Looking for Stuff
I’ve now arrived in Chicago after two days and two nights on old Route 66. Well, more or less. I managed to drive through most of the cities on the Mother Road from Oklahoma City to Chicago, but not always on the old road. I did, however, keep mostly off of the interstate highways.
I started off looking for stuff along the way. Weird stuff, old stuff left over from when 66 was the main road between Chicago and LA, magnificent stuff, out of the way stuff. Outsider art, swimming holes, music, funky cafes and diners. That kind of stuff.
I didn’t find any art and only a few swimming holes but did find some cool non-chain cafes. The Ku Ku in Miami, OK, the Lil’ Café in Commerce, OK and Stephanie’s Café in Mt. Olive were a few.
But I did encounter the past along the road some, and it was nice to see the towns abandoned when 66 the interstate system came in in the 50s and 60s. I also met some pretty cool historical figures, among them Mickey Mantle, Will Rogers, Mother Jones and Honest Abe.
I guess I’m a bit disappointed, but not really. Driving the long stretches of road through eastern Oklahoma hills, the northern part of the Ozark Mountains and flat Illinois farmland gave me a sense of what it might have been like to be on the move in the 1930s, only I had air conditioning and a fast car. I realize now that the term ‘vanishing America’ has some truth to it. I’m sure all of what I was seeking is still there to find, but I’m gonna have to look harder for it. That’s fine. Now that I’m full-time a singer/songwriter, boulevardier and house husband, seeking is a big part of my life’s work.