Words for Wednesday: More Kicks

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If you ever plan to motor west,

Travel my way, take the highway that is best.

Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six. 

(Lyrics to Get Your Kicks on Route 66 by Bobby Troup)

The second time proved to be just as relaxing and entertaining as the first.

When Papa and I journeyed to Arizona for the first time two years ago, we flew into Las Vegas, Nevada where our southwestern family members picked us up and drove us south to their home.

The rest of our time spent sightseeing we traveled by car (road trips are the best in my book!) and one day we enjoyed a scenic drive on old Route 66 to Oatman.

Just a couple of months ago on our second trip to Arizona, we flew into Phoenix, secured a rental car, and explored parts of the state on road trips. Yesterday, I posted about our leisurely and pleasant drive on old Route 66 again, only this time from Williams to Kingman.

Today I’m sharing some of my photos of the stops we made and sights we viewed along the way when we were getting our kicks on Route 66.

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“The freedom of the open road is seductive, serendipitous and absolutely liberating.” ~ Aaron Lauritsen

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Give me a road trip any day

blogIMG_1126Now that we’re opening up a bit and not sheltering in place by staying at home, I’m looking forward to more road trips in the near future. I used to love to fly, but in the last few years, I enjoy it less and less.

Obviously, you can get from point A to point B much more quickly by boarding a jet but for me, there’s just something way more enjoyable about packing up the car and setting out for destinations by highway and byway. You can view the most interesting sights and stop whenever and wherever you choose and I enjoy that so much more.

Maybe it’s because when I was young, my father used to take my mother and me on Sunday afternoon drives and I have such fond memories of that. Or maybe it’s just that I like the peaceful, quiet aspect of a car trip consisting of just hubby and me and an open road when we can pick and choose where to go, how far to go, and where we want to stop and check out the scenery.

Back in early March before the stay at home mandates were issued, which seems like an eternity ago, Papa and I flew to Arizona to visit family. Upon arrival at the Phoenix airport, we picked up a rental car and hit the road northward for our Grand Canyon visit.

The day we left the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, rain poured from the overcast, foggy sky. We headed south to Williams, AZ where we could catch an intersecting highway traveling west. But instead of entering the interstate in Williams, we opted to drive westward on old Route 66.

blogIMG_1117With each mile on this less traveled two-lane byway, we encountered blue skies, sunshine, and warmer temperatures. Just what we needed! As an added bonus, Burma Shave signs along the road kept us amused.

blogBurmaShaveWhat a fantastic way to spend the day it proved to be! As we traveled along, enjoying beautifully different scenery and stopping in quirky and interesting little towns, I couldn’t help but remember an old song, Get Your Kicks on Route 66, written in 1946 by musician Bobby Troup. (Click on his name to watch/hear him perform the song.)

We surely did “get our kicks” traveling this mostly empty stretch of pavement. And eventually, my mind rolled back to an early 60’s television show, entitled Route 66, which I recall watching with my dad.

That show may have appealed to Dad, who enjoyed driving and traveling by car, because two characters, played by Martin Milner and George Maharis, wandered across the United States driving a Chevrolet Corvette along Route 66. Imagine my surprise as Papa and I were traveling on this remaining section of the old, historic highway when we saw a number of Corvettes coming towards us. Serendipity!

blogIMG_1175The original Route 66 highway extended from Chicago to Los Angeles, passing through America’s heartland (an area you pass OVER when you’re flying). We stayed on Route 66, which first opened in 1926 and was decommissioned by the 1980’s when newer, larger highways took its place, all the way into Kingman, AZ.

The trip proved refreshing and fun and we delighted in every mile of the way.

blogIMG_1136“Look for chances to take the less-traveled roads. There are no wrong turns.” — Susan Magsamen

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Onward and upward

blogIMG_9448Onward and upward. That was our goal on our October road trip to Michigan.

After being awed and inspired by our day-long (which wasn’t ample enough time) visit to the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, we traveled north.

Our next stop for the night would be St. Ignace, a small Upper Peninsula town on the shores of Lake Huron, just across the famous Mackinac Bridge (more about that later).  

As day turned to dusk, the view outside our vehicle’s windshield still continued to cause me to keep my camera handy. The further north we traveled on a highway not busy with traffic, trees displayed their autumn glory in rich color.

Having been deprived of such beautiful fall displays in our home state for the last couple of years, I reveled in the sights. Fall, after all, is my most favorite season of the year. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

We crossed into the Upper Peninsula via the Mackinac Bridge in the dark so we couldn’t see much of that amazing five-mile long suspension structure that connects the two peninsulas.

But we could tell it was pretty windy as we crossed and rain was falling. Unfortunately, by the time we reached our hotel destination, the weather forecast wasn’t promising as rain continued steadily during the night.

We scrubbed our plans for the next day – visiting Mackinac Island – because the forecast called for 90-100% rain all day long. Instead, we decided to just go with the flow. Get in our car and drive even farther north just to see what we could see. An adventure on less traveled ‘blue highways.’

blogIMG_9372 (2)And we found some treasure troves that day like the photo above. As temperatures plummeted during our unplanned day trip, the air became crisper and sharper and the scenery became even more beautiful. And then snowflakes flurried through the air.

On more than one occasion, Papa had to stop the car or find a place to turn around after I would exclaim, “OHHH, look at that!” and wanted to capture a photo. (He patiently supports and understands how much I enjoy taking pictures and I’m so thankful for him.)  

We wandered as far north as Lake Superior and found lighthouses to visit and the site of the wreck of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, an American freighter which sank during a storm on Lake Superior in November 1975. The entire crew of 29 was lost in the lake and if you’re older mature like me you may remember a song recorded by Gordon Lightfoot about that tragedy.

Finally, to wind up our random day trip excursion, we found ourselves in the northeastern end of the Upper Peninsula at the St. Mary’s River in Sault Ste.Marie.

There we stood for over an hour with 20 or so other folks on an outside observation deck, shivering in the cold, but determined to watch a 740-foot long Canadian freighter  travel through the St. Mary’s Falls Canal (called the Soo Locks) connecting Lake Superior with Lake Huron, which is actually 21 feet lower. 

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Canadian vessel moving through the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie

Had we driven any further, we would have crossed a bridge into Canada. But since we didn’t have passports with us to get back into our own country, we just waved to our neighboring country from the American side of the river.

We traveled a lot of miles that day but the sights we observed and visited made even a cold, almost wintry day well worth a few shivers. And we also realized what a small world this truly is.

While waiting for the freighter to travel through the Soo Locks, we began chatting with another couple, who were also tourists. The gentleman had a distinguishable southern accent but we could tell from our discussion he had been in the military.

As we conversed, he asked us where we were from. Since we hail from a rural area outside a small town that most folks have never heard of, we usually just answer with the name of our nearest city because it is ‘just down the road’ from us.

Of course, this gentleman wanted to know what part of the city we lived in, so we had to explain that we actually reside outside the city near a small town. He was persistent in asking what the name of that was, so we finally told him.

His face lit up and he said, “I’ve been there!” And he proceeded to name the little village across the river from our hometown. Why on earth had he visited our neck of the woods? He once had a military buddy from our hometown.

There are so many big sights to see in this seemingly big world, but as Papa and I have discovered, we can travel for hundreds of miles yet meet up with someone who has something in common with us. 

Taking a detour from our itinerary showed us it just might be a small world after all.

“The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com