Heading East: Santa Rosa, NM to OKC

We’ve turned east, tracing the old Route 66 back through somewhat familiar territory before we head north toward Gary, Indiana. Yesterday we stayed in Santa Rosa, NM, so that we could spend some of today at The Blue Hole, a spring-fed swimming hole (always 61 degrees) formed by a sink-hole. it’s crystal-clear and a beautiful deep indigo at the center. Divers come from afar to explore the hole, and there’s an impressive dive-center at the location. We arrived at the spot and it was full of teens. We took a long bike-ride, then headed back to the hole. I noticed that nobody over about 25 was jumping in and everyone jumped right back out again. I decided that I didn’t want to have a heart attack here, so we went next door to a pretty little lake to swim and sun for a few hours. It was a very welcome break from driving and shooting.

Later, we passed by a modern ghost town. It looks recently and quickly abandoned. We stopped and spent about an hour photographing the site.

We passed through Erik, Oklahoma again. This is where I lost my photographs to camera malfunction, so I was able to recapture some of the images, though the light is different.

We’ve started taking advantage of the “cheapie” motels along the route; I prefer them to the chains. Each has its own individual flavor, and most also have the amenities we have come to expect from the chains: fridge, microwave, wifi, etc. But you can walk outside and sit on a plastic chair and watch the world go by. It’s quiet. The owners walk around tending to their properties and chatting with the clientele.

The process of checking into these motels is identical to what I remember from my childhood travels across the country. We reach our general destination then drive along the motel strip looking for the cleanest, but cheapest, stop. We pull up to the the office and go inside to inquire about vacancy, AAA, etc. There is usually a strong personality behind the counter and we trade banter back and forth across the formica counter as I fill out the registration card. I’m handed a key attached to an oblong plastic disc and return to the car to drive it over to room 103.

The heat is turned way up again. It reached 105 in Oklahoma City, where we stayed again last night. A crack has formed in the windshield, and I want to blame it on the heat, but Tony is doubtful. We watched it grow in the last hour of the drive yesterday, from a tiny line on the passenger side to a foot-long fissure crawling toward the rear-view mirror. It is distracting and more than a little disturbing.

Today we drive to Joplin – new territory and the site of the worst tornado event in our history, just over two months ago. I don’t yet know where we’re staying tonight and that’s just fine.

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