Background and Introduction

Introduction

My name is Howard; my wife (Carla) and I are planning a road trip on part of Route 66 this summer. We live in Portland, Oregon. We’ll start by driving to Santa Monica, California for the start and then head over to Gallup, New Mexico, then head home. . We figure it will take 2 days to get to Los Angeles; we’ll take a little more than a week on the Route 66, then head home from Gallup; stopping in Boise to visit friends.

Purpose
The purpose of the blog is three-fold.

  • Share our planning and solicit feedback
  • Gather suggestions to improve our experience
  • Share the results and pictures of our trip so we can provide help to others who plan to do the same.

Background

I grew up in Palmdale, California (Mojave desert) in the 50’s and 60s. My mom came from Arizona (Holbrook, Winslow, Flagstaff). In the summers we would drive from Palmdale to Winslow, Arizona to visit my grandparents, uncle and aunts. We’d head to Victorville to hook up with the Mother Road and head through Barstow, Daggett, Needles, Kingman, Seligman, Flagstaff, and into Winslow. My grandparents lived just 2 blocks off the highway on West Aspinwall.

My grandpa, H.H. Baker, would take me over to the La Posada hotel and the train station in Winslow. At that time Winslow was a major stop on the Santa Fe Railroad. We’d watch the Chief, the Super Chief, and the El Capitan passenger trains come in for a crew change, top off the diesel, an inspection and service. It was FANTASTIC. Certainly the highlight of the vacation for me, and a beautiful memory.

This past Thanksgiving we had a family reunion in Sedona and Cottonwood, where my aunt, uncle and his wife live. We took a day trip to Winslow and looked around. It was then that I knew what our summer vacation plan would be: a road trip. We’ll go to California and re-trace our steps from back in the day.

That will teach my wife. When she plans a vacation we go to Hawaii or Europe; when I plan a vacation we drive out through the desert to take pictures of trains!

I remember the drive as exciting (but LONG). Of course so much of Route 66 lives on in our culture and zeitgeist. Along the way, we’ll stop at the museums, the burger joints, motels, and what-not. I’ll take some pictures and post them.

The blog will evolve, I’m sure. At the outset, I plan on having a page publishing our current plan and solicit feedback. We’ll also have some pages with notes and pictures of our trip. If possible we’ll post some entries along the way.

About howardwthompson

I'm a person who likes to travel, read, cook, and eat
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4 Responses to Background and Introduction

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi there –
    I'm Carla, and I have to admit, it's going to be a fun vacation. Not being a HUGE train fan, like my significant other, I will be concentrating on the whole ambiance of Route 66 – all the kitschy old restaurants, museums, hotels, and curio shops along the way. Arizona is an especially beautiful state, and has all kinds of cool Native American/historical sights to see.
    Next summer, however, we're off to Hawaii!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi! I'm Laura, Howard's older sister (we also have a younger sister, Diana). Diana and I were with Howard on the famous (infamous?) trips from Southern California to Arizona, and I can't speak for Di, but Howard's recollection certainly doesn't match mine!

    Some of these trips were made in a VW Bug, with Howie and I crammed in the backseat and baby-Di sitting in the little luggage compartment in back. It was HOT – summer, Arizona, no AC, and crawling with BUGS everywhere (I think this particular memory was Kingman). The only neat-o part of the trip I remember was stopping off at Meteor Crater for Coke in a bottle and the “meteors” (probablty just rocks) we purchased in the gift shop.

    Once we got to Winslow was better though. Howie and I would each get a dime from our grandpa and make the 3 block trip (on foot) all by ourselves to Babbit's to buy candy bars and comic books. Howard always bought Superman and Snickers; I was a Milkey Way and Archie girl. Then we would go back to grandma's house and spend the whole afternoon sitting in metal chairs on the cool stone porch, eating our candy and reading our comics. I don't know where Di was, she was just a toddler and not very interesting at the time (she's much more interesting now though!). Some afternoons we would “climb the (red clay) mountain” in back of the house where we played cowboy and indian, or “trucks”, or whatever else we could dream up. Sometimes after dinner Uncle Jake would take us to the DQ for an ice cream dipped in chocolate (our cousin was a teenager and worked there).

    I don't remember anything at all about trains, train stations, Route 66, or all that other “stuff” that seems to have made such a strong impression on Howie. I do remember late night thunderstorms and the glow of the cone-shaped sawdust burners at night.

    Have fun on your vacation bro! I can't wait to see the pictures, but think I agree with Carla's version of a vacation in Hawaii or Europe. L.

  3. Sue Porter says:

    Hi Howard, I'm an old high school friend of Howard's. Boy, wait till I tell John about this! He has always
    wanted to do the whole Rt. 66 thing.
    We'll have to follow you and get some tips from you. Hopefully you can share them with us at our
    reunion!
    Sue (Wise) Porter

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hello Howard and Carla,
    I'm glad we get to see you in August at the Reunion. Your trip sure sounds fun. Be sure to bring pics w/you this summer.
    Be safe-
    Sue & John Porter

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