Day seven, eight and nine. Drove from Tulsa to Amarillo, which we knew would be a long drive. However lots of stops and driver changes made it ok, as did thee scenery and our breaks. We stopped for a break and to see a R66 museum. Then on to Amarillo. Stopped at Fort Reno, which was on the Chisholm Trail – didn’t imagine there could have been a WW 2 Prisoner of War camp there. Stayed 2 nights in Amarillo – the drivers needed a break. Went to the Cadillac Ranch – bit of a disappointment, as there are loads of empty spray cans all over where everyone tags the cars. Weird and wonderful all the same! As we got lost finding it, we found the Visitors Centre and once again, found knowledgeable and friendly staff. She suggested we visited the Peddlars Market there, loads of foods to sample! Also suggested a visit to the palo durowhich we had never heard of. Well, it was certainly worth the detour. Second biggest canyon in the USA, quiet and natural. Hot and friendly once more. Dinner in Amarillo had to be at the big Texan but no-one wanted to try the 72oz steak – the ones we had were plenty big enough. Loads of Texan atmosphere, limos there and back from the hotel. Today we finished crossing the Panhandle and crossed into New Mexico. An hour back on the clock, but so laid back in ambiance. John and I stayed down in town tonight for a couple of beers listening to the music from the Santa Fe Bandstand. Great times!
Day five and six. Went straight into St Louis via a bakery for breakfast. Were parked by the Arch by 9.30, so we thought we’d see if there was any chance of getting up the arch in a decent interval. Good news was that we could do it straightaway, bad news that Sharon couldn’t go. We soon found why when we saw how to reach the top! The pods take 5 people and look like something out of a sci-fi movie! Fantastic views from the top made up for the claustrophobia and we got to know the others in our pods very well in the 4 minutes up and 3 minutes down again! Then drove to Springfield Missouri for our overnight stay. We stayed in a R66 landmark building, which was very 50s and fun! Off to Tulsa in the morning, not so much to see on the journey apart from the heavy rainstorms. So heavy that we had to stop in a local diner in Carthage for a mid-morning snack. Locals friendly as always everywhere. Tulsa big and full of roadworks seemingly. Chinese buffet dinner tonight. Getting energy ready for long road trip tomorrow
We started day 2 with a cruise along the Chicago River learning about the city and its architecture. Very interesting and a great way to find out a lot in a short space of time. Then walked along the shore-line until we found the Buckingham Fountain, near which is the start of Route 66. Day 3 started with hilarity as we tried to all fit into a taxi to find a CTA station with an elevator. Well, 4 of us, plus 4 suitcases plus a wheelchair DO fit into a taxi, even if John and Les still have the indentations of the wheels on their legs as they had to have the wheelchair with us in the back seat! Got to the car hire depot at the airport with few problems. Thank you to all the people who helped us today – from the guy who told us how to find the elevator for the Blue Line, to the train driver who waited for us to board, the Alamo clerk who served us, the man who stopped to take a photo of the boys by the Muffler Man on Route 66, the mechanic who have us directions when we were horribly lost. A day full of laughs!
Day 4 – Great hotel, great staff at the State House Inn in Springfield. Went for a walk through the Farmers’ Market – so much corn and peaches for sale! Lovely smells! Then a totally unexpected and fantastic event. Took loads of photos outside the Capitol Building and then decided to go inside (thought the State Museum was there). We found ourselves on a tour to see the debating chambers for both the Representatives and Senators. Wow what a building, it was incredible. Very open, we could wander round at our leisure, once we’d been through security. Can’t imagine being allowed to walk round the County Council Chambers like that! Then drove off to our first R66 landmark of the day – Shea’s Gas Station. Disappointedly not open and looking a bit tatty. Out of the city then, back on the road. Went to Litchfield where we were welcomed in the R66 Visitor Centre. Went across the road to the Ariston Cafe for a drink. Ended up with lunch! Very tasty. Back on the road again to try and find Henry’s Rabbit Ranch. Another mild disappointment, but a good laugh. Driving across the Mississippi was not a disappointment though – fantastic and even wider than expected. Another detour meant we lost R66 and had to go the long way round to the hotel. Seems a decent stop for the night, but no breakfast included. On to St Louis tomorrow and then through Missouri
Day one of our Route 66 Road Trip. I’ll be posting throughout our trip. Started the day way too early and got to heathrow before our allotted time for the meet & greet pickup. Very efficient service then in to the terminal for bag drop. Took a while because of special assistance, but got there in the end. Straight through security then up to the No 1 Traveller Lounge. Nice to have breakfast as we wanted with unlimited refills of tea, coffee and juice. Relaxed on sofas before our flight. Again fast tracked onto the plane. Neat wheelchair for Sharon to get her to the seats. Very fetching flight compression socks fitted to all, not without some discomfort! Plenty of food and drink on board, and ice creams! Watched Django Unchained – excellent. Starting to read but keep getting distracted. Really annoyed that I forgot to bring the iPad charger, but I’m sure Apple have a shop where I can buy one!
Later that night! Bought a charger. We had a supper in a local tapas bar – not really supper though as it was late afternoon. Les and Sharon came back to their room as they were exhausted. John and I wandered round a bit, found a bar showing sports, had a beer then came back also
Airports can be a colossus pain in the backside to navigate through…but would you pay for someone to chaperone you through the chaos? Fred Mawer advises on how to save money when flying this summer.
Good tips here as airports can be notoriously expensive!
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