Day 10: Halfway There on Route 66, TX…

At first light we loaded the Jeep and left Palo Duro, which remained as beautiful in the early morning, as it was in the night. The vivid colors blended into a natural collage framed by the windshield as we drove up and out of the spectacular canyon. We returned to Route 66 in Amarillo, heading west…

Our first “stop” for the day, just west of the city, was the “cadillac ranch.”

The sihlouettes of the cadillacs in the middle of a flat empty field rise from the earth like an industrial era stonehenge, and visitors ask the same kinds of questions. “How did they do that?” “What does it mean?” “Who built it and why?”

The old cars, half-burried and full of grafitti, have somehow become an important symbol of something, but nobody is exactly sure of what. Is it a salute to Route 66 and the era of the roadtrip, a monument to American car culture, the graveyard of the American Dream, a commentary on conspicuous consumption gone wild, or an artist’s prank of Texan proportions? I’m not sure if anyone knows the answer, and I guess it doesn’t really matter. We are just drawn to it…

It’s not a complicated sculpture, but it remains quite impressive. Travellers from all over make the “pilgrimmage” here, walking around the old cars in awe. The field is littered with spray paint cans, the remains of the graffiti offerings from the day’s visitors. A brisk wind blows the empty paint cans so they clink as they roll into each other, sounding like some kind of odd industiral wind chime. The sharp lines of the old cadillacs’ tailfins cut into the endless blue sky.

We stay awhile, adding our names to the layers of grafitti, taking photos, just walking around and around and in between. Somehow it was hard to leave.

The day was slipping past us, and we had a lot of driving ahead. We got back on the road, the roadtrip mix playing loudly as we drove.

We didn’t stop again until we reached the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian. This is the official halfway point of Route 66, and we had to make the obligatory photo in front of the sign. We decided to stop in at the cafe for a soda and a snack too. “Silly Squirrel” spent some time looking in the souvenir shop, and came back with more than just postcards this time.

The MidPoint Café itself was originally built in 1928, and was known as “Zella’s.” It was small and had a dirt floor, but the business grew quickly and changed its name many times over the years. It is the oldest continuously running restaurant on the Texas stretch of Route 66. Mother Road travellers keep it going. A small group of motorcycles roared up as we were finishing our food, and they, too, made pictures out by the sign before coming in for lunch.

Somehow we were dragging our feet about leaving. The fact that we were now “halfway there” meant the trip west was half over. This was bittersweet news, as we felt like we had just started, and were in no hurry for the journey’s end. Still, we had to get back on the road, and we had to make a decision about which way we would go once we hit New Mexico…

One Response to “Day 10: Halfway There on Route 66, TX…”

  1. Can’t wait we are driving route in a rv

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