Au Revoir Albuquerque
When my youngest son came to visit in late June, I thought he would stay through to early August, but things came up, and because he is now entering the world of the adult, he had to get back to North Carolina for two days of meetings before his graduate program starts.
The fact that my youngest has meetings to attend reminds me that I am getting old, and I deal with that by drinking my favorite brew — the biggest Americano I can find. So as we headed out of town late on a Monday morning our last stop before hitting the open road was Blunt Bros Coffee.
Located on Central Avenue (a part of historic Route 66), Blunt Bros does not serve drip coffee, and while their trademark tee shirts state they are the “Quad Shot Kings”
my son an I always seem to opt for the larger “Octo Shot,” and with our very large espresso drinks in hand, we headed east.
We made the first part of our journey by continuing on Route 66, heading east on Central Avenue toward the Sandias up through the Village of Tijeras before we merged onto Interstate 40, the road we would follow for the rest of our journey.
Leaving New Mexico
New Mexico has an underlying politeness that is a part of much of daily life, and is reflected in things that seem small as in the “You are now leaving New Mexico” signs that usher you on your way as you leave the state and which, without saying it, imply that you are always welcome back.
The Texas Stateline
One thing I have learned over the course of my travels this past year is that there is something about a border that readily differentiates the place you have just entered. It isn’t always easy to articulate, but you can’t help but feel the change. If you are heading east as you leave New Mexico, the Lone Star State can’t be too far away, and as soon as we crossed the state line, we saw this “Welcome to Texas” sign where a car had stopped to get a better photo.
My son and I didn’t have time to stop, so he snapped this photo while I drove, and as we were remarking on the way the feel of the interstate had changed as we crossed the imaginary line defined a legal border, we were greeted by four black helicopters on the right coming out of the the southwest, nearing the I-40 , and then zooming east and further south
Not more than four minutes into our drive through Texas, we had already encountered a true Texas adventure, and once that bit of excitement had passed, the drive was very much the same as my previous drives through Texas — uneventful in all the right ways. The lack of anything happening meant that I had time to enjoy the views as made my way toward Amarrillo.
One thing that you notice about Texas (even if you are, as I am, from California) is that everything in Texas is bigger — the skies, the windmills
and the fines for littering which will set you back $2000 if you are foolish enough to try.
We continued our journey across the panhandle, taking in the views and discussing where we were going to get dinner.
In late June I had read a piece in the LA Times, How a rural Oklahoma truck stop became a destination for Sikh Punjabis crossing America. I was delighted, and somewhat surprised to learn that Sayre, Oklahoma, was home to a vegetarian restaurant that was open 24/7, and that I had apparently driven past it numerous times over the course of this past year.
My son and I decided this would make the perfect place to grab some dinner.
When I got to Exit 26, I quickly recognized the Oklahoma gas station with a Texas-sized American Flat blowing in the wind:
It was the Chhoker Travel Center where I have often stopped to refuel:
But where, I wondered, was the restaurant ? My son and I circled the Chhoker Travel Center. We did not come this far to not have Indian food, and the on one of our tours of the parking lot, we saw the sign for the restaurant:
After ordering some food for the road along with two exquisitely delicious coffees, we resumed our travels and got this photo of cattle standing like statues before our travels alongside the historic Route 66 drew to a close:
In what seemed like no time we had made our way through Oklahoma City where Route 66 heads north to Chicago, while we continued east along Interstate 40.
We eventually made it to Durham, North Carolina, our final destination, but the next time we hear the siren call of the open road, there’s a good chance we’ll be finding some new kicks on Route 66.