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.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Sunday Feature, Slightly Belated

M'pologies for the delay, but I've been helping my sister and her fiancee with suggestions for music for their wedding and reception. Pity that the Church has restrictions on what songs they can use, else I might have been able to talk them into using "Procession of the Nobles." In any event, this weekly selection is for Brian. No, it's not a Rush song, but instead Nat King Cole's "Route 66," in honor of his departure from the Windy City:

If you ever plan to motor west,
Travel my way, take the highway that's the best.
Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six.

It winds from Chicago to LA,
More than two thousand miles all the way.
Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six.

Now you go through Saint Louie,
Joplin, Missouri,
And Oklahoma City looks mighty pretty.
You see Amarillo,
Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona.
Don't forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernandino.

Won't you get hip to this timely tip:
When you make that California trip,
Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six.

Won't you get hip to this timely tip:
When you make that California trip,
Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six.
Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six.
Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six.