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.)
This place is in a basement, but is surprisingly large and interesting:
I went grocery shopping for necessities:
In Mansfield, MO, I visited Laura Ingalls Wilder’s adulthood home:
In Oklahoma City, I visited the memorial for the 1995 bombing.
I overheard a little girl ask her mom, “So, an AMERICAN did this?!”
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.
Spotted at a rest stop:
Just west of Amarillo, I-40 runs past “Cadillac Ranch,” where a guy half-buried 10 Cadillacs in a field.
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.
I reached Santa Fe by mid-afternoon.
Yesterday morning I left Santa Fe and drove north on US-285 into Colorado.
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.
I cooked myself dinner and settled in for the night.
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.