Route 66 and the open road

Day 5 – Miles for Peace Motorcycle Adventure –

Waking up at the KOA seems to be recurring theme in our travels and the Elk City/Clinton KOA was no different. Another factor that seems to remain constant was the fact that when 11:00am check p-out time rolls around we were still packing but this time Sigga let me know how much she disapproved of our late start which results in some silent treatment on both of our sides. Besides our morning Chagrin, the National Route 66 museum was only a short ride west on I-40 and it was sure to be the highlight of our day.

Pulling up the museum, punctuated by a large Route 66 sign advertising it’s presence for all to see, we were quickly met by bikers of all types; those that require engines to push their fuel guzzling machines and those who are of the peddling type. We were all there to share in this experience together. Entering the museum required us to fork over the $5 per person; “cheap for such an experience”, I thought to myself. After receiving the map and the customary introductory paper map tour lead my a red pen, we are off through the gift shop (punctuated by some old Harley’s) and old Route 66 memorabilia.

As we progress out of the rear door of the gift shop and over a small wooden walkway with a mini-mockup of a covered bridge, we are walking around what appears to be a small town resembling what this area would have looked like during the heyday of Route 66. Besides all of the old farm gear, black smithing shop, small town bank and mini Masonic lodge, what really caught my attention were the mannequin’s. Growing up in the age of the Chucky movies, I have a very real dislike of anything that is meant to look lifelike, yet is obviously lacking the characteristics of being human (i.e. an odd-shaped head with a mop of hair haphazardly placed on off-color skin and jammed on a long stick, visible at the neckline between the collar and chin). Basically, if one of these things stood up or turned to look at me, I would have dropped one in my pants. So, what did I think of the museum? Not much…but I did get a picture in front of the Route 66 sign.

As we pass the Oklahoma border and into Texas the landscape begins to change, more of what I thought the west would actually be; wide open land punctuated by ranches and grazing cattle…oh yeah, I did see Hooters in Amarillo (can’t say I’m a fan), but I felt obligated to point it out to Sigga being that is very uniquely American and she responded with a squeeze of my torso acknowledging my request for her attention. As we progress further towards the Texas / New Mexico border, I noticed what appeared to be a number of people standing on an overpass passionately waving American Flags. When we passed a second overpass with the same flag waving going on, I began doing a mental check of any holidays I may have missed for the month of May that were either directly related to patriotism or could be somehow linked to any flag relate event. After some considerable thought I decided that this must be a popular Texas hoppy, flag waving on a overpass. A little further down the road going East on I-40, I noticed what may have been the culprit of all the frantic flag waving; a group of bikers which must have numbered in the hundreds traveling under police escort east on I-40.

As we pass into New Mexico and pull into the Albuquerque KOA, we see unfamiliar site (well truth be told, it was unfamiliar to Sigga, but being from Philly, I’ve seen this type of stuff more times than I would have liked). There seems to be three police cars lined up next to the registration building which is just in front of a line of cabins. Although it doesn’t look like there is much going on at this point, I’m still on guard in case something starts to occur. We walk over to the familiar night registration box and see that someone is manning the registration table in the shop so we decide to inquire about tenting availability with the attendant. Just as we walk in, she hesitantly looks up and says to the person she is talking to on the phone “someone just walked in, I have to go.” As I take a few more steps closer to the registration desk, I see that her eyes are red and she begins to profusely apologize saying between sobs that “there was a problem with some people in the cabins” (alluding to why there
police were there). She continues to talk thought sobs about how to register at night and before we depart she once again apologizes and retreats back to the shop but this time locking the door behind her.

Funny side story: Just after we arrive at our camp sure and decide on who is doing what, (Sigga on tent duty and my mission is to inflate the sleeping pad) I hear a snapping sound and quickly look over at the tent. I ask Sigga what happened and she doesn’t know but I’m almost positive that it was the snap of a tent pole. I inspect the poles and see that in fact one had partially snapped due to not being inserted all the way while being bent around the top arch of the tent. I show Sigga what had happened and let her know about checking the poles to make sure they are all fully seated before bending them across the top of the tent. Anyway, lesson learned and it looks as thought we will be making a trip to REI tomorrow.

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