansas State Motorcycle Museum. Stanley and LaVona Engdahl created the museum in Marquette.

Stanley was state motorcycle champion. The trophies on the right from floor to ceiling were all won by Stanley. Over 300 motorcycles in the collection including Harleys, Indians, Hondas, and all the rest! LaVona took the time to share some exciting motorcycle adventures with me.

Across the street from the museum I spotted Corky standing in the door of the old Williams gas station. We need another day for all his stories.

As we left Marquette to head back to McPhearson, the clouds parted and for the first time in four days I saw blue skies.

A big thank you to Diane and Rick for taking me for a ride today in their beautiful Packard Clipper!

Sun tomorrow...kickstand up...on the road!

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kansas and the weather:

Hindsight always creates interesting thoughts. My hindsight for the morning is thinking I should have re-read the Wizard of Oz, especially the accounts regarding the weather in Kansas as I started my trip. You may be able to guess from this thought...yes, still in Kansas. Still sitting here in the motel room. Severe weather today...by the way in Kansas this means rain, hail, wind, oh, did I mention rain, hail, and high winds.

There is a Wal-Mart across the road here. Plan to spend the stormy day walking around in the store. Will let you know what "prices are lower" at Wal-Mart today. Thinking of also beginning a new photo project. Stay tuned for photos of my motel room. Here is a "view from my room" last night around midnight as it rained "cats and dogs". Yes, in Kansas it does rain "cats and dogs".

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thunder and Lighting:

After a day of winds across Kansas woke up around 4AM this morning to the rumble of thunder and the sound of heavy rain. Break in the rain about 10AM. Saddled up...down the road about ten miles and the sky opened up with a combination of ice and rain. No sooner had I pulled over along the road when a "local lady" stopped to check on my condition. Guess I must have looked pretty wet. She was traveling from the east and said "weather is worse in the direction you are headed". "Ok, I thought... that's the deal breaker for me". Time to put the kickstand down for the day. Wonder what's on HBO?

Be strong, be safe, Carlan

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Winds of Kansas:

Riding across Kansas today with the dust blowing and 50 mph headwinds visions of the dustbowl FSA photographs swirled in my mind. Even with modern farming practices it looked as if parts of Kansas were being transported to another part of the country.

Just outside of Spearville on HWY 56 the winds of Kansas were being utilized for purposes unthought of in the 30's. Acres of windmills sending electricity across the country. A quite beautiful site to see.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Monday, May 16, 2011

Shaking out the leathers:

Saddle bags are packed, shaking out the leathers, kickstand up this morning around 8:30A.

North from Santa Fe I will connect with the original Santa Fe Trail and follow the wagon wheel ruts across Kansas.  Plan is to arrive in Chicago on Friday.  Saturday morning begin Route 66 west toward the California coast.

My guide for Route 66 will be the first mile-by-mile handbook written by Jack Rittenhouse in 1946.  Jack traveled about 25 miles a day making notes on a yellow pad along the way.  In the evenings he would sit at his typewriter writing about the day's adventure.  My plan is to travel the original route as much as possible. In place of the typewriter I will be sharing the day's adventure with all of you on an iPad. 

Santa Fe Trail east...Route 66 west...what could be better.  Someplace out in Kansas tonight.

be strong, be safe,  Carlan