Ah road trips, how I love them. The sights, the experience, the music played along the way. They are glorious things.
When I was a kid our family did road trips all the time. It was sort of our thing. We mostly stayed in Oregon for these, though we did venture out to Arizona once, exploring different parts of the state. We always stayed in Mom and Pop motels, which don’t exist as much today. I loved those. One time we stayed in a motel with a pool shaped like an airplane. Very cool. There were always things to see, places to stop along the way, new adventures to be had. I grew up taking road trips and they got into my blood.
Luckily I met someone who loves to road trip as much as I do. When K was young her family hit the road every year from California to Oklahoma. During our drive out this past week she called her parents to confirm that their main route was route 66. There wasn’t an interstate the majority of the time her family was doing these trips so route 66 was the main route between Los Angeles and Oklahoma. Awesome. As we drove out this last week we basically followed what was the old route 66 highway. Now not even commissioned as a highway, there are still signs along the way indicting where route 66 was and there are long stretches of road you can still drive. Those stretches take you past, as we saw, old gas stations and motels and diners that have fallen into disrepair long ago, though there are still some establishments up and running today. It’s a bygone era, but along that route the feel is still there in some places. It’s pretty cool.
I digress though and will get back to it by saying that we both love a good road trip. It’s why we’ve decided on this trip every year. It serves two purposes… we get to drive back out to Oregon and see everyone we love who lives there and who we miss, and we get to have the experience of traveling different routes out with the pups. It’s tiring, but oh so much fun.
We finally arrived, day seven, after starting in Burns and driving highway 20 through Bend and Sisters, then highway 22 to Salem and the farm. It was nice to get here. Another great thing about road trips is the getting to your destination and getting up the next morning not having to drive anywhere. It’s a good feeling.
We spent yesterday, our first non-driving day, doing some chores like taking our Toyota Tacoma in for servicing so we can put it up for sale, and helping Mom work on the garage at the farm. She’s wanted to clean it out, reorganize, and paint for some time so we cleared that puppy out yesterday and went in and got the paint for it. Today, we paint.
The pups adore Mom and my brother, Kevin. They were very happy to see them and they also love the farm. What dog wouldn’t. They’ve been here many times and they basically get to roam pretty free while they’re here. They were exhausted last night when we went to bed. It’s nice for them.
It’s so good to be here and we’re looking forward to seeing friends and family while we’re here. We love this place and the people in it, and we loved the getting here as well.
Pretty soon we’re going to have to start planning our trip back out to Illinois… wonder which route we’ll decide to take this time?
Our sixth day on the road took us from Burley, Idaho to Burns, Oregon. Nearly three hours less time in the car today than yesterday, which was great. We even took some time to stop for our second cup of coffee at the Flying M Coffeehouse in Boise. We’d stopped there before and loved the place. With a more relaxed driving schedule today we even took some time to walk the pups at the Julia Davis Park. Awesome park in downtown Boise. A place we’d also been before. Sometimes it helps to know your way around a little bit.
We ended up in Burns. It’s a little town in eastern Oregon. Not much here, but we have a nice room, three channels of HBO, and the air is working. What more could you ask for?
Today’s drive was pretty uneventful. My honey took loads of great photos from the passenger seat as the scenery whipped by. Here are a couple of the shots.
Today’s word… drive. Drive and then drive and continue to drive for hours. It was tiring, but it was also gorgeous. Colorado and southern Utah are so beautiful. If you haven’t experienced this part of the country, you should. Seriously. Plan your trip immediately. It will be worth it.
Besides the beautiful landscape there were cows, horses, sheep, some asses, and an antelope. And there were gas stations, rest stops, one really good coffee shop (Coffee Trader in Montrose, Colorado), one funky but not so good coffee place, a mini hike up a semi-steep hill to give the pups a walk and also to see what was on the other side. On the other side was an antelope running down the middle of a road and a beautiful view of the nearby colorful striated hillside. It was worth the little jaunt. It was also nice to stretch the legs.
Today we moved from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Montrose, Colorado. It wasn’t a bad day of driving really, about 6 and a half hours on the road after we checked out and then drove to not one, not two, but three coffee spots in Santa Fe before getting a cup. Our first choice ended up being downtown, where a huge art festival had streets closed. We would’ve loved checking it out actually, from what we could see as we drove past a closed off street the art was pretty awesome, but we had places to be and two dogs who don’t love crowds. We might have braved the crowds with the pups, but time was not on our side. So, on to the stop two. We went for the next place on the list, which ended up not being in the downtown area, but was apparently so popular the entire parking lot was full. On to spot three, which ended up being great. If we lived in Santa Fe, and after visiting we kinda wish we did, we would go to the Santa Fe Baking Company often for both the coffee and the breakfasts. The coffee was great and the breakfasts looked amazing as we passed tables of people with spectacular looking plates. We did manage to get a couple of pastries to go along with the coffees. Both were wonderful.
We decided we love both New Mexico and Southern Colorado. We recommend Colorado highway 114 if you ever get the chance to drive it. It’s not big, and it doesn’t really connect any bigs towns, but it’s worth it for the scenery. It was amazing. The photos we took don’t even do it justice. Just some gorgeous landscape.
Another highlight was the second spot for coffee today, the Milagros Coffeehouse in Alamosa, Colorado. A spur of the moment second cup craving led us to this cool local spot. Yes, they had a Starbucks in town, but if you haven’t guessed by now, we prefer to go local and funky if we can. Milagros was both. Another place we would totally hang out if we spent any time at all in that town. The brew from there was the best of the day. Smooth, strong, and oh so tasty.
The pups are doing so well on this trip. What great little travelers they are. Weston gets his herbal car sick meds in the morning before we leave and they pretty much hang out in their area right behind us, what we like to call the pup lounge, while we’re on the road. They have been rockstars so far. Right now, after getting to play in the huge lawn at this motel (we brought the chuck it and played catch and chase with them for awhile), they are both crashed out in their little beds. They’ve had dinner and their leashes are hanging on leash hooks by the door.
Tomorrow is a long one, probably eight hours on the road. Eight hours with the dogs pushes it, and us, to the limit. It will be tiring, but it will also be beautiful. Colorado is a beautiful place.
Hippie coffee from 806 in Amarillo, no large legs, planted Cadillacs, a decently short drive, wild horses, prairie dogs, southwest food Guatemalan style at the Tune-Up Cafe, head of hope, abandoned route 66, a walk with the dogs along the non-existent Santa Fe River and past two cathedrals, the oldest church in the U.S., and a very hidden Roundhouse State Capital building in Santa Fe. Pictures were taken of most of it. It was a great day of traveling, save for the fact that we didn’t get a good second cup of joe today. Coffee from a quick stop definitely does not count as good coffee.
Our only impressions from the day are these… it’s gorgeous in the part of New Mexico and we love Santa Fe. The vibe here is awesome. Mellow, relaxed, artistic, free. At least that’s what it felt like to us today during our brief visit.
Today was a long day on the road. By choice we went an extra bit today so we could have a short day tomorrow. More time in Santa Fe when we get there. Because today was so long we didn’t do much stopping. Gas, food, rest stops, and just two extra little stops. One at the World’s Largest Fork in Springfield, MO and the other to photograph the Coleman Theater in Miami, OK where Don Hale used to go as a young gent.
Impressions from the day:
Great coffee this morning from Mudhouse Coffee in Springfield, MO. I regret not buying a t-shirt. There was great art on the walls… many black and white photographs of people in white who had mud on them. Loved it. Also a great dinner tonight from Tyler’s Barbeque in Amarillo, TX. The barbecue was Texas sized. Sadly I think we threw away nearly as much as we ate. Our room still smells of barbecue. I think it was the best barbecue I’ve ever had. All in all a very successful food and beverage day.
Today was a scorcher … the thermostat in the rig topped out at 106. It was so hot that when we stopped for our second cup of coffee in Oklahoma City the little girlie started hyperventilating and had to be carried back to the car. She is a tad bit of a drama queen, but it was also hot hot hot. A dry heat.
We are now fugitives in Oklahoma. A tip for anyone driving on the Oklahoma Turnpike… there are not always attendants at the toll plazas meaning you have to have exact change. We made it all the way to our last booth and then only had a $20. There was a change machine, but it only took $1 and $5. We looked at each other, saw the cars behind us lining up, looked at the red light which told us we couldn’t go unless we threw in the change we didn’t have, and we went on through anyway. As we did the alarms went off at the booth. I’m sure, if they took our photo as this happened, the people reviewing it will be cracking up. Our facial expressions were a combo of amusement, consternation, shock, horror, and guilt. Very funny. I think we were both gesturing…. arms up in the air as if to say… what are we supposed to do in this situation?
In two days we’ve seen two enormous crosses. One in Effingham, Illinois, and the other in some un-named little Texas town we passed. They were pretty much equal in size.
It rained on us today for awhile. It was nice and decently cool while it was raining. Then it got hot (see above).
We waved at Mangum, OK and Pryor, OK as we passed the exits with those names and then chatted about K’s childhood a bit. She spent a lot of time in Oklahoma as a kid and it’s always fun talking about that. Someday we need to do more than just drive through. I’d love to see where she was born and some of the places she’s told me stories about.
We started this morning at 10:00… after getting coffee and photographing the fork, which I know sounds late, and got to Amarillo at 7:30. Nine and a half hours on the road. Tomorrow we have a short day, only four hours of driving. Who knows what adventure we’ll find. I love road trips.
Over half way on day one of this year’s road trip to Oregon finds us traveling in Missouri on I-44 West toward our stopping point this evening, Springfield, Missouri.
The rental car: Mazda CX-9 with Texas plates and just about 7900 miles when we started out this morning.
The dogs have some comfy beds and a big area to move around in. They even have a water bowl and bully sticks. Yes, spoiled. What can we say other than we love and adore them.
We just stopped for some to go lunch and more coffee, of course. The iPod is plugged in via USB so we can control it from the car… Sweet. It’s on shuffle and the Gotan Project’s Mi Confesion is blasting from the speakers right now. Love it. This song always makes me want to tango, even though I have no clue how to tango. I can picture K and I doing the tango to this.
So far we’ve passed the huge cross and the Arch. We’re rolling along.