Route 66: Why drive 2100 miles across USA and not even get to the other coast?

dayninetostlouis (7)Why do a road trip? Given I started off this trip after researching the character for my next book who is into sustainable everything and ethical living, a walk (our usual form of filling in our spare time eg the 2038km version of the Camino de Santiago we did!) might have been a better choice.

But we were in America. And Americans drive. It was too cold (and risk of being snowbound) to go to another National Park (Yosemite in April was magic), and how else were we ever going to see the parts of America that well, frankly, there was no other reason to go to? Our media is full of US news and shows, we (Aussies) tear our hair out at what they get wrong (healthcare, gun laws), love what they get right (a lot of great films and TV, National Parks, positive attitude, just about everything about New York etc). We would have loved to do it in a Cadillac, preferably pink and with the top down, but again…too cold. On a motorbike? It’s my heroine Natalie that rides one not me!

But we had to get to New York, not Chicago. And Chicago was north (north = snow). So I drew a line from the most south-eastern point of the Route 66 (essentially Oklahoma City) and took in Memphis (a chance to see Graceland!), Nashville (fabulous- who does country music better than USA?) and Asheville (a gem in North Carolina we have been to before and didn’t need an excuse to return to). But we were enjoying Route 66 so much when we got to OKC…we kept going. Now in St Louis, it means a big day tomorrow, south on the Interstate.

Highlights?

  1. EZ guide – impossible to even think about doing this without it! A bonus was meeting its author and getting our book signed!
  2. There is a ton of Old 66 still remaining.
  3. The history; not just the pilgrims escaping Boston winters that made the trip, but the Okies and Grapes of Wrath that were never far away.
  4. Lonely roads with a history, from desert to wheat and cotton fields: USA’s so BIG and DIVERSE!
  5. People are essentially really NICE.
  6. I don’t need to look at GIANT things but there were plenty…just wondering why you would put a giant penguin (totem poles, bulls etc a little easier to fathom) in the centre of USA, is enough to keep a smile on your face.
  7. The sheer number of people living off “Route 66” is amazing… for people who like nostalgia, museums, and trinket shops, do this drive!!!
  8. Petrol (Gas) is cheap!!!
  9. Texans really do wear cowboy hats in bars.
  10. La Posada—beautifully restored, nice restaurant and great gifts! (The entire female members of family have now got Christmas presents…)
  11. El Rancho—beautifully restored, we had the Ronald Reagan suite. Plenty of black and white photos of old movies.
  12. Dominique’s gift shop opposite the Corner in Winslow.
  13. If you’re iron deficient, you won’t need supplements on this trip.

Low points? Not many!

  1. Well being pulled over by a cop is never great…on that way to St Louis we took the wrong turn and nearly ended up in an Army facility line to have our cars inspected. The hasty U turn resulted in a car tailing us…well maybe we were a bit paranoid.
  2. We’re foodies. We come from one of the top ten (two??) coffee cities of the world. We eat out a lot. LA we ate in a vegan restaurant—not our usual style, but it was superb. Steaks? Burgers? They were all great. But breakfast? Sugar hits at every turn. Coffee? Who wants to drink dishwater? Bring on New York…
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About annebuist

Anne Buist is the Chair of Women’s Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and has over 25 years clinical and research experience in perinatal psychiatry. She works with Protective Services and the legal system in cases of abuse, kidnapping, infanticide and murder. Medea’s Curse is her first mainstream psychological thriller. Professor Buist is married to novelist Graeme Simsion and has two children.
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