Route 66 Ride for the Relay Day 5

riding-with-jen-dragon-mary-anne-erickson

Route 66 Ride for the Relay Day 5

Day Five, Oklahoma City – Wednesday, September 10, 2014

When you set out on any adventure, you know by definition there will be many surprises, including the journey itself. This is truly the heart of a good adventure: exploring the unknown – the physical unknowns and ultimately the unknowns within ourselves. On Day Five, Jen and I seem to be entering new territory as travelers and as friends.

The pace of this ride is fairly non-stop! When I first read that we would see all of Route 66 in 12 days, I thought “nice, this will be such a leisurely pace”, but now that we’re actually out on the road – I’m beginning to reevaluate that notion! I’ve been getting up around 6:00 (we left the first day at 7:00 and other days at 8:00) but it seems with all the documenting I’ve set out for myself, there is much to organize both at the end of the day, then rolling over to the morning before we leave.

I’ve been toting three cameras: my cell phone of course (the easiest and most portable – good for Instagram shots to post quick updates to Facebook friends), my trusty Nikon SLR for high quality shots that I’ll do more with when I get home, and my new Fuji instant camera to dash off pics for my daily journal. Each evening I’ve been organizing my pics with locations and other quirky info from the day into my journal, so at the end of the ride I’ll have most of my pictures and commentary arranged chronologically. It takes a while to edit all these photos from the day and decide which ones are the most important to share. Tuesday night in OKC I was up till 1:00 am finishing all of this and woke up at 6:00! For an 8-hour-of-sleep-a-night-girl this kind of pace is a wee bit challenging – but it’s all so darn stimulating, I can’t help myself!

So I think I’m at that point in the trip where I’m wondering if I’ve cut out too much for myself! This must be a time of self reflection – not uncommon to any process in the end! We arrived last night in Amarillo around 5:45 and the limos were coming to pick us up to take us to dinner at the Big Texan at 6:15, so despite how tired I was (and we’re just driving a car, can’t imagine how the bikers must feel) I jumped in the shower to freshen up, put on my new Route 66 t-shirt purchased at The Route 66 Museum in Elk City, OK) and set off for a real Texas steakhouse.

The-Big-Texan-sign-mary-anne-erickson

The-Big-Texan-Steakhouse-mary-anne-erickson

This is a place, much like old roadside attractions of yore where large billboards have been announcing that they will GIVE you a free 72 ounce steak if you can eat it in one hour! As we were leaving last night there was a group of four Aussies perched up on a raised table in the center of the room for all to see starting their steak dinner. Their friends were gathered around cheering them on and the large digital clock was ticking down their progress. If you don’t finish your entire dinner, you have just purchased a $72 dinner (and most likely would not be feeling too well!) This place is classic American kitsch with huge taxidermy heads of deer, moose, and other game animals adorning all the walls, a roving band of country musicians who come to each table and play requests, and the young cow pokes with cowboy hats slinging the steaks around on center stage yell out the table numbers when each order is ready. I have to say this was the best rack of baby back ribs I’ve had in recent memory and the margaritas were just the ticket after a long day on the dusty road! Hmmmm you may be wondering if that’s why I didn’t stay up until 1:00 last night and got up early to write this?!

But before I share my pics for the day, I want to say that most of the morning we had so darn much fun just being part of the pack of riders, that I saw lots of great images go whizzing by and I wasn’t able to stop and capture them. I realized that I could spend months really going slow here (one could do a photo essay on abandoned gas stations alone that would be amazing) and that part of the joy of being on this trip with all these wonderful bikers is being a part of their group and hanging with them. So this is how we adjust our expectations of what we “should” be doing, with the reality of what’s “feeling good” right now.

And on this day of remembrance, September 11th, we will ride with a sense of honoring for all of those who lost their lives in 2001. Thanks for coming along on the ride with us.

Enjoy my photos from today: we started out in the early morning light from OKC with a full moon to guide us and watched as we moved into Texas and the landscape became flatter and flatter and big sky as far as the eye could see!

Display of the Mother Road at the Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Oklahoma.This town was almost totally abandoned. This block and especially the movie theater reminded me so much of The Last Picture Show. We’ve seen so many abandoned buildings along Route 66 – it’s really poignant.

All for today – we’re traveling into New Mexico today and will stay in Santa Rosa! Happy Trails to you!

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