After working all day in Missouri, it was time to hit the road again and head for home. I took this quick shot of the St. Louis Arch by hanging my arm out the window while driving across an expressway bridge over the Mississippi river!
I finally got home close to midnight to barrel the car and trailer head first into my snow filled driveway. Ugh, home sweet home.... no more sunny beaches, no more beautiful national parks, no more fun Route 66 attractions. Just cold and snow. When do we leave on our next trip?
In the end, Millie and I logged 5900 miles in 19 days and saw 8 states. The Route 66 drive was not the nostalgic 1950's rose-colored glasses tour of Americana that the guidebooks promised, but a long, large journey of extreme contrasts-- deserts to farmlands, mountains to plains, the vibrant small towns where folks still hang their laundry outside on a clothesline in the afternoon and visit with neighbors from their front porch swing, contrasted to the decaying ghost towns filled with rusting thrown-away junk of a past generation; the affluent suburbanites with their strip malls and big box stores gobbling up and demolishing the historic old Route 66 landmarks in their path, contrasted to the forgotten homeless and working poor living in crumbling, dingy, converted motel apartments wondering where their next meal will come from. It was indeed hard to imagine that all of this could be the real America.
I can't imagine what this journey must have been like for our parents and grandparents in the 20's, 30's, 40's or even the 50's-- traveling in all the comforts of a non-air conditioned, non-power anything, non-cruise control car and wondering what kind of gas, food, and lodging loomed over the horizon in the pre-internet, pre-chainstore days. But, even with all of today's creature comforts, the trip is still a bona-fide adventure... with miles and miles to ponder what was, what is, and what might be America.