Even the best,-made plans can be thwarted a bit, but all was not lost. Our week of driving is half over, and we are halfway to our destination! And even though we missed out on a couple of experiences (businesses were closed for Indigenous People’s Day!), we still saw some fantastic sites and met some wonderful people.
We kicked off the day at Cadillac Ranch, which was high on our list of quirky artsy things to see. What we didn’t know was that we could contribute to what has become a kind of community art project by adding to the layers and layers of spray paint covering the cars. We couldn’t resist leaving a little message of kindness behind. We also learned that the woman who runs the gift shop is a Supernatural fan, which was a great bonding experience. We really are everywhere!
From there, we visited the Midpoint Cafe (closed) and Tucumcari Curios (also closed). Guess we’ll have to try that famous pie some other time. We did get some great photos, though! And on our way to the curio shop, we stopped by a quaint little practically-off-the-map shop and “Two Bit Museum” filled with pieces of nostalgia and a large assortment of tack (that’s saddles and bridles and whatnot). The gentleman who owned the shop had written a couple of books about his life experience, at his daughter’s suggestion. Jean couldn’t resist! They’ll make great mementos of the journey, for sure.
Finally, we met up with Nan, a friend of Lisa’s in Las Vegas, NM. She was Lisa’s kids’ first pediatrician, and works in a local pediatric hospital wing. She treated us to dinner at the Historic Plaza Hotel, where Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid used to live! Dean Winchester would have enjoyed that, for sure!
Wherever we could today, we made sure to leave a bit of kindness, including:
Leaving a scented candle with the woman who runs the Cadillac Ranch Gift Shop
Donating to the tip jar at the Two Bit Museum
Sending Nan home with piles of books and coloring books for her pediatric patients – see if you can find our photo of the books we donated… the title should look familiar to Supernatural fans! (it’s also one of Lisa’s favorite books)
Oklahoma was a real joy for us! We started off with a beautiful serene visit to the Blue Whale of Catoosa. Jean said she could practically hear the kids splashing and playing. But early on a Sunday morning, it was very quiet and peaceful.
Lisa had read about a man named John Hargrove, who turned his entire house into a massive art installation, so we wanted to try and see it. If you’re driving too fast, you’ll miss it entirely — there are no signs, and John doesn’t advertise at all — and if the gate is closed, you’re out of luck. But we found the driveway and the gate was open! So we spent a good hour exploring the place and talking with John. It was the quintessential Route 66 experience.
After that, we visited the famous Round Barn in Arcadia, where a quartet of acoustic folk musicians was performing in the upper level. The acoustics were spectacular! We fueled up at Pop’s Diner just down the road before making our way to Texas.
And the kindness acts continue! Today we:
Left a little gift for John Hargrove after visiting his home/art installation
Left diapers and wipes in the restroom at the historic Round Barn in Arcadia
Left generous tips at Pop’s Diner in Arcadia – they were crazy busy and everyone working was still friendly and smiling. We loved it!
We made it to three states on our journey today! Though admittedly, our time in Kansas was pretty brief, but with a very enjoyable stop.
We started off visiting a couple more “world’s biggest” items — something Jean was especially interested in &mdash the world’s largest bottle of catsup and the world’s biggest rocking chair. No confirmation as to whether the bottle was actually filled with catsup (or how long it might have been in there *shudder*), and we couldn’t sit in the rocking chair it was so big! But they were sights to behold.
Our Kansas stop was to visit Cars on the Route, a cute little shop and restaurant with real-world versions of Tow Mater and Red from the Disney/Pixar movie Cars. Lisa’s family has been into Cars for years, and the nostalgic vibe of the film was one of the things that solidified her interest in taking this road trip in the first place. So it was a must-see.
Finally, we ended the day with a visit to the Cherokee Rainbow House in Locust Grove, Oklahoma. Chief Elder Jack Hummingbird was the first person Lisa interviewed as a new writer with Random Acts, and it was wonderful to get the chance to meet in person. (Check out the article about the Rainbow House on Random Acts’ website.) We were thrilled to get to visit Rainbow House and learn more about the work they do to take care of those in need, not just in their immediate community, but all over the area.
Of course, we had to leave a trail of kindness in our wake! Over the three states we traveled, we:
Donated to a birthday fundraiser for Random Acts on Facebook
Donated to the Lions Club on our way to find catsup 🙂
Left small toys and games for the great-great-granddaughter of the original owner of Wrink’s Market in Lebanon (not Kansas, but still very cool!)
Left generous tips at Wrink’s and later at IHOP after meals
Donated household goods and money to Rainbow House
After loading up our Impala (!!!) and getting the much-needed selfie in front of the sign marking the start of Route 66, we started our journey to California. We eased our way through the aftermath of the Chicago Marathon, and spent a lot of time exploring Pontiac. Our friends in the Supernatural fandom will remember that Pontiac is where Dean Winchester first encountered the angel Castiel, so we wanted to properly celebrate the occasion.
We also managed our first round of kindness acts, including:
buying food for a homeless woman
treating gas station clerks to some gummy worms
leaving diapers and wipes at a rest stop
Not bad for our first day! We have something special happening tomorrow, though. Stay tuned!