My sister turned 66 on September 15th. It’s the time of her life when accumulating memories far outweigh accumulating possessions. So last Christmas I gave her a book and map on Route 66, and the gift of time to join her on a road trip I knew she wanted to make: Route 66 for her 66th!
As a passionate reader of history, and enthusiastic storyteller, she was delighted with the gift. The thought of this trip appealed to us both. It harkens back, I think, to distant and fond memories.
Our Dad was from Billings, Montana. When I was a child in the 60’s, flying was considered a luxury – certainly for a family trip. Every summer we would pile into the car and make the trek out West to visit Grandmother. I’m not sure if it was the memory of stocking up on candy at Blann’s Pharmacy (that only happened for road trips) or the uninterrupted time I had with my parents, that was the genesis of my love of the open road. Perhaps my fondness for road trips simply comes from my being a gypsy at heart. Regardless, traveling brings me a sense of joy that is only understandable to like-minded people. I enjoy seeing the fabric of the countryside, town and city. Seeing how people live and sharing conversations in a local diner are absolutely at the top of my “to do“ list on such a trip.
So today I’m sharing reflections I learned, or was reminded of, along the way.
Lessons from the road…
Savor the kitsch. Route 66 is filled with iconic memorabilia. It is a visual smorgasbord of Americana. It reminded me to simply slow down and take time to look around.
Be open to new culinary adventures. I confess, that after days of diner food, I was thrilled to arrive in L.A. and be able to grab a freshly pressed ginger/apple juice. But nothing will compare the memory of eating a deep fried Twinkie at Boom-a-rang Diner in Bristow, OK.
Plan ahead. In complete transparency, after my initial contribution of a book and map, my sister did all of the planning for our trip. And I truly appreciated her thoughtful planning. She made sure we toured most of Route 66’s highlights, such as The Blue Whale and Cadillac Ranch. She built in plenty of time to take detours along the way. I decided that this was a great reminder of the best way to experience life.
Be flexible – Traveling Route 66 helped remind me of the need for adaptability. Seeing the businesses that were able to survive, and those that did not after much of the highway’s traffic moved to the interstate highway system, made me think about the changing landscape today. As the brick and mortar retail landscape cedes traffic to the internet highway, it’s important to take note and respond accordingly.
Gratitude. Spending 10 days side by side with my sister is a memory I will treasure for a lifetime.
In celebration of our trip, Jane will be recreating some of my favorite “diner” classics. For those of you who are inspired to explore “the Mother Road,” here are a few of the resources we liked best: Route 66 News, The Route 66 Podcast, and Route 66 Adventure Handbook: High-Octane Fifth Edition.
If you want to get an early start on Holiday Shopping come visit me on Saturday, October 14th from 12 pm – 3 pm at Read It and Eat It!
“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.”
― Erol Ozan