Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Why Route 66 & Beyond?

I turned 50 this year.

I'm not sure what that has to do with anything; perhaps just some sort of lame justification for the crazy things I've done lately. Or the crazy things, planned and otherwise, that I'll do throughout the remainder of the year. Not exactly a midlife crisis since 50 is probably well beyond midlife, and I'm not in crisis mode - I'm actually pretty happy with the way things are in my life. Nonetheless, if I'm to accomplish all of these insane and inane acts before I turn 51, I'd better get crackin'.

Next on my list is an 8,000 mile (more or less) road trip. I began thinking about this long before I turned 50, but each time I brought it up Sue would just look at me like I'd suddenly gone mad; at least in part because I kept inviting her to go with me. "What makes you think I want to travel 8,000 miles in a car with you?", she would ask incredulously. And I would sheepishly shrug, putting my trip on the back burner until I would think to bring it up again the next year. And the next. But turning 50 has been my salvation. Sue, saint that she is, has chosen for whatever reason to put up with my craziness this year. Although not exactly willing to climb in the car with me, she has allowed me the pleasure of a solo sojourn; a three week trip around the country.

So here's the plan: Beginning Friday, June 1st I pile into my G35, fill it up with gas, and begin my trek toward Chicago. There I will pick up the beginning of the Mother Road - Route 66. I'll follow Route 66 as closely as I can, until I reach Santa Monica, California. From there I'll take the Pacific Coast Highway north to a point just west of Eugene, Oregon, where I will pick up U.S. 20 and begin my long drive east. Assuming that I can maintain my schedule, I'll take U.S. 20 all the way to Boston. Then I'll backtrack to Mount Washington, New Hampshire where I'll meander south along side the Appalachian Mountains, finally winding up where I started in Brevard, North Carolina.

The entire trip has to be accomplished in 20 days. I don't get home from my Dallas business trip until May 31st. Then on June 21st I leave for a business trip to Salt Lake City, so I have from June 1st through the 20th to get back home, whether I have completed the entire trip or not.

As I travel, I plan to follow a few rules. Rule #1 is to avoid as many interstate highways as possible. If you have ever read "Blue Highways" by William Least Heat Moon you will recognize him as my kindred spirit, and you'll understand my need to take the slow, meandering routes through the countryside. Rule #2 is to eat in as many roadside diners and cafes as possible. No restaurant chains if I can help it. Rule #3 pertains to the Route 66 portion of the trip; I plan to stay only in the traditional motels and motor lodges along the Mother Road. There are some specific ones I already have in mind. After Route 66 I may alter my sleeping plans. It just depends on how I feel at that point.

This blog is my way to keep in touch with everyone throughout my sojourn. I plan to update it every night, posting pictures and details of the day's activities. If you've read this far I'm hopeful that you won't get too bored and that you'll remember to check in from time to time. If nothing else, you'll know which of the 27 states I'm traveling through that I'll be in at any given time.

See you on June 1st!


Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,good luck with eating at those diners and sleeping at those roadside motels.Please don't bring any lice home to Sue & Anna...Karen & Gordy.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Yes, you are mad. And yes. Yes, I am a saint! Love, Sue

Anonymous said...

You go for it Mikey! Have a great time. Love you. MOM

Dave said...

Hey Mike: The entire Clarity Research Conglomerate wishes you the very best as you munch on Route 66 veggie burgers & low fat chocolate malts! Hustle for the panel!


Anonymous said...

Little Mikey Curtis! I'm so jealous! But I hope you have a wonderful time and that you will share your most interesting photos.

Don't miss New Mexico. It is an interesting place even though it looks like miles and miles of nothing.

Aunt Anne

elderaunt said...

Happy trails to you,- until we meet again! If you can spare the time please do drop in and say hello. It's been many years since I traveled down old route 66 with my first husband. Talk about interesting! Too bad I made it with the wrong person. I hope some of the tiny towns with great people still exist,- and stick to your plans to eat in those individually owned restaurants. Much, much friendlier.
Drive carefully! There's a lot of love riding with you. Aunt Mona

Anonymous said...

Have an awesome trip Mike!

J. Clift

Dave said...

Ok, ok, have you hit LXVI yet???

elderaunt said...

Now don't be pushing your luck too hard by driving too many miles in a day! Slow down and enjoy every second of your trip. We ran into a few fantastic restaurants years back when we moved from NY to here. I hope you are as lucky. Rest well,- drive careful! Aunt Mona

elderaunt said...

Am I the only one commenting on a daily basis?
My advice for the day is heed those warnings in the papers about a reinsugence of bedbugs. Probably won't find any in that upscale room. lol. When Jim and I went to San Diego before we moved to CA we rode mostly beside 66. If you get a chance when you are going thru some of those little towns with fewer than 50 people, stop and talk to some of the folks. You'll meet some unusual and memorable people. But hey,- don't let anyone inspect your
tires when you stop for gas!!!
Love, Aunt Mona

mom said...

Hi I didn't get to you yesterday and today i can't get your blog on my computer. Lucky for me, I can still get it on Bills. Sounds like a wonderful trip so far. I gave the address to all my sisters so they can follow you on you trip also.

Anonymous said...

Mikie may a legion of angles be with you and guide you home safely after a great trip with these angels going all the way with you!!
Aunt Bea and Harry!

lankyboys'mom said...

Love the blogs, Mike! We're all living vicariously through you . . . keep up the good work!!!


Sue K - another "1957 Special"

cathy bentley said...

Hey Travlin Man!
Sue emailed your blog link to me and i will thank her when i finish this message to you. It is quite clear you are having a great time and am glad you are sharing your trip with us. reading your daily journal is fun and the pics are great!
looking forward to tonights update.
ps all the best people were born in '57!

Susan G. :) said...

Hi Nomad!

I think it's very cool that you're keeping your promise to yourself, and taking this adventure. Much to often in life we put our dreams on the back burner on simmer for way, way to long until they finally evaporate. Be safe, reflect, and come back rejuvenated- Don't pick up any hikers, I don't care if they Do have a case of dark Ale. lol

Susan G. :)

Anonymous said...

Yayyy for you! I loved my US driveabout years ago. Mine wasn't route 66 trip, but I saw loads of interesting stuff, met lots of beautaful people and places. I'm just getting to your blogs, but I'm sure it was a blast.

Oh, and yeah, 50 is far from midlife. I think that's somewhere around 75, and you won't be able to claim old (and likely SS) until about 100.

Cousin Carl