It's a place, or rather, set of places along a long and lost road called Route 66. It's a magical land in the United States of America that will have you travelling back in time. So, off Hobbes and I went. And in the great words of Doc Brown:
"If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious shit."
I totally did. I went to the past, and Back to the Future, and into a mix of the two.
Hobbes is no DeLorean with the awesomely 80s doors that rise up to the sound of Transformer hydraulics, but he did his job. And to be honest, we weren't hitting 88 miles per hour, because when you are on America's highway, you cruise. You stick your arm out the window and let the dust mix with the whipping tendrils of your hair. Hobbes bobbed and grooved to the oldies, because what else do you play on Route 66? I just let the sun bleach the world in front of us and you just can't drive through dusty old Arizona in this way without a true, broad, "everything is just peachy keen" smile on your face. I stopped in to a "middle of no where" mom and pop store, grabbed a six pack.... of root beer (duh!) and sat it in the seat next to me. Popped a top, and continued cruising and collecting freckles.
Also, driving thousands of miles with the windows down is not recommended for beauteous luscious hair. I don't care what you see on the Garnier Fructis commercials. THIS is reality on the road. BLEACHED KNOTTY, but happy. In fact, A LOT of times, it had to be at least 1/4 of a bottle of conditioner a night to get my hair smooth enough to run my fingers through it without getting bitten by Medusa hair snakes.
If you don't believe me, read the museum sign. It took FIVE highways to replace this amazing piece of engineering. FIVE. The largest being Route 40.
The sad and wonderful part of the deterioration of Route 66 is that you get lost a lot, because if you don't pay ever so close attention to it, it disappears on you. And sometimes when you DO pay extra close attention to it, it disappears anyway. Moral of the story, I got lost A LOT and it was SO MUCH FUN! There was one point in the road that it literally deteriorated right in front of me. It was a road, then, BAM! Pot Hole, BAM! BAM! Then BAM! BAM BAM! It was pothole filled and crumbling! Slowly it crumbled to dirt, and then to no road at all. It disappeared before my very eyes! All that was left was a forest of bramble and abandoned shops and gas stations. If we all have to live through a zombie Apocalypse, I feel like this is how life will deteriorate. Slowly the modern age will just be overcome by nature and time and wash into memories.
Even after driving thousands of miles, when you drive on this amazing road, you could go all day in the middle of nowhere because the most amazing things happen, the most magical things happen on Route 66. You just can't help but wander around, pop into shops, museums, dinosaur attractions, truly American wonders. Then you let the sun go down on your day warm and satisfied, and THAT is a truly American wonder as well.
One of the most amazing things that happens on Route 66 is that things pop up in random places along the road. One moment you're in an old black and white movie with your hair blowing in the wind singing all the classics, the next moment your neck gets a bite from whiplash and you nearly drive off the road with your head out the window in the complete opposite direction because you're pretty sure you just saw "Mater" in someone's back yard! THAT WAS HIM! REALLY HIM! Oh My God! THAT MOVIE IS REAL!
They pop up EVERYWHERE! And you double take every time! You could be touring a natural dry cave in New Mexico, and then sneaking in between old junky cars is the firetruck that's afraid of everything!
And you start shouting random things like "Luigi! It's a FERR -Ahhhh Ree!!
I started playing, "What's that movie?!" with my family. I was texting them pictures of all the things that reminded me of CARS and I even took pictures of a Circle K to see who knew the movie Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. (Best Keanu Reeves movie I've ever seen, Pssshhhh Matrix).
I was free wheeling through some kind of "Roger Rabbit" effect. The cartoons were all coming to life! I imagined the Goofy short films where he's driving through the desert and has all of these Jekyll and Hyde moments with fellow highway travelers!
I may have needed to lay off the root beer, or drink more water. It may have been the heat of the day, but it was wonderful all the same! Traveling through time and space and reality!
I did actually do some research on the road. The movie, Cars, has a town called Radiator Springs and it does NOT in fact exist. You would have seen pictures of me there if it did. Radiator Springs is actually cooler than existence, however. It is like a compilation of places that DO exist all in one town to demonstrate the nostalgia and uniqueness of the time period. There was a website I followed that showed you where you could find specific parts of Radiator Springs out on the road:
AND Route 66 isn't complete until you've visited a half a dozen road museums. The best part of these museums are the amazing people tucked into the back corners. I toured the museum in Arizona with a fragile old man clad in a weathered old brown pant and jacket complete with newsboy cap. He was in charge of collecting personal artifacts like letters and postcards for the museum. In the other one located in Oklahoma, there was an amazing lady in a bedazzled Obama t shirt who retired from teaching to man the refurbished malt shop. We chatted about teaching and she played me a song on the jukebox while I put my pin on the map on the wall. People from all over the world had marked where they were coming from, some almost across the world.
And then in the middle of nothing, Texas. Cadillac ranch. It is actually outside of Amarillo, but honestly that's just a lesser level of nothing.