Flexibility is the key to a road trip. Pounding thunderstorms had us alter the driving route. We left Missouri and headed west and then south to avoid the worst of the storms. We stopped briefly in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The Fort was established in 1817, which means it was the backdrop for outlaws, settlers and Native Americans. We were able to take a brisk walk around the area and picked up some interesting Arkansas facts at the museum before crossing into Oklahoma.
Continuing west, we crossed through Indigenous Nations before stopping in Oklahoma City. There was a small window of opportunity to visit the Bricktown area. Had the weather been pleasant, we would have enjoyed a little canal ride and some people watching. Same went for the Paseo Arts district. We did enjoy a delicious happy hour at Oso.
Leaving Oklahoma we made a final stop in Elk. Here there is a National Route 66 Museum. There is a short film about its construction, some replica buildings from the highways popular years and some car memorabilia.
Texas is a massive state, fortunately, we crossed it at its narrowest section. Just off the highway near Amarillo is the Cadillac Ranch. This public art piece was created by a group of artists from San Francisco and bankrolled by Amarillo billionaire Stanley Marsh III. He wanted a piece of public art that would baffle the locals. A tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin, ten Cadillacs dating from 1949 to 1963 were driven into a field, then half-buried, nose-down, (supposedly at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza). They face west in a line, for all to see. Today it is a huge tourist destination. The cars have lost their tail fins to vandalism and spray paint graffiti cover the cars. It is truly public art.
Entering the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico, the landscape changed abruptly. Partly because the rain departed over Texas, partly because of mesas among the low brush and sun-baked earth look like the opening of every classic western movie. We decided to explore the Route 66 town of Tucumcari, NM. There are many original motels and restaurants with kitschy neon signs. We picked Dell’s Restaurant to have a New Mexican brew and some delicious tacos, before taking in the town.
It has been a fast-paced adventure to get to New Mexico. We are looking forward to slowing down, enjoying the sunsets and night sky. We are now in the Land of Enchantment.