Where I’ve been so far

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I haven’t been great about updating my maps in a systematic way, and my route has actually diverged quite a bit from my original plan. So above is an analog update: My path so far, as traced with a Sharpie on a road map. It includes stops in Pittsburgh; South Bend, IN; Wheaton, IL; Indianapolis; Nashville; Mansfield, MO; Kansas City, MO; Tulsa; Oklahoma City; Amarillo, TX; Santa Fe, and now, near Leadville, CO. After the jump, a few photos that haven’t found their way into the blog so far.

In Nashville, I hung out with two of my favorite Johns. (Capitalization is important there.)

2 of these 3 people are extremely excited about that 500-page book, titled "New York State Government

2 of these 3 people are extremely excited about that 500-page book, titled "New York State Government."

This place is in a basement, but is surprisingly large and interesting:

You can imagine the thrills.

You can imagine the thrills.

I went grocery shopping for necessities:

So much for my plans for a line of artisanal ham salad and pimento spread. I've been beaten to the punch.

So much for my plans for a line of artisanal ham salad and pimento spread. I've been beaten to the punch.

In Mansfield, MO, I visited Laura Ingalls Wilder’s adulthood home:

I'll never wash my left hand again.

I'll never wash my left hand again.

In Oklahoma City, I visited the memorial for the 1995 bombing.

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I overheard a little girl ask her mom, “So, an AMERICAN did this?!”

More memorial.

More memorial.

A call for justice scrawled by a rescue worker soon after the attack.

A call for justice scrawled by a rescue worker soon after the attack.

In the summer of 2001, I sat directly behind then-attorney general John Ashcroft in church in Washington, DC, on the day before Timothy McVeigh was executed. We shook hands during the passing of the peace, and I have always wondered what was on his mind during that service.

After Oklahoma City, I drove west to the Texas panhandle.

It's big.

It's big.

Spotted at a rest stop:

I actually heard a rattle!

I actually heard a rattle!

Just west of Amarillo, I-40 runs past “Cadillac Ranch,” where a guy half-buried 10 Cadillacs in a field.

Kind of underwhelming, to be honest.

Kind of underwhelming, to be honest.

I stopped for lunch that day at the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, TX, the exact halfway point of old Route 66, which runs from Chicago to Santa Monica.
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I reached Santa Fe by mid-afternoon.

Pretty much every single building in Santa Fe looks like this, seriously.

Pretty much every single building in Santa Fe looks like this, seriously.

Yesterday morning I left Santa Fe and drove north on US-285 into Colorado.
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It was a gorgeous drive that took me through the San Luis Valley, a huge alpine valley with sand dunes and mountains rising up all around it. I had lunch in Antonito, CO, which is just above the New Mexico-Colorado border. I chatted with a Harley-driving financial planner from Anaheim, who has a little cabin in the area and spends his free time riding hundreds of miles at a time.

As I drove on, it didn’t feel like the elevation climbed much at all, but I ended up in Buena Vista, CO, which is about 7950 feet above sea level, and then climbed some more until I arrived at my dad and stepmom’s great little cabin near Leadville, CO. They’re high-school teachers back at work in Illinois, so I’m here on my own. This part of the country is jaw-droppingly beautiful, but then, I’ve honestly thought there almost everywhere I’ve been so far.

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I cooked myself dinner and settled in for the night. 

Life is pretty good.

Life is pretty good.

It’s quiet here. The cabin has a landline, but no internet, TV, cell service, or radio reception. It’s heated by wood stove, and last night it was in the 40s, so I built a roaring fire as soon as I arrived. I read some old LIFE magazines, and from Annie Proulx’s “Close Range,” and fell asleep by about 10. Such is mountain living.

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4 responses to “Where I’ve been so far

  1. Wait, you skipped The Big Texan in Amarillo where you get a 72 oz steak for free if you eat it under an hour. YOU HAVE TO GO BACK!

  2. I saw those signs! But there is something terribly sad about the idea of sitting down to devour a 72 oz. steak in an hour BY MYSELF.

  3. There IS????

  4. Pingback: Where I’ve been, part 3. « Public Road

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