Monday, September 05, 2005

Route 66

Thanks to Tom for the parting hymn. Turns out Nat (or the guy that wrote the song for Nat) knew what he was talking about - I went through all of those towns. Conspicuously absent from the lyrics, however, is my favorite stop - Santa Fe, NM. Reminded me of a less-commericalized Santa Barbara. I found both New Mexico and Arizona to be a welcome breath of beauty and culture into the trip.

Northern Texas was completely blah. Stopped off in Amarillo, thinking that a town I've heard of must have some kind of food to eat downtown. Boy was I wrong. Ain't nuthin' goin' on in main street Amarillo at 4:00 pm on a Thursday. I used my car's navigation system to find a Thai restaurant, which turned out just to be an office space with a few tables in a pseudo-living room. Interesting. But hey, a big plate of pad thai was $5.00. It was edible.

More surprising was St. Louis. Ain't nuthin' goin' at 4:00 pm on a Wednesday there either. That downtown was as dead as the Hypercolor T-Shirt Movement (that's very dead in my book - remember the arm pit accents?). "FOR LEASE" signs everywhere, hardly a person on the street, hardly a single decent spot to eat. Maybe I was missing something - are the hotspots in these South/Mid/West-ish towns in the periphery? I know that was sort of true in Atlanta. That's basically true in LA. Kinda true in DC too, though downtown at 4:00 pm would be lively in the latter two places regardless. Seattle and Chicago would be packed. Anyway, St. Louis left me nonplussed and a little disappointed. But the arch was cool.

Oh, and Tulsa, OK - no thanks. Can't comment on Oklahoma City, as I only gave it a drive-by.

A stat: total number of Acura TSXes (my car) seen on the entire trip: 1. Where? 110, downtown LA, in the last 20 minutes of the 4-day tour. In my first few days in Santa Monica, I've seen a half-dozen more. TSX's are not a hot-ticket item in the heart of Route 66 country, I guess.

Speaking of the car, let me recommend to all who might see a cross-country trip in their future: buy an XM radio if you can. Channel 133 - NPR, uninterrupted, across the country! 47 - Savvy rock selections, unedited, nonstop! 175-189 - every baseball game! Some random channel - an exclusive hour-long interview with Rush! Oh, and the navigation system on my new car was incredibly useful. I know they can be pretty expensive, but I'd still recommend one if you A. Love maps, and like to know where you are and where you're going at all times; B. Like to price shop. Yep, that's right - I'd call ahead to all hotels in a given town (the Nav system has all of them and their phone numbers), and then pick the cheapest. Worked like a charm. You can do the same thing for gas too. You can tell yourself that you're making up for the XM/Nav expenses with savings. Just stick with the system for 50-odd years and it'll be like you turned a profit!

And with that bit of business wisdom, I'm off to join the corporate world. Wish me luck. Clearly I'll need it.

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