Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Did you hear that?

 When I was contemplating putting this trip together I had a lot of songs going through my head. While driving I would listen to music or an app called Autio or HearHere. It was begun by Kevin Costner of all people and connects via GPS to tell you historical, geological, curious facts of the area you are driving through. One of the most memorable was near Lincoln New Mexico. That's Billy the Kid land. This section of the country is preserved (luckily) so as you drive, and listen to the wild west stories you can practically see the outlaws come out of the woods. Anyway, I digress. 

In no particular order-

Picking up on some songs I thought I would check the places out- 

All come to look for America....It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw....(Paul Simon). I stopped in Saginaw Michigan and it was a disappointment. It could have been anywhere USA. There was a small historic downtown- very small. We staying in a hotel, for some reason I can't remember. ANyway, forgettable. I could see why he wanted to leave. Sorry, Saginaw. No pictures from here- nope.

Tucumcari, AZ- Well, I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari....- a Little Feat song, probably others

have done it. It was along Route 66 which is off and on amusing in itself. I stayed in an RV park because there was not much else. It had a lot of cats, much to Gina's delight and I got laundry done. BUT- besides the main street of town being funky Western Americana there was a super Mexican restaurant (Gina stayed in the car) I felt a bit out of place. It was a locals spot. Everyone knew the waitress but I had a Tacos Carbon that was the best Mex meal EVER. So Tucumcari has a soft spot in my heart.

Luchenbach, TX- Every time I think of Luchenbach there is a song attached. Let's go to Luchenbach, Texas, Waylon and Willie and the boys...- Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. In my Texas rambling chapter with BFF Molly Tew we had the opportunity to go to Luchenbach. I expected a little Texas town but turns out it is solely a music venue with a colorful history. There are a couple stages in wooded groves, a small camping area, dance hall, big parking lot and a couple of friendly souvenir shops- that's it. Super charming though and very
good vibes. It was one of my favorite pauses.

Somewhere near Salinas, Lord I let him slip away, he's looking for his home and I hope he finds it....- Me and Bobby McGhee -Janis Joplin version. So I went to

Salinas after visiting cousins in Napa. What I didn't realize at the time is that Salinas is also the homeplace of John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley, Grapes of Wrath, etc). It is a 50/50 town, 50 percent interesting, 50% industrial and dreary. I found the main drag which was all about Steinbeck but staying there in a sleezy little hotel that would take dogs was not particularly fun. It was rainy, rainy, rainy so that may have affected my mood. Probably spring is better.

Rollin', rollin', rollin' on the River- Tina Turner. Hannibal Missouri. The birthplace and stage setting for Mark Twain. I thought I would come into this terrific little American town

and stroll around, looking at the shops, drink coffee with the literati. Another hope dashed. It is a town that sadly has seen it's heyday. I felt like the town council is really letting these folks down. There are terrific houses, old architecture from a riverboat heyday.  Most are in serious states of disrepair. There were token nods to Twain/Samuel Clemens but, sigh. So we took a "steamboat" ride on the Mississippi River. Gina seemed to like it just fine although there was nothing to chase she was nonplussed about the rumble of the engines. I did cover her ears for the departure toots!

Hey, Mr. Spaceman, won't you please take me along, I won't do anything wrong-

The Byrds. It's not the reason I went to Roswell but it kept running through my head there. Roswell is highly amusing. They are capitalizing on their space "experience" and it is thriving. The tourist center has a selfie op and all through town there were space memorabilia, museums, statues and such. Funny. We stayed at a campground outside of town and I was disappointed not to have ET visitors.

We did stand on the corner in Winslow Arizona- The Eagles/ Jackson Browne. It was amazing how lively the town was next to the town I stayed at the night before which seemed to be struggling as a truck pass by. I can only attribute it to the Frey/Browne song and the fact that some town council had the foresight to say, hey

people will come here to stand on the corner and see a girl in a flatbed Ford slowing down to take a look at me. so they made the corner, painted a mural and it is a destination. I heard folks talking and one guy had brought his family en route to Norfolk, VA. He was talking to a vet from CA, making friends. The power of music. Is your town faltering? Get a good songwriter.

I had playlists for road songs, blues, country, I tried to fit the surroundings. Listened to a few podcasts on the way home but music made the miles roll on.

Music makes everything roll on. Symphonies are especially nice in the majestic National Parks of Arches, Bryce and Zion.

Here are some more of those places-

The general store
Ready for a boat ride on the Mississippi


A Route 66 motel in Tucumcari

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