We hit the road very late after loading the cats and Mom’s effects, perhaps 2pm. So, we didn’t aim to get very far, just out of the area and into our first hotel at a decent time. We took at different route home than originally planned. The car’s engine problem, our one day delay, and reports of inclement weather (and visible slow-downs on I-80 in Google Maps) had me rethinking how much I wanted to risk being in the cold if I have further troubles. The potential for trouble had me thinking that I wanted to stay on the Interstates since services are more plentiful there. We had silly goals to “check-off” some of the middle states and to visit a few attractions. BUT, given what my brother saw in the Sequoias (snow and ice), there was a good chance that the Bonneville Salt Flats and Pike’s Peak would be inaccessible to my GTI and trailer, anyway. I had already canceled all of our hotel reservations along the previous return route when we were delayed a day. So, different hotel stays were in order. Plus, I wanted shorter travel days due to our fatigue. I removed NV, UT, WY, CO, and NE from our plan and decided to return along I-40.
Our first stop was in Tehachapi, just 120 miles down the road. I don’t remember seeing the pumpjacks in Bakersfield that someone mentioned. I must’ve been focused on the drive or simply desensitized to their presence after having seen so many in TX and NM. We got a nice suite at the end of the hallway and were able to park right outside the door. The parking lot was nearly empty. I “stunt-parked” two spots over from the only other vehicle in the lot, which made coming out to THIS the next morning a bit of a surprise.
I’ve heard of people with junk cars doing this to “teach a lesson” to those who park in more than one spot. But seeing someone do it with an expensive truck threw me off. After taking the photo, I went to move my car so I could load. That’s when I saw potential motivation for this driver’s decision. I suspect he was trying to conceal his cargo. While I still think it was inconsiderate to park that way, I at least understood that he wasn’t trying to be a douche… at least I hope that’s the case.
One of our fuel stops was in Seligman, AZ. I’ve read that there are cool things to see there. Unfortunately, it was dark, the streets were unlighted, and most small businesses appeared to be closed. Regardless, I had a goal to make Flagstaff that evening and didn’t want to dawdle. I spent some time after refueling to capture this image. Afterwards, we continued into the darkness with our sights set on Flagstaff, AZ.
Our hotel room in Flagstaff was interesting. The owners had converted one side into “suites” by knocking out a portion of a dividing wall, then made one side the king bedroom and the other into a living room. They left the bathrooms “as-is”, which meant that we had two TINY bathrooms that were unsuitable for the cats. We used the Husky tubs and kennels to create a barrier so that the cats would have run of the bathroom AND sink area. Parking was scarce, too. Someone pulling a horse trailer commented at the front desk that “we” would need to park down the street. “We’ll see” was my simple reply. The photo below shows where I stuffed the trailer. “Stunt parking” is my norm! He drove by as we were unloading.
Miss Kitty escaped around 3:30 am. She rubbed on my face and then went under the blankets. I was content to leave her be until my wife reminded me that her water and litter box was on the other side of the barricade. Plus, we needed to check on the boys to make sure they weren’t loose, too. I stuffed her back into their space and fortified the opening where she had squeezed through. Then I slept a while longer. Our goal was to make Oklahoma City the following day. But, more important, I wanted to visit a special Route 66 attraction.
Our path to Oklahoma City took us right past Shamrock, TX. Shamrock has several Route 66 attractions. I think they’re small and possibly don’t get a lot of attention, especially during this time of the year. I think Shamrock may be most famous for the Conoco Tower Station. The station has a cafe, the U-Drop Inn Cafe. However, it was closed, as were most small businesses in 2020. I’m quite certain that “Ramone’s” body shop in Pixar’s “Cars” was inspired by this building. In fact, many of the movie’s landscapes and buildings were based on attractions all along Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago. See an image of “Ramone’s” in the album below.
As we passed through the Texas panhandle, we were surprised to see wind turbines for as far as was humanly possible. I thought there was a lot of wind turbines near Tehachapi (nearly 5000). But this area touts having over 10,000 of them. Based on what we saw, I believe it. I managed to get close enough to one on a quiet road to snap this photo. I was quite surprised that they weren’t turning at all. The wind was strong and blowing us all over the road. I guess the managers are able to turn them “on” and “off” as needed. Perhaps their power cells were fully charged. Who knows? It made photographing this one easy, that’s for sure. 😉
The turbines turned out to be quite a sight in the evening, too. At first, I thought we were approaching an airport because the landscape looked as if it was covered in runway lighting. But there were no other buildings… definitely not an airport. We wound up on a back road and passed close enough to a lighted turbine to determine what it was… but only by using satellite imagery. It was THAT difficult to tell what was being lighted. We continued on to Oklahoma City, where we had an interesting unloading experience. More on that in the next entry.
No More Route 66,