Posts Tagged ‘Interstate 40’

“People who make no mistakes lack boldness and the spirit of adventure. They are the brakes on the wheels of progress.” – Dale Turner   

Just how many pictures of colorful leaves are you going to take, I finally started asking myself. — Photo by Pat Bean

 Adventures with Pepper: Day 49

After the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, Skyline Trail in Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina and Smoky Mountain National Park into Tennessee, where my RV was lucky to be able to get up to the 35 mph travel limit, Gypsy Lee needed to stretch her wheels.

The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Nashville. — Wikipedia photo

So, because I planned a journey of about 210 miles this day, I reluctantly took to Interstate 40.  to Nashville.            The roadsides were autumn colorful, and the drive not too stressful, until the last fourth of the journey when I hit Nashville Traffic. All lackadaisical sight-seeing and journal notes went out the window at this point.

It got even worse when I got onto Highway 45, also known as Old Hickory Boulevard and which passed by the Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson’s former plantation. This home became a public museum honoring both Jackson and the antebellum South way back in 1869. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1860 and is the fourth most visited presidential home in the country today.

The structure escaped a near-disaster during a 1998 Nashville tornado outbreak. While the house escaped, many old trees, some of which might have been planted by Jackson himself, were blown down. Wood from these fallen trees was used by the Gibson guitar company to make 200 limited edition “Old Hickory” guitars.

A fitting use in a city that’s known for music, I thought.

Book Report: Spent an hour working on Travels with Maggie this morning. No word-count report because I’m doing what I probably shouldn’t be doing. The book is about 85 percent complete but I was suffering from a need to go back and reread everything up to this point. I felt I needed a refresher read before I tie everything up. I also wanted to make a few changes that I decided on a couple of week’s ago in the book’s structure.

Bean’s Pat: Palestine Rose http://tinyurl.com/bmptucc I avidly believe this is oh so true. How about you?

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 “I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” – Rosalia de Castro

Painted Desert Inn

Painted Desert Inn, Petrified Forest National Park. — Photo by Pat Bean

A National Historic Landmark, the Painted Desert Inn was once a thriving roadside stop for Route 66 travelers.

Restored ceiling tiles beneath which diners once ate. — Photo by Pat Bean

It went belly up, Like so many other attractions along the Mother Road, when Interstate 40 replaced Route 66 and bypassed the 25-mile loop through the park.

But where so many of the other relics of the past stand sagging and crumbling, the park has restored the inn to all its former glory.

But without the bustle of a busy lunch crowd, or travelers who might pay to spend the night, the inn felt sad and forlorn.

With only myself, the inn (now a musuem) caretaker and another couple, the place felt ghostly as I wondered through it, trying to imagine it in its heydays.

I didn’t stay long, but rejoined my canine traveling, Pepper, in my RV, so we could continue enjoying the scenery.  

Bean’s Pat: You Are My Collected http://rtewrite.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/you-are-my-collected/ Ditto what Harper said about my own followers. You are appreciated.

*The Pat is simply this wandering/wondering old broad’s way of bringing attention to a blog I enjoyed – and thought perhaps the readers of this blog might, too. It’s given with no strings attatched.

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 “It is better to fill your head with useless knowledge than no knowledge at all.” – Jim Hinckley, author of “Route 66 Backroads: Your Guide to Scenic Side Trips & Adventures from the Mother Road.”


Remains of The First Inn in Texas, named for its border location. Of course it was also the last inn, too. — Photo by Pat Bean


Glenrio, Texas/New Mexico

The old diner — Photo by Pat Bean

Once thriving with business, Glenrio today is a ghost town, its deserted buildings crumbling memories of brighter days that are fast disappearing with time.

Straddling the border between Texas and New Mexico, the town was given life by the railroad and outlying farmers and ranchers. It’s name means river valley, but oddly the description belies its arid location.

At the turn of the 20th century, Glenrio already had a post office, hotel, hardware store, land office, several grocery stores and a newspaper.

It also had, according to “Legends of America,” gas stations – but only on the Texas side of town because New Mexico’s gas tax was higher. New Mexico got the bars, however, because the Texas side of the town was in a dry county.

In 1938, when Route 66 was born, Glenrio, located midway between Amarillo, Texas, and Tucumcari, New Mexico, on the highway, boomed. It was also picked as one of the movie locations for John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.”

Route 66 casualty — Photo by Pat Bean

The prosperity tumbled when its railroad station was closed. But it was only when Interstate 40 replaced Route 66 in 1973, and bypassed Glenrio, that the town died.

I saw no other humans when Pepper and I took the detour to visit the ghost town. It was sad, yet I was fascinated by the decay, trying to imagine the vacant-eyed buildings filled with activity as I knew they once had been.

There was the diner where travelers stopped to eat, and the motel where they slept.

Were those passers-by on their way to Disneyland in California, or to grandfather’s funeral in Oklahoma? Perhaps they were excited about seeing the Grand Canyon in Arizona for the first time, or seeing a new grandchild in Texas?

They might even have been just traveling one-way, perhaps to the big city of Chicago for a new job.

I wandered and wondered, but the crumbling ruins didn’t answer.

Even Route 66 to the west of Glenrio has returned to the earth. When maintaining its pavement got too expensive, New Mexico county workers removed it. I back-tracked to the interstateand exited at the next paved section of 66 still remaining. — Photo by Pat Bean

Perhaps I wondered because I was one of those travelers who had passed through Glenrio in 1950s. I was traveling with an aunt and uncle as a teenage baby-sitter for their young daughter. We were headed to Sequoia National Park.

It was the first time I had ever been out of Texas, and the first time I ever saw mountains. I haven’t been the same since.

Bean’s Pat: Wistfully Wandering http://tinyurl.com/7qzhv8r Say happy birthday. This blogger’s post turned a year old today. Let her take you to Chicago, where Route 66 begins.


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Through the window of my RV, which was parked about 10 miles south of Durango, Colo., I had a magnificent view of the Rocky Mountains' San Juan Range. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So … get on your way.” — Dr. Seuss


Day 17

It was with eagerness that I finally said good-bye to the dreaded Interstate 40, which I would never have driven except for Mother Nature’s tantrums. Not knowing when I would have to stop because of her semi-toppling winds, I wisely, if sorrowfully, chose to avoid my usual backroad routes where RV parks were few and far between.

But today I left Albuquerque, New Mexico, and its gentle Sandia Mountains behind me as I traveled down Highway 550 toward Durango, Colorado — and the more rugged Rockies. These are the mountains that stir my soul to exhilaration.

 Highway 550 is a easy-going four-lane, lightly traveled road that passes through the Santa Ana, Jemez, Zia, Jicarilla Apache, and Southern Ute Indian reservations. It took me from Albuquerque’s 5,314 feet to above 7,300 feet, and across the Continental Divide a couple of times. Sagebrush, juniper and oil wells dotted the landscape. If not for the shape of the landscape, steep hills and high mesas, it would have echoed my drive through West Texas.

I stopped for the night about 10 miles south of Durango, and drooled for awhile out my RV window at my first impressive sight of the Rockies. Corny as it may sound, tears come to my eyes every time I meet them again after an absence.

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