Friday, February 28, 2014

Santa Fe, are you there? Do you swear you won't forget me?...

   Yesterday ended like all the other days on this trip, short of my desired destination. After making it halfway through New Mexico I decided to stop in Albuquerque to get some dinner at a micro brew pub. After consuming some tasty Mexican food and a refreshing beer it was time to get back on Route 66 toward Arizona... the car had a different plan in mind. I got in the car and it started fine but something was missing, headlights. With the sun already set, it would be impossible to continue with the car not cooperating. After thirty minutes of messing with some of the electrical, which I know nothing about, it was clear that Albuquerque would be the final destination of the trip for the day.
   The situation could have been worse, it was a lively neighborhood with lots of restaurants, cafes, and bars instead of on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Luckily there were a few motels within walking distance and the closest one seemed to be the best price and therefore the best choice. After checking and walking into the room I realized that the best price was not the best choice. The room smelled heavily of smoke even though I requested a non-smoking room. The smoke detector was dismantled so in the motel's defense it may have been a non-smoking room but the last tenant decided he/she could do what ever he/she wanted. The clean white towels had black marks all over them and the room was just messy. So not the greatest motel experience but I got a little sleep and will be on the road again in no time.
   Although the day did not end as planned it still had some highlights. For starters Route 66 threw me a curve ball when entering New Mexico and turned into a dirt road while at the same time veering a few miles away from the interstate and civilization. I was a bit nervous at first but it was a nice drive and the dirt road only lasted for a few miles. Also early on in the day I reached the halfway point on Route 66. There was a cafe there that would have been a good place to get breakfast but it was closed for the winter so breakfast would have to be acquired a little further on down the road. The landscape in New Mexico was amazing. I felt like I was in an old western movie and John Wayne was going to pop out at any minute and tell me to “stop burning daylight”. I have done some traveling in my days but never experienced very much of America. I always thought that you wouldn't get much diversity from state to state but it seems like a whole different country down here.
   The news on the car is that it is running smoothly for the most part, just have to figure out the headlights otherwise my travel times will become limited to daylight hours. If there are any motor heads out there with any tips it would be most helpful. I have all lights (interior, brake, running, blinker, reverse) but no headlights, high beams or low beams. Before yesterday I had only low beams and no interior lights so apparently the car decided that the interior lights were more important then the headlights at this point in the trip. I swear this car has a mind of its own. Please leave comments or email me at My google research makes me think it might be the headlight switch but that could just be hopeful thinking since it only costs $10. Unfortunately with this car issue it looks like the The Wigwam Motel is going to have be passed up, maybe next time.
   Today I am going to do my best to make it to Palm Desert, CA where my Aunt Katie and Uncle JT have graciously offered a place to stay the night and maybe a home cooked meal if I can make it there in time. Between here and Palm Desert lies Arizona which has the longest continuous stretch of Route 66 still intact. You could say they saved the best for last. Hopefully I will be checking in with you from nice and warm Palm Desert tomorrow morning.
   Thanks to everyone spreading the word and a little publicity in the Spokesman Review there were a lot of donations that came in yesterday. It looks like we are on track to meet the $1,000 by the end of my trip.



Today a special thanks goes out to all of the donors below as well as a few anonymous ones:

Craig and Kristi Murray
Frank and Angie Taylor
Dirk and Julia Bond
Joey Klein


Halfway there!

New Mexico's version of Route 66.

Amazing landscapes all day long, this picture doesn't do New Mexico justice.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

God Bless Texas.

   I have decided to stop over estimating how far we will actually get each day. I did not take into account that my GPS thinks we will be going 70+ mph constantly when really taking Route 66 requires me to stop every now and then. Also my car doesn't like going over 70 mph very much. With that being said we made it to Vega, TX which is just West of Amarillo, TX about 30 miles or so.
   Yesterday evening we rolled up onto the Cadillac Ranch just as the sun was setting so we snapped a couple of pictures while there was still a little sunlight, did a little graffiti then headed to the Big Texan for some dinner. The Big Texan is known for offering a free 72 oz. steak if you are able to eat the whole thing along with two sides in one hour. I did not elect to try this and it kind of made me sick thinking about. I went ahead and ordered a rack of ribs which the waitress recommended an what do you know it was a huge plate of ribs. A note to my Texan readers out there, everything might be bigger in Texas but a mediocre plate of ribs isn't going to taste any better if it is larger. I am almost 75% sure our waitress was drunk but it was still a good Texas experience even if it was super touristy.
   We stopped at a few other places yesterday and snapped some photos but the Cadillac Ranch was my highlight. I am not a huge Cadillac guy but it's not very often you see half buried cars in the middle of a field. Believe it or not Texas is one of the shortest states we have to drive through. The only one beating it out is Kansas which we spent a grand total of 20 minutes in. Last night we stayed in the Bonanza Motel in Vega, TX.
   So today is the day we plan on making it to the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, AZ where we will spend the night in a teepee. Not a whole lot of landmarks on our journey today but a whole lot of New Mexico countryside. From what it sounds like Route 66 doesn't follow the interstate as much as it has been thus far as it veers off into ghost towns. Up until now Route 66 has been, for the most part, right next to the interstate which takes away from the feeling of the old days so it is exciting to think about getting off the beaten path and seeing some American history. Hopefully I can get some awesome pics of the desert land ahead.
   As far as the car goes it is still running with little issue. I am afraid to tweak anything cause last time I did that it was a month before I got it back to running status. I did make a very needed addition to the car though. I don't know if I mentioned this but I was unable to take time to install a radio in the car before I left so needless to say I finally broke down and got myself a high tech stereo system pictured below. Funny enough we were listening to a top hits radio stationed through an app and the second we passed into Texas it played it's first country song. We had been listening to that station for a few hours and no country music until it hit Texas then it played 4 straight songs.
   It was brought to my attention that my blog was not allowing some people to leave comments. I apologize for this and have fixed the problem so you should now be able to leave comments if you wish which I encourage. Feel free to share your road trip stories, advice as I move through the Southwest, or just drop a line and say hey.



Thanks to the Pedersens and another anonymous donation we have surpassed the halfway mark. We are right on track as I will be passing the halfway mark of my journey here in a few short miles. Thank you all so much for everything you have given. Spokane guilds School thanks you as well. Before I post my pics from yesterday here is a photo of the little man that inspired this trip.

Finally got us some tunes. (The blue thing is a speaker)

Finally starting to warm up.

The U Drop Inn Cafe in Shamrock, TX (Also known as Ramone's Garage in Cars)

Giant Soda Pop Store in Arcadia, OK (mmm.. Soda)

The infamous Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX

Having some fun at The Big Texan

Bonanza Motel Vega, TX

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Oklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plain...

   We weren't able to make it as far as I had hoped yesterday but where able to make it to a new state at least. Last night we made it to Chandler, OK which is just east of Oklahoma City. We stayed at the Lincoln Motel (picture below) which again wasn't a great motel but wasn't bad either. The motel did its job and gave a us a warm place to rest up, get on the internet, and take a hot shower before heading into Texas. We were able to stop at cool dive bar in the middle of nowhere and get some good 'ol american food, beer, and get a couple games of pool in before continuing on down the road. After getting our nourishment we ran into our good friend Mater in our short time in Kansas where I was able to snap a few pics. For dinner we stopped in at a small town diner in Bristow, OK and made plans to stop in here at the Lincoln Motel and get some rest. I keep forgetting to take pictures but I promise to snap as many as I can today.
   For today we hope to make it to Holbrook, AZ and stay in some teepees tonight at the Wigwam Motel. There is a lot to see between here and there so it shouldn't be a problem for me to find things to take a picture of. Some of things on the agenda today are, the Cadillac Ranch, the midpoint in Route 66 and the Midway Cafe, and many more sights as we make our way through Texas and New Mexico. Since there is a lot to see and do today we better be off.



A lot came in yesterday from friends and family and I thank you all for your very generous donations.
So a special thank you to Grandma Taylor and also to Uncle Andy and Aunt Ruth for taking this event international. I would also like to thank Curt Olsen for his donation and becoming the first non family member of Caleb to get involved. So far it has been a great turn out and again I thank you all for your thoughtful contributions. We are almost halfway done with the trip and almost halfway to the goal of $1,000, right on track. Keep spreading the word and following my blog. Feel free to leave any comments on here or send me an email with any questions, comments, or advise as I make my way across America.

Lincoln Motel in Chandler, OK

It's still a little cold outside... And inside the car.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Meet Me in St. Louie Louie...

Well we didn't make it as far as we hoped. To be completely honest we didn't even get close. We made it to Rolla, MO which is about an hour and a half west of St. Louis and stay in the Rustic Motel just off of Route 66. The room was clean and the price was right so it wasn't too bad of a decision although, the "non-smoking" room smelled like someone rubbed an ashtray all over the room. But like I said, the price was right at $40 and we were just looking for a warm place to sleep for the night and the Rustic Motel did the job.
So far Route 66 has lived up to it's hype. The road really does take you back to the good old day. The road is filled with old gas stations, little diners, and the highway itself is a little run down. We stopped for lunch at the Old Log Cabin Inn and had some burgers and fries. It was exactly how I imagine every little diner along the route is like. There were only two other customers besides us who the lone waitress was addressing on a first name basis, the cook/owner was out talking to one of the gentleman having his recently made meal. Once we found a spot to sit at the bar I noticed a white board on the wall with a list of peoples birthdays for this month, presumably some of the locals. After eating me burger which tasted like it just came off of the grill at a Sunday bbq from home, I noticed some random mugs hanging on a peg board behind the bar. I didn't think much of the mugs for a while but then realized that some of the regulars had their own mugs, some to go mugs and some just mugs from home it looked like. The place reminded me a lot of the little diner in Edwall, WA and it was a fun experience. After we left I realized I didn't take any pictures but I found one online which I posted below.
Once back on the road we did our best to follow Route 66 but found ourselves giving up now and then and taking the main highway through parts of Illinois and Missouri. I didn't realize this before this trip but Route 66 is no longer a complete road. For the most part there have been signs put up to lead you to where the road used to be and we are following some turn by turn directions we found online but it is still tough to follow at times.
We are going to try and make it to Arizona today but there are a few sights we want to see along the way so we'll see how distracted we get. Today we hope to see the real Mater, the Cadillac Ranch, and many more Route 66 sights. I'll do my best to take more pictures.

It looks like the donations have come to somewhat of a stand still at $216 so if you are reading this please pass on the word so we can raise some money for the institution that deserves our help. If you don't feel comfortable donating through the site I have set up at you can just donate directly at the Spokane Guilds School website. Shoot me a quick email if you decide to go through the School's website letting me know you sent in a donation so I can keep track. You can stay anonymous if you wish. My email is Well we are off again. here are the pictures from yesterday.

Old Log Cabin Inn. Pontiac, IL

Our make shift window molding to keep the cold wind out.

Missouri was a bit boring to drive through.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Start of Route 66

No more delaying the inevitable. It's time to brave the cold and get back on the road. Since the whole reason for this trip was to drive Route 66 you could say that our journey now begins here in Chicago on the banks of the Lake Michigan. Like I mentioned in my last post, our goal is to make it to Oklahoma City sometime tonight and turn in when we get there. I am really hoping it warms up quickly because I am realizing how much I despise the cold weather and the heater in the car is a little weak.

The car still seems to be holding up but I am still nervous about its durability. I guess its safe to say I don't trust my mechanics skills. We have performed a bandaid fix on the windows that should stop the wind from blowing into the car for now. There are no weatherstrips on the side windows so there is a good half inch of space when the windows are all the way rolled up. Solution, stuff some clothes in there and roll the windows up tight. We'll see how it holds up.

Short post today since we didn't do any traveling but hopefully I will have some stories and pictures to share with you from OKC. Until later tonight.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Enjoying the Windy City

   First leg complete! It was a long day but I finally made to Chicago last night and met up with Daniel for some well deserved pizza and beer at Giordanos. The trip took longer then planned because I had to stop a couple times to take naps but after 15 hours of traveling I arrived in the windy city. I was pretty exhausted and sick of driving when arrived so instead of taking off last night like I had planned we decided to stay in the area for the night.
   Got a good nights rest and had a great breakfast, egos and coffee. After talking, Daniel and I decided to take the day to relax and prepare for our route 66 excursion. We are now planning on leaving first thing tomorrow morning with the goal of making it to the Oklahoma City area where we will stay the night. Daniel's excuse is that he has some work to do while I am just not ready to jump back in the car for another 12 hour trip. So today we prepare and tomorrow we depart.
   The car is holding up nicely. It started to act up a little bit when I got into Chicago which got me pretty stressed out. It liked to die at the stop lights so I had to shift into neutral every time I stopped to keep the RPMs up. I think it was as sick of driving as I was and needed a break because after Dan and I got some pizza and beer it was running nicely again. I think the lot of us are ready for a warmer climate. I am trying not to stress out too much about the car but after a car has given you as much trouble as this one every little noise you hear puts you on edge.



Thanks to an anonymous donation we are now up to $216. Thank you all for the donations thus far.

   Please feel free to leave comments on here and if you have any questions or concerns you can also send me an email at and I'll do my best to respond as quickly as possible.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.

   The day has finally come!! I am hitting the road here in a few short hours after spending the last 4 weeks getting my car road worthy. I can't even start to describe the frustration and anger I have gone through with this car that has had one thing go wrong after the other. On the bright side all this didn't happen on the the side of the road halfway through Texas and I was able to fix everything. With that being said I would like to send a special thank you out to my amazing wife Amanda who has had to put up with me trying to fix this car as well as my uncle Simon who somehow was able to walk me through a lot of the repairs over the phone. Another thank you goes out to the Auto Skills shop on Fort Meade who provided insight as well as a warm place to work with all the tools you can imagine.
   I am not sure I fully explained on the details so here they are. I will be driving my 1965 Chevrolet Impala (photo below) that I just purchased from Baltimore to Chicago. Once I reach Chicago my friend Daniel will join me as we do our best to follow Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. Once we reach Los Angeles the plan is to make our way north to Spokane. That is the route we plan to take stopping to see the sights as well as friends and family along the way.
   So on to the details of my first leg. I plan to depart here, Baltimore, and make my way to Chicago where my friend Daniel has been so patiently waiting for me for the past few days while I worked on my stubborn car. In today's drive I will traverse Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, then on to Illinois. I plan on making this leg a straight shot getting me into Chicago sometime in the early afternoon. Daniel and I have planned to spend a few hours in Chicago taking in the sights and resting up for our trek across Route 66.
   So that is the plan for today. I will do my best to create daily posts telling of our adventures and will try and attach a photo as well. Well I am off to pack, so until tomorrow my friends.



A special thanks to my mom and dad as well as Mr. and Mrs. McCulley for their donations.

For you motor heads out there, here is the work I ended up having to do:

Brake Shoes (All 4 wheels)
Brake Calipers (All 4 wheels)
Rear Axle Bearing
Spark Plug Wires
Spark Plugs
Timing Chain
Fuel Filter

Work Done:
Change the Oil/Oil Filter
Change the Transmission Fluid
Flush the Cooling System

Mind you before owning this car the extent of my car repair knowledge was oil, brakes, and belts. I know a little more then that now...