Category: Road Trips

Random Odds and Ends from Kansas and Missouri

Random Odds and Ends from Kansas and Missouri

My route back home to Long Island from Catoosa, Oklahoma in October of 2016 bumbled along Route 66.

At the time I remember feeling like I was moving too fast, that I wasn’t taking enough time to linger. I don’t know why that happens but it does. You long for time away and then while you’re in the midst of it, you won’t slow down to savor it.

Looking through my limited selection of photos through Kansas and Missouri, hindsight tells me that I did it wrong. I hurried too much.

While traveling along ’66 in Illinois, I saw a vibrant blue Selz shoe wall ad in the town of Chenoa. While this one doesn’t quite compare aesthetically, it was still nice to see. This faded ad was in the town of Galena, Kansas.

Cars on the Route and the inspiration for Tow Mater.

I don’t know if I was delirious from dehydration or what, but the signs along the road for Uranus Fudge Factory cracked me up every time. To protect and serve Uranus.

Remember That Time I Rode to Oklahoma?

Remember That Time I Rode to Oklahoma?

In October of 2016, after completing the Void Rally 11 in Fredericksburg, Virginia I set off towards Oklahoma with the goal of seeing the Blue Whale of Catoosa. I know, I know. It’s ridiculous. But, that seems to be my specialty.


Straight as an arrow along Route 66 in Ok.

Swing and a Miss

With follow-through clearly being one of my shortcomings, I never did finish writing about and posting pics from that Oklahoma trip. On the heels of that, I didn’t finish posting photos and notes from my December 2016 California road trip. Hell, I don’t think I even finished up posting photos from my trip through Illinois in 2015. And then there is the little matter of finishing up my open Ask Me Anythings. I don’t even have a viable excuse.

Chances are you don’t care one way or the other so I’m not sure why I’m dancing around like this. I’m just going to shut up and post some pictures from Oklahoma.

Catoosa, Oklahoma

When you build something up in your mind as a pinnacle there is something of a coming down when you reach it. Because I was so focused on seeing the blue whale, I didn’t really have a plan for what I would do after that. Catoosa was the turnaround point of my trip, that much I knew. But there wasn’t anything penciled in after that. And so, I just stayed on Route 66 plugging away back towards Long Island.

Foyil, Oklahoma

Might big front yard turtle. They also had a “watermelon” propane tank back by the house but I couldn’t get a good snap of it. You’ll have to take my word for it and go see for yourself. This was a stones throw from Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park.

Chelsea, Oklahoma

Rush hour in Chelsea. Small towns like this are so far removed from my day to day reality. There is something about their spartan population that appeals to me. The life that I imagine is lived in such places tugs at my heart, every damned time.

Vinita, Oklahoma

This is a former Phillips 66 “batwing” station.

It’s been a minute since I’d seen one of these completely intact!

Commerce, Oklahoma

Another quiet town.

My interest in petroliana probably strikes some people as strange. Perhaps it is. I’m inclined to take a photo of an old gas pump or station more so than a tree. There is probably something psychologically telling in that. Perhaps we’d best leave it alone.

Afton, Oklahoma

The feeling of being far away from home was acute here, for some reason. When traveling on my own, there are times when my excitement is tempered by missing my family. Sharing photos is one thing but being able to turn to someone and speak about what you’re seeing is something else altogether.


The feeling that some of these smaller towns are kept afloat by Route 66 travelers is real. For me there was a mixture of wonder and melancholy. It was almost like, thank goodness you came to see it because it might not be around much longer. While that may not in fact be true, it was something that I came away with. They’re hanging on by the grace of nostalgia and hope.

Onward towards Kansas…

Posts from My October 2016 Oklahoma Road Trip

The Grasshopper, Scorpion and Serpent Who Stole My Heart

The Grasshopper, Scorpion and Serpent Who Stole My Heart

Coming down from the mountains along Montezuma Valley road there were spectacular views of the desert valley below. I was on my way to Borrego Springs to visit Galetta Meadows and the metal sculptures that live among the sand and scrub.

Though there are over 100 different sculptures scattered about, without hesitation I can say that it was the giant serpent that drew me to Galetta Meadows.

It’s rusting, scaly body undulates hundreds of feet through an ocean of sand. It is ferocious and beautiful.

Though there were dinosaurs, elephants, camels and other more snuggly type creatures around, the giant scorpion was my second favorite sculpture. Something about the way it sat menacingly low and ready to strike really captured my heart. I’m not sure if me liking the creepy crawlies best says something about me.

The hapless grasshopper… face to face with a scorpion. We’ve all been there, probably on both sides.

Incidentally, by the end of my trip I’m pretty sure my legs looked just like the grasshoppers. We’ve all been there. Am I right ladies? 😉

I found two liberty dollars in the sand by the giant scorpion. It was my lucky day. My lucky day indeed.

Riding to Sloan, Nevada to Visit Seven Magic Mountains

Riding to Sloan, Nevada to Visit Seven Magic Mountains

On New Year’s Eve eve, I found myself tracking across the Mojave, on through Amboy, past the world’s largest thermometer in Baker and towards Las Vegas. The sky was gray and a chill settled in. When I made it to Sloan, Nevada the surface of the road whispered that I was chasing rain.

Why Sloan? Well, in the desert stands seven colorful towers: Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains

For some reason I naively thought, “It’s New Years time. I’ll have the place to myself. Who the hell else would come out to see stacked fish tank rocks when Vegas is right over there?

As it turned out – lots of people. The ground around the installation hosted a steady stream of visitors making peace signs and curiously out-of-place “sexy looks” for photos.

I don’t get the need to present yourself as sexy in every situation. This is me being sexy on a bridge. Look at me, I’m sexy by these rocks. Remember that time I was sexy by that tree? But I don’t have to get it, I guess. My job is to mind my own business and follow the colorful cairns scattered around the world that lead a path to my heart.

I bet you’d love me if I were a robot.

Visit:

Seven Magic Mountains
35.839026, -115.272360
S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89054

Serendipity is a… Giant Rocking Chair?

Serendipity is a… Giant Rocking Chair?

“Babe! You’re never going to believe where I’m standing right now!”
“Where?”
“In front of the world’s largest rocking chair!”
“Why am I not surprised?”
“Actually, I ended up here completely by accident.”
“Of course you did.”

My husband Kenny’s sarcasm came through loud and clear, even in text. It’s one of those things you learn to interpret after you’ve been partnered for a while. But, for all his disbelief that I hadn’t sought out the giant rocker – it was true.

While bumbling along The National Road in Illinois, I saw a sign for the World’s Largest Wind Chimes. Look… when something like that is advertised on a road sign? You visit it. It could go one of two ways: A fantastic triumph of roadsidery -or- a letdown of epic proportions. Both scenarios could be a win.

When I pulled in to Casey, Illinois following the signs for the chimes I was treated to a fantastic display of roadside Americana. Not only were there giant wind chimes (which you can ring), but sweet holy moly, there was a giant rocking chair, a mailbox, a pencil, a metal cactus. Holy crap, this place was awesome!

Big things, small town.

Casey wasn’t on my radar to visit, I’d just been passing through. Perhaps the universe tugged me there.

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