Day 3- Oklahoma City to Santa Fe, New Mexico
Updated: Oct 20, 2020
On the road early once again- the day broke bright but windy as we headed out across the Great Plains west toward Amarillo. I was interested in learning more about Route 66, the “Mother Road” meandering from Chicago to LA.
I love American Modern neon signs that once dotted our landscape but have largely vanished.
We stopped at the Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Oklahoma. It was apparent it would be onerous to visit all the Route 66 sites as there is much to see. So we thought we’d spend the day trying to catch what we could.
The beauty of Route 66 past Oklahoma City is that it largely follows Interstate 40, wandering from one side of the highway to the other. It was easy to drop off the highway, pass through a small town in Texas and get back on, as the Texas Panhandle is flat as a pancake.
We spent the day visiting stopping at sites in Amarillo and Tucumcari New Mexico; it was great fun. Lots of terrific neon signs, old diners, abandoned motels, stores, gas stations. It was apparent that a fuller Route 66 trip will be in order in the near future.
We also visited the Cadillac Ranch, a collection of Cadillacs stuck in the ground outside of Amarillo. This is a very clever, extremely popular art installation. You can read about it here:
At the border of New Mexico, the terrain switches from Texas flatland to desert scrub. You can see for miles as the road runs very straight. We were in the west, I love the landscape and we motored on to Santa Fe, just one of many great places to visit in the southwest.
Trees in the Texas panhandle are bent from constant winds that wail across the plain. They looked tired from trying to hold onto, dust covered and weary.
The US Interstate system is a 20th century marvel. The system was built due an increase in all manner of traffic on two-lane highways, as Americans took to the roads after WW2 with a passion. Sadly, the Interstate tends to by-pass many great sites. Travel before the InterState system was much slower, but probably also much more tiring. Hard to imagine travelling without air- conditioning in this part of the world.
There are huge wind turbine farms in Texas and New Mexico that stand in stark contrast to the abandoned oil rigs that also dot the landscape. It seems apparent that we must move off carbon based fuels by embracing the new technologies such as wind and sun.
Little Feat’s "Willin’" came to mind as we made our way across New Mexico:
I been warped by the rain, driven by the snow I’m drunk and dirty don’t ya know, and I’m still, willin’ Out on the road late at night, Seen my pretty Alice in every head light Alice, Dallas Alice
I’ve been from Tuscon to Tucumcari Tehachapi to Tonapah Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine And you show me a sign I’ll be willin’, to be movin’