Tag Archives: Road trip across the USA

Hope Surges on Route 66/ I 40 across the USA.

According to distance-cities.com there are 2,471.06 between Charleston SC and Los Angeles,CA. If one were to drive non-stop, it would take 1 day and 11 hours without stopping to pee. It took me seven.

Creek Casino, Muskogee, OK

Creek Casino, Muskogee, OK

The main routes across my expansive country are Interstates 80, 40 and 10. I chose 40 which is also the old Route 66 known as Main St US.

Route 66 cafe

Route 66 cafe

Cadillac Ranch

Cadillac Ranch

A, made famous in the l960s by the song, Get Your Kicks on route 66, and the Route 66 TV show.

Back then it was all about the cars: colorful sexy, sleek, gas guzzling automobiles that felt like they were floating down the road-back seats big enough for three or four kids and a dog, or for making making babies.  In fact, my twin sons were conceived in a jaunty push-button, two-toned salmon colored dodge on a sultry summer evening in July, 1960.image

One has to deliberately exit the interstate to get to the old route, but to do so is a total trip into the past. I thoroughly enjoy the stores and restaurants that have been run by the same families for generations. I’m moved thinking I may have shopped in some of them during my first trip across the US with my mom and her friend, Tacy, in l953 when I was ten!

Eight years ago, on a road trip with my friend, Sherry Gaskin, we stopped for the night at the Route 66 Motel. I don’t remember exactly where it was, but the flouncy bedspread, and lace curtains could have been in my grandmother’s house.

As part of the price we were given breakfast vouchers for the restaurant next door: the Road-Kill Cafe. Although it didn’t feature opossum or freshly fender-whacked deer, we discovered that meat and potatoes were de riguer. When we both ordered oatmeal, fruit and yogurt, the young, pregnant waitress, peered at us with a blank stare. Within a few minutes she brought us coffee. While we sat waiting for our food,  customers around us came and went after devouring plates filled with bright yellow, slimy eggs over easy, accompanied by generous hunks of crisp bacon or sausage, potatoes, and toast or a plate piled high with four inch biscuits smothered in beige gravy. 

Finally we inquired about our food. She didn’t flinch. “This is the ROAD KILL CAFE. We don’t have yogurt, or fruit  or oatmeal,” she replied. “Oh. In that case we’ll have # 2 scrambled, with bacon and wheat toast.” we answered in succession.

I tipped her a dollar because she was surly, and the service was shitty. Sherry left her five. “Why’d you do that, Sherry?” I asked. “Oh, she’s a young, pregnant woman who lives in the middle of nowhere, working at the Road Kill Cafe. She needs something to brighten her day.” Ahh. Compassion. Random acts of kindness. I have a lot to learn from my friend.

This past trip, I stopped in Muskogee, OK, made famous by country music legend, Merle Haggard, with his song, Okie From Muskogee, recorded in l969. The song was Merle’s tribute to the values of folks in Oklahoma, and his renouncement of the  hippie movement going on in San Francisco. I was there to rendezvous with my dear friend, Kate, who’s living in Kansas, whom I had met in the 1980s in San Francisco when I was doing stand-up. We explored the sleepy town, had a hot chicken salad smothered with yellow cheese, at the new Creek Casino, and walked around an expansive park, where I unknowingly gifted to a lucky person a hand loomed scarf I’d  bought in Guatemala a few years ago.

Mole @ MEXICAN FOOD, AZ

Mole @ MEXICAN FOOD, AZ

Next I stopped  to visit with my new friend, Sandra, in Albuquerque, NM. I met Sandra and her mom, Rosa, in the Amazon jungle the previous September at the Nasty Monkey Hostel, (my name for it), Puerto Narino, Colombia. When Clare, another traveling acquaintance and I were invited to celebrate Rosa’s 70th birthday, we gladly accepted. Attended by two boys under ten, we drank beer, unidentified whiskey, and Rosa and I danced. Two old ladies cutting the rug in the jungle, happy to be alive.

L-R Ruby, Rosa, Claire, Sandra

L-R Ruby, Rosa, Claire, Sandra

The US is expansive, and diverse. Immigrants came from all over the world looking for freedom, to strike it rich, farm, and many other reasons. Aside from our deplorable treatment, and annihilation of the majority of the native Americans, I remember when our politicians compromised: when the country and we the people were priorities. Now, our politics are a mess. Congress has become the Tower of Babel, unable to communicate with each other, servants controlled and dominated by corporate greed and billionaires such as the Koch brothers.

Interstate 40

Interstate 40

However, zipping along in Margaret, my Mini Cooper that was a Christmas gift from my daughter, Anna in 2006, the windows down, the sun roof open, a CD blasting, and cruise control set to keep the speed legal, cruising from state to state, across highways that are still superior to most in the world, it was easy to forget our troubles. It was as if hope surged through the air. Even the ticket I got for an illegal lane change, while I was on the phone not paying attention, could not dampen my love of this place I call home.

 

 

 

 

Muskogee, OK, North America

Creek Nation Casino

Creek Nation Casino

Kate & Ruby

Kate & Ruby

image image1,134 miles across North America and I’ve reached Muskogee, OK. Muskogee was not on my bucket list. However, it’s just a four hour drive from Lawrence, KS, where my friend Kate lives, so it seemed a good place to rendezvous on my drive across North America. 

Muskogee is a quiet town. Kate, Mary Jane,  and I are crusing Main Street. No one is burning their draft cards, probably because we haven’t had a draft since Merle Haggard put Muskogee on the map, but Old Glory does still wave from the court house. I didn’t see any white lightening at the new Creek Nation Casino, but the hot chicken salad smothered with yellow cheddar cheese was a first, and the wine too sour for me to drink. Not a first, but close.

I took several photos of  inside the casino and the  cleaning lady held down the button on my iphone taking several priceless photos of Kate and me before the guard stopped our illegal actions. Casinos- such a surreal place to to throw  your money away.

Was Merle’s guitar blue?

Unfortunately, The Museum of the Three Civilized Tribes was closed, but the park was bustiling with children and folks walking around the lake. We slid down the yellow tube slide at a  smaller park, shrieking like old ladies,  and watched the Canadian Geese forage for acorns until a woman in a near-by house brought out the bread. Salt and sugar over raw nuts anytime!  

Canadian Geese Muskogee

Canadian Geese
Muskogee

Kate and I met in the early 80s. We lost touch, but she tracked me down through the  internet. Now, We are righteous, old liberal women, agast that our country has been taken over by corporations, and worst of all, that folks don’t seem to notice. Still, we find many things to laugh about, and Kate, bless her, can even remember some of my long retired, comedy routines.

Last night in Amrillo, TX,  I had supper at a restaurant that sported a large sign MEXICAN FOOD. Enuff said. The home made mole was delicious.

Today, I’ll drive 4 or 5 hours to Albuquerque where I’ll spend a couple of days visiting my new friend, Sanda, whom I met, along with her mother. Rosa,  in Puerto Narino, Colombia,  during the summer.

The road, new friends, old friends. Hose me down.