Friday, February 20, 2009

West Winds Motel

Old Mustang in West Winds Motel I just dig this picture. The Mustang looks like it's just sitting back there, waiting, snorting, pawing the ground. Mostly in shadow... with the business end peeking out with one watchful eye. Don't know what the chair means, I'll leave that to someone else to sort out.
Posted by Picasa


Downtown Erick I’d seen a picture of the closed and possibly abandoned West Winds Motel. Since the picture was interesting, with an old truck sitting in the weeds out front, I pulled off the 40 for a quick look. The town of Erick itself is a lot more picturesque than I’d imagined. Signs alert the traveler to the Roger Miller museum, and provide directions there. If I’d known then that the museum celebrated the birthplace of the dude who wrote the classic “King of the Road”, I’d have stopped there. I have to admit that by this time I’m still in a kind of funky fog about the trip, and my plans.

My goals at this point:Windmill and interesting artifacts in yard
  • Get back to LA by Tuesday (Wednesday at the latest)
  • See the country – whatever that means
  • Do some reconnaissance for a future ‘Route 66 Family Vacation’

(Ever since Pixar’s ‘Cars’ came out, there’s been some interest in the family to travel Route 66. The plan is really just a vague idea that it would be fun for everyone to travel across country and see the sights, and the history of Route 66. I’m still skeptical that a trip like this would actually come together. There’s interest, for sure. There’s geography, history, and even some entertaining things to do. The problem is that my kids can’t seem to spend more than 15 minutes in the car before the fighting starts, and within half an hour it is usually intolerable. Half the time, in fact, the fights begin in the driveway or during the packing and preparation stage.)

West Winds Motel and old delivery vanThe first thing I notice as I cruise down the road in Erick, is an old truck on the corner lot. To the right, past the truck is a yard full of cool old stuff. There’s a yellow plane and other artfully arranged junk in the yard of a house.

Barking dogs reminded me that there may be residents here who don’t want a road-tripping tourist lurking around taking photos.
West Winds Sign
The West Winds Motel is here. This is a great spot for taking pictures, even if the ‘keep out’ and ‘No trespassing’ signs are a bit threatening. This motor court style motel is a perfect example of those rapidly disappearing symbols of the Mother Road.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Elk City

Elk City Route 66 Museum There’s another museum here. Although this one might even be better, I’m too antsy to risk it. This turns out to be a decision that I regret. I did buy a book at the museum, though: “Route 66” by Tim Steil. I plan to use this guidebook along the way to help me find interesting spots. At this point, I’m still not that interested in a fully guided tour, but it seems that there’s a lot I could miss if I don’t know what to look for. Still, I have no good idea of what I’m doing. If I keep on at this rate, I suspect I’ll make it back to LA in a couple of days, but what’s the purpose? What’s the goal? Do I really just want to drive down the highway and stop at a cheap hotel each night without much of a plan?
Sometimes after I get to know a place, I try to think back to the first time I visited. This is mostly something I notice after I’ve been back a few times. I remember walking down a street in Seattle and realizing that although I knew I was headed North, I’d walked down the same street years before, and not really known where I was, or which direction I was headed… same with London, Minneapolis, and even parts of Los Angeles. It’s a curious sensation, and each time I find myself trying to think back and capture the earlier, first, experience. I think it’s a deep desire to both go back and view someplace with fresh eyes, yet to have enough context to know what to look for. On this trip I’m experiencing a new place each day. But, I suspect I’ll be back and get to know the place better. Each morning I print out the next segment of the turn by turn directions on The book adds some context for me so that the whole ‘plan’ is designed to provide some context for my fresh eyes. So when I return, I’ll be better prepared to recapture the experience.

Who says you can’t go home again… we’ll see.
Posted by Picasa
Creative Commons License
All content by E. Russell McGregor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.