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route66Sign.gif (1961 bytes)Route 66 Trip '99        Alex, Baker, John, and Rachel
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   e-mail us on our trip!
Day 1 - Illinois
Day 2 - Missouri
Day 3 - Kansas/ Oklahoma
Day 4 - Oklahoma
Day 5 - Oklahoma/Texas/New Mexico
Day 6 - New Mexico
Day 7 - New Mexico/Arizona
Day 8 - Arizona/California
Day 9 - California
Day 10 - California
Day 11 - California
Day 12 - California
Day 13 - California / Nevada / Utah / Wyoming
Day 14 - Wyoming / Colorado
Day 15 - Colorado / Nebraska / Iowa / Illinois

Day 5  [7/24/99]
From: Elk City, OK
To: Tucumcari, NM
Total Miles: 215 
Sites Seen: Tribute to Barbed Wire, Amarillo, Cadillac Ranch, Texas Trading Post, Glenrio, Tucumcari
Today's Entry By: John Raskin

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John really likes the U Drop Inn Cafe so here's a picture of it.
Day five was special because we proved to ourselves that we are flexible in our itinerary, which we have been insisting to our relatives for months. Instead of staying in Vega or Amarillo, which we had expected to do, we forged on through Texas to New Mexico, where we stayed in the quasi-border town of Tucumcari. But the tale starts in Oklahoma…

We departed from the Holiday Inn in Elk City, a motel we will remember always for its miniature golf, ping pong and teenage basketball players of multiple genders who wear their jerseys everywhere, in case they forget which team they’re on. Our first event of the day was spotting a pack (herd?) of ostriches (avestruz in Spanish) who proved to be incredibly unattractive creatures. We backed the car up the road a quarter mile to get the best view, but it turns out that ostriches, despite their exotic name, are nothing more than a dark sphere with feathers, legs and a head arbitrarily thrown about it.

route66Sign.gif (1961 bytes) Then we saw a troll. Or at the very least, it was a teenager sitting under a bridge (maybe it’s a fad in Oklahoma) as we passed by. He waved. Rachel waved back. They haven’t spoken since.

There was, of course, the Devil’s Rope and Route 66 Museum. The route 66 part was self-explanatory and devil’s rope, we have learned, is "barbed wire" in south-central United States lingo. The museum was closed when we stopped by, but we managed to snap a photo between two enormous balls of barbed wire.

We then visited Lake McClellan, where we exchanged glances with bored children sitting outside an RV, and some of us waded in the water. We also heard a genuine Texan child shout "Yee-hah!" from the middle of the lake, which gave us the local flavor we had been hoping for. We then rearranged the "bumper poetry" on the side of our car to say "Please kiss me, truck child," and moved on.

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Later that day we proposed a toast to Barbed Wire.
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John really likes this picture of Baker standing in the back of an old truck with a tree growing up through the hood, and Rachel said that there's also a little cactus growing by the truck, and Rachel wanted to take the picture in another old truck that you could acutally get into, but Baker wanted to have the tree sticking out of the truck so rachel took the picture and here it is.
Then there was the "leaning tower of Texas," as the guidebooks call it: the Britten water tower. It was leaning a good 15-20 degrees from vertical, so Alex stood up on its base to pose for a photo. Baker got his photo, but, like the idiot he is, he leaned over as he was taking it, effectively correcting the lean of the tower but putting Alex at an awkward angle.

We discovered at approximately this point that Alex, although she has concealed it well, has no idea which one is "right" and which is "left." Her confusion may have helped us keep on track, though, because our guidebook has a similar difficulty. So two wrongs really may make a left.

The "city" of Amarillo disappointed us. We had hoped for something like Oklahoma City, where a small clump of office buildings rises out of the barren landscape to form a mini-metropolis. We had planned to stay there for the night, but we got there by lunch (Taco Villa) and decided that we didn’t want to spend more time there than was necessary. So we pressed on…

route66Sign.gif (1961 bytes) West of Amarillo we saw "Cadillac Ranch," a public art display by the interstate that consists of 10 old cars stuck halfway into the ground and covered with spray paint by all the visitors who have passed trough. We took a series of photos and painted "Shandel von Funk 99" down the side of one car, using a can of spray paint we found lying on the ground.

Near the "ranch" was the Texas Trading Post, a tourist spot off the interstate where we all bought ourselves bracelets that say "W.W.J.D." (see day 4). We figured if we were pulled over for speeding or something the driver would just lean his or her hand out the window and the police officer would look us over, decide we were local types (certainly not urban Jews; they’d never wear such a bracelet), let us off with a warning and refer us to the appropriate verse in the Bible. The situation hasn’t arisen, but we’re prepared. I also bought a small Texan flag (don’t mess with me) and Alex got herself a cowboy hat.

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Rachel was real hot back in the van.
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Shandel Von Funk goes down in Cadillac Ranch history.
We then crossed into New Mexico about five times in a row while we made circles around the ghost town of Glenrio, where there is supposedly a sign marking the Texas-New Mexico border. We finally gave up and continued into New Mexico, where the topography instantly changed from Texan nothingness to New Mexican desert. We all breathed a sigh of relief when we entered New Mexico (I had a one-day love affair with the state, but it was nice to leave it). We drove to Tucumcari, where we hopped from motel to motel until we found the best deal: a motel with a pool and a "suite" with comfortable living space for an excellent bargain. We can’t mention the name of the motel because we had some billing issues and we certainly don’t want to sound like we endorse them. We downed a couple of "Route 66 beers" (road-themed root beer—get it?) and watched Forget Paris until we discovered that we had stayed up too late and went to sleep to prepare for my birthday.

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