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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Getting My Kicks On Route 66!


Yes, I'm back from my trip to the US and Mexico and I had a fabulous time! Whether it was learning about the fascinating military and humanitarian history of the USS Midway in San Diego or reading about pirates in the Sea of Cortes, the trip was one long historical treat after another. I learned so much I did not know about different aspects of US and Mexican history that it only whetted my appetite for more. Oh, and I loved meeting so many friendly people along the way - that is one of the many things I love about visiting the US. When we left the lady at the airport said "come back soon!" and we will!

On the last few days of our holiday we drove from Flagstaff in Arizona to Los Angeles in California along part of the famous Route 66. I'm sure this needs no introduction to my US readers but for those like me who didn't know about Route 66, this was once the "Main Street of America" connecting Chicago in the east to Santa Monica in the west. Route 66 was originally built between 1925 and 1938 to connect not just two of America’s great cities but also the hundreds of urban and rural communities that lay along its way and during the 1930s and the years of the Great Depression and the Dustbowl it took many people west seeking a new life. These days it has an iconic status.

We enjoyed all our stops along the way, from Flagstaff to Williams, where there was the most marvellous cafe in the premises of a one time brothel which used to offer not only female companionship but whisky, pool and and an opium den. We settled for coffee and cake! We stayed in Seligman in a motel with themed Route 66 rooms - ours was the Harley Davidson Room - and we visited the old Route 66 Visitors' centre in Hackberry which was full of the most amazing memorabilia from the thirties through to the fifties. The road over the Sitgreaves Pass in the Black Mountains had stunning views - and then we came to the town of Oatman! Oatman has the look and feel of a wild west town and I had never been to a place like it before. It was like walking into a film set! It was originally a mining community until the copper ran out and now the old stores have adapted for tourists. The chief attraction for me were the burros, a sort of mule that was imported from Spain to work in the mines, but that now roam free in the town, wandering down Main Street and begging for carrots! There was also a gunfight staged for the pleasure of we tourists, which was a lot of fun to watch!

As the song by Bobby Troup goes:

If you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, the highway that's the best.
Get your kicks on Route 66!

I totally fell in love with Route 66 and had a wonderful time!

5 comments:

Jan Jones said...

Sounds as if you had a great time, Nicola. Nice to have you back, though.

Wendy said...

Heck Nicola, you were out in my neck of the woods! There's a big group of romance reading bloggers out here in southern California, and when we get together it's usually at a shopping mall on Route 66 :-) Sounds like a fabulous vacation!

Nicola Cornick said...

Thanks, Jan! We had a fabulous time but it's always nice to get home. At least I think it is... But when I'm cursing my wip in a few days time maybe I'll change my mind...

Wendy! That sounds like my sort of get together! I thought it was just such a fun, nostalgic drive along Route 66. My dh even had the first proper barber's shop shave of his life in Seligman :-) The whole trip was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

Michelle Styles said...

Welcome back Nicola.

Hooray that you had a great time.

And yes, southern California has lots of interesting history. Did you go to the living history part of San Diego? Or out to the Hotel Del Coronado?

Nicola Cornick said...

Hi Michelle! Thank you for the warm welcome back! We only had a day in San Diego, unfortunately, so couldn't see all the places we wanted on this trip, but we did visit the historic waterfront where I particullarly enjoyed the Star of India sailing ship. We then went to the USS Midway Museum, which my dh thought was amazing and I enjoyed more than I had expected! I liked San Diego so much, though, that I plan to go back for longer.

BTW - speaking of trips abroad, I loved your blog on Risky Regencies about Venice. Fascinating!