Sometimes Things Just Don’t Work Out As Planned

It was time to say goodbye to our friends. We had been together for two great days but they were off on a big adventure (Bucket List Trip – 2.0). As I watched them pull away I had mixed emotions. They were headed to explore some of the old west which just happens to be my favorite part of the country. I have a weakness for Montana, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. I could have gone with them but I’ve been traveling so much this year I though I better save some Rambling for next year. The problem for me is that at my age I’m not too sure how many motorcycling “next years” I have left in me. We’ll just have to see.

Their departure left us with a couple of days to wander around. One of my reasons for coming back this direction was to take a look at the section of Route 66 between Amarillo and Tucumcari. The last visit to this area on motorcycles didn’t work out too well (water pump failure on my Harley trike). The issue today turned out to be heat and pounding 100 miles down the interstate to revisit an area I’d been before – Tucumcari. I was feeling a little low after seeing our friends roll away so I convinced Mrs. Henry to take the truck (air conditioned comfort). I believe that might not have been the best decision I could have made. We came out here to ride and I just had ditched one entire day of riding.

The first stop on the route was Adrian, Texas. The claim to fame here is that it is exactly the mid point of Route 66 between Chicago and Santa Monica. How could anyone discredit this? Most of the old road is gone so exact distance is a good estimation at best. There were several places along the original road that changed configuration so who’s to say what is correct. It doesn’t matter. It draws people in. Today I felt lucky because the Midpoint Café was open. It’s only open Wednesday through Saturday. My last trip through here was on Tuesday. Ugh! The food was good and there were a few couples in the café that day who were driving portions of the old road. It was worth a revisit in my opinion.

After a tasty burger, it was a 50 mile drive to Tucumcari. The replacement of the original Route 66 with the new Interstate 40 added a lot of efficiency to western travel but it sure killed the nostalgia and the fun stops along the way. We rolled into Tucumcari and it wasn’t as much fun as I remembered. Sure, the Blue Swallow Motel and the Teepee Curio Shop are still functioning but several other places were shut down. How disappointing.

We decided to take a different route home via some state and county roads. This proved a little more enjoyable because we were looking at new territory but the scenery was nothing to write home about (or photograph). We did stop and buy a bottle of wine at a cool winery all the way back to Amarillo. The Bar Z Winery had some good wine and provided us with our wine glass souvenirs for this trip.

The rest of the evening was spent making a decision about what to do with the last day of the vacation. It really came down to I had made some bad choices on this trip. The townhouse we stayed in was nice but it was well within the city of Amarillo. I’m just not a fan of bigger cities. Couple that with the fact we have tickets for the Indianapolis Colts game at home for Sunday and the choice was made to head for the homestead a day earlier than planned. The alternative would have required a drive of over 1,000 miles in 2 days followed by a scramble to get to the game. It seems that I learn something new about vacation planning on each trip. Maybe someday I’ll get it perfect.

I try to write this blog to follow one day of exploring. I’m running behind on this one so I’m just going to summarize what happened on Thursday and Friday. Here it is —— drive, drive, drive, watch people still trying to drive while on their cell phones, drive some more. We made it to Catoosa, Oklahoma on Thursday and Effingham, Illinois on Friday. That leave 4 hours on Saturday. We could have made it home on Friday but the rules about hotels have changed a lot in the last 18 months. I am not comfortable traveling without a hotel reservation. Some people are but not me. I used to be able to cancel reservations for the same day as long as I did it by 6:00 PM. That’s not true anymore. Some hotels require up to a week notification. That can mean you stay in Effingham, Illinois instead of getting home.

A Route 66 icon – the Blue Whale of Catoosa
Look – someone added a Henry’s Ramblings sticker to this window. I wonder who did that.

(One positive about staying in Effingham – the singing group The Coasters was staying in our motel and ended up sitting at a table adjacent to ours. I didn’t want to bother them so I just took a bad picture from my vantage point.)

The Coasters

Sometimes things don’t work out just the way they were planned but I’m still determined to plan and execute the perfect trip even if I have to make multiple attempts.

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