The last of Route 66 and arrival in St. Charles Missouri
Continuing on Route 66, I visited the vintage cookie cutter museum, went to a circus, and saw a large junk monster.
In Uranus, Oklahoma, I saw the worlds largest belt buckle and an alien. I’m in historic St Charles, Missouri where I’ll begin my bike tour tomorrow. Not only was St. Charles the first state capitol of Missouri, it was the starting point for the Lewis & Clark expedition. There’s an interesting museum here telling the story of their preparations and the voyage itself.
I hope to post a few updates over the next few weeks, while on my bike.
Closing in on Missouri
Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma tonight. I am lounging in a beautiful library in Tulsa, uploading photos and elevating my foot, which doesn't seem to enjoy sitting and driving any more than I do! Although, I am enjoying a great Stephen King audio book. He always keeps me alert and engaged.
Seems like as soon as I crossed the New Mexico/Texas border, the topography changed instantly, from rocky hills to flat and rolling grassland. Green too! More traffic also, and dominated not only by gigantic motor homes, but shared in number with 40 foot plus trucks loaded with secret goods going to who-knows-where.
I passed through the second largest wind farm in the United States, near Amarillo. As far as I could see in all directions, the windmills were silhouetted against a darkening sky threatening some serious rain. Camped out at a busy truck stop last night. I'm glad I made the blackout shades for car windows. I woke to dense fog and just hung out, reading, hoping it would lift any minute, which it did not.
Texas and Oklahoma have some very impressive rest stops along the highway, as you can see in the photos below.
Winslow, Arizona...These are two beams from the World Trade Center, 9/11 remains. They have been installed here in memory of all those who lost their lives that day.
Petrified Forest and Painted Desert
The plan was to get a back country permit and camp a few miles in and see a bazillion stars. The weather was not cooperating. Prediction was for cloudy skies and winds to 25 mph. So I did some short day hikes. You can get directions for "back country" hikes that takes one off the beaten path, literally. The rangers provide color photographs and notes for navigation to interesting points. GPS coordinates also. I was remiss in logging the waypoints, ended up wandering a bit, and decided not to get lost on a day hike. The scenery was every bit as stunning at Grand Canyon, though in a different way.
THE GRAND CANYON IS NOT A GIANT WISHING WELL!
Don’t throw coins over the side and hope your dreams will come true. What you’re doing is poisoning the wildlife! Condors and other birds along with chipmunks and other local creatures see shiny things and pick them up and ingest them. Many die a slow and painful death.
There’s a group of about 40 volunteers that come annually and rappel over the sides, down as much as 300 feet, to pick up litter that has blown over, as the prevailing winds blow into the South Canyon – plastics of all kinds, food wrappers, and hats. One year, they picked up 400 hats; some still had price tags.
There are more volunteers, who dedicate the entire season to monitoring trails, assisting hikers, and facilitating emergencies, should that be necessary. I chatted one volunteer who has been coming to Grand Canyon to sleep in a tent for five months every year, for 8 years. She said the camaraderie and the feeling of helping making a difference brings her back every year. She also said that since this program was initiated, incidents have been reduced by 50%. They do some trail work, but the AmeriCorps Youth Program does the serious trail work with the assistance of pack animals and helicopters as needed. They have done some fantastic work on the Hermits Rest trail…
On the Road!
The gas tank filled, Stanley dressed for the ride, and we're on our way! The scenery and mountains have been nothing short of stunning, especially for someone who's used to lots of trees and green stuff. Sure is HOT down here!