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Fab North America Travel

    Fab North America Travel

    A Fond Farewell

    Chapter Four – Betty Leaves Us

    Location: Route 66

    I know it’s the right thing to do, but my heart is breaking. Today we say goodbye to the Fabulous Betty, our beautiful pink vintage trailer and companion on our seven week cross country journey.IMG_6587

    We have sold her to a lovely lady and her daughter.  It is a perfect fit. This woman has a black suburban she calls Black Betty. Can you believe it?  It was meant to be.

    Farewell.

    It was always our intention to sell Betty and our car, (the final two big items left in our Fab Fifty purge) at the end of our road trip. It’s bittersweet and a

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    relief all at once.

    Although we have owned Betty less than three years she provided us a carefree and colorful extension of our lives and we have enjoyed every minute.

     

    Someday I believe there will be a Betty Two.

    But for now we leave Betty in the rear view mirror with her new family. I hope they get as much pleasure from her as we did.  Good bye my sweet. And thanks for the memories.

    Fab North America Travel

    The Long Good-Bye

    Leaving the country for two years

    good·bye
    ɡo͝odˈbī/
    exclamation
    1. used to express good wishes when parting or at the end of a conversation.
      synonyms: farewelladieuau revoirciaoadios;

       

    First of all – the fact that we are leaving the country has absolutely nothing to do with the events of last Tuesday.

    As you know we have been planning this for years.

    And planning, and planning and planning.

    There is so much to prepare.  In fact, I have been working on a blog about all the details from packing to prescriptions that we have had to address to make this a reality.  I will share that with you soon.

    But today – today I am thinking about Good-Byes.

    Because I have 18 days until we leave and it seems like the entire time is one long Good-Bye.

    Good-Bye to friends and family and stuff.

    The last few years have actually been one long Good-Bye.  Good-Bye to houses, and cars and jobs.  Setting out on a Grand Adventure could easily be called the Long Good-Bye.

    We answer the same questions over and over.  People are interested, confused, sometimes envious but usually just curious.  How, why where?

    Maybe it shouldn’t be Good-Bye.  Because I fully intend to see you all again.  Should we say farewell, so long, see you later? Ciao, Adieu, Adios, Au Revoir.

    Or just Good-Bye.

    18 days.

     

     

    Fab North America Travel

    What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been

    The End of Chapter Four

    Location: Route 66

    Fifty One Days

    9810 Miles

    Two countries

    Six Provinces

    Seventeen States

    Gas prices from $1.79 to $3.59IMG_7257

    Twenty-nine Friends

    Eight Audio Books

    Three Calendar Months

    One Big Road Trip

    What a long strange trip its been. From Lake Superior to the Pacific Ocean we have enjoyed

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    historic and quirky, inspirational and surprising, natural and manmade sights to fill our senses for a lifetime. North America is a travelers dream – never a dull moment.

    I love Europe and Hawaii. I love Asia and Africa and South America. But right here in our own backyard is a Paradise like no other – and I will never get enough. I’m already planning my next American road trip. And you should too.IMG_7398

    Because we are lucky to have it all – desert and lakes, oceans and rivers, canyons and forests. We have ghost towns and skyscrapers, monuments and mountains. You do not need to be an intrepid traveler, ticking
    off a list of how many countries and places you have been. I have been guilty of this. Without ever getting on a plane you can see a whole world right here in the USA. It’s beautiful. It’s mine. It’s yours.

    Be gallant and go see it.

    Its fabulous.IMG_7168

    Note – with this blog we turn the page and end Chapter Four of The Grand Adventure. We will spend the next three weeks doing our final preparations to depart the United States and not return until 2018. Chapter Five begins November 29th. 

    Fab North America Travel

    The End of the Road

    Chapter Four – Farewell to 66

    Location: Route 66

    We found it. The Pacific Ocean.

    2448 miles from Chicago we arrived today at the terminus of Route 66, Santa Monica California.

    Like many people before us, coming to the end of the road was sentimental yet satisfying. Not everyone can say they have made the entire trek, and not everyone would want to.  But we now are part of the “club” and I loved it all.

    image

    The start of Route 66 in downtown Chicago

    IMG_6945

    One of the slowest and most winding sections from Kingman to the California border

    Standing in the middle of downtown Chicago seems so long ago. Then I really didn’t know what we would find. Parts of the road were long and straight. Parts of the road were rough and complicated. It’s a metaphor for life really. Today as I stood  in Santa Monica and enjoyed the Pacific breeze it was a feeling of accomplishment.  A task done and complete. Total miles since leaving home 8200. Six weeks and one day

    IMG_6518

    A former roadside attraction – live lions – in Two Guns, Arizona

    I learned a lot about American history on this trek. I felt apart of the salt of the earth people who make our country great. It’s not a myth or legend – America is great and vast because of its people. We met a wide variety of Americans. Midwesterners bustling in the streets of Chicago. Cowboys in Texas. Snowbirds in Arizona. Surfers in Santa Monica.

    From Chicago to LA. From Lake Michigan to the Pacific. From St. Louis to Oklahoma City. From Amarillo to Albuquerque. From Flagstaff to Barstow to Santa Monica. The terrain, weather and food is as varied as the people.

    IMG_7027

    Burrows wander the streets of the old mining town Oatman in Arizona

    I wish more Americans would see the whole country from this road, or any road. There is so much to appreciate. The sunsets. The flora. The food. The patriotism.  The architecture. Fascinating and fabulous all.

    IMG_7048

    We added our names to the sign post at Cool Springs Camp Arizona

    And so with fondness we say farewell to Route 66 and turn north for the first time in over 8200 miles. We begin our drive back to Washington State. With a For Sale sign in the window of pretty pink Betty as we near the end of Chapter Four.

    But before we close this Chapter, a few more adventures are ahead. We make a right hand turn right onto another historic road – Hwy 1.  Another week heading north.

    Note – A big shout out to Mrs. O’Neils Sunday School Class (Grades 3-5)  at Gig Harbor United Methodist Church who have been following our journey on Route 66 as they study the 66 chapters of the Bible.  I love that they were able to find the journey both educational and spiritual.

    Fab North America Travel

    Midway Route 66

    Chapter Four – Adrian Texas

    Location: Route 66

    Yesterday marked one month on the road and we rolled on past 6000 miles.  I was thinking about Saskatchewan. It seems like a lifetime ago.

    But today we mark another milestone – the midway point on Route 66. Adrian Texas marks the middle at 1139 miles.

    I am enjoying this drive tremendously – even though I once again wish we had more time. Driving on Route 66 our speed is rarely more than 45 mph. The parts of the original road or the second generation road that is still accessible is usually narrow and IMG_6174rough. But oh so fascinating.

    Often the road parallels the freeway. But not always. Long stretches of the road are straight, especially through Oklahoma and Texas. But other stretches IMG_6162are winding and rolling like in Missouri. Much of the road – both the driveable parts and the non-driveable parts are the original Portland concrete. It’s interesting when paralleling the interstate Route 66 is rolling up and down while the freeway has been filled in to be a constant grade.

    We were moving along on the original road today in the Texas panhandle when suddenly Route 66 IMG_6205turned to gravel. That was a surprise. This was the Jericho Gap. Famous for historically swallowing cars in the mud. Lucky for us it was dry.

    We’ve lost the road a couple of times, although the small brown historic way-finding signs are numerous and helpful. Until we got to Texas and they disappeared altogether. We got really lost in Tulsa because multiple versions of the old road crisscross the downtown.IMG_6014

    The maps I ordered online have been helpful in keeping us on or as close to the original “mother road” as possible.  And best of all the maps guide us to cool sites of importance from the old days: service stations, motels, diners. For the most part these cool sites are no longer operational. A few are. And a few have been restored by the Route 66 National Historical Association. Others are dilapidated and ghostlike – in fact some towns like Texola Oklahoma are entire ghost towns – lost in time after Interstate 40 went through. Just like in the movie “Cars”.IMG_6187

    I love old stuff.  I fully admit I have an active imagination and always have.  It’s one of the reasons I enjoy creative writing.  My imagination is on overdrive out here.  I imagine the thousands – probably millions – of people who have driven this road before me.  Of course I think about the Joad family and all those real people like them. I imagine post war convertibles, with a blonde woman her hair covered with a scarf sitting next to her husband who wears a driving cap. My mind thinks about a family in a station wagon, not unlike my own family in the 1960’s, on a summer vacation.  Perhaps heading west to the Grand Canyon or Disneyland.IMG_5821

    And then I think about the towns and the people who are the towns.  The lucky ones whose livelihood came from the road bringing guests into their community and their businesses. And then I think of the others whose world was shattered when the interstate killed their town and their dreams.

    As children we learned about Lewis and Clark, the Oregon Trail and manifest destiny.  To me the history I am driving on is just as important.  An IMG_5718important piece of American history – not just an icon or a piece of Americana but a significant part of the building of the America we know today – the development of cars, roads, technology, commerce

    I admire it, revere it, cherish it for it’s importance while my imagination embraces it and feels it and all those who have come before me.

     

     

    Fab North America Travel

    Filling in the Donut Hole

    Chapter Four – OKLAHOMA

    Location: Oklahoma

    If you’ve been a reader of My Fab Fifties Life for awhile you probably remember when I wrote about The Donut Hole of my life – Oklahoma.

    Feel free to read that blog again (link here) but basically Oklahoma has been the one hold out state that has eluded me all these years.

    Until today.

    Check! Today I can proudly claim that not only have I visited Oklahoma, I’ve visited all 50 states.image

    Accomplishing this, on Route 66, with pink Betty and my best friend and husband is a Fab Fifty moment to remember!  Worth stopping the car and being silly on the side of the road.

    Because it will never happen again. Oklahoma is fabulous!

    Go. Be. Fabulous!

    Everything Else Fabulous  --  Fab North America Travel

    My Sixth Grade Memories

    Chapter Four – My 12 Year Old Self

    Location: Arkansas

    (Note- featured photo, my sixth grade class, Haddon Elementary 1972 Bremerton Washington.  Me to the right of the teacher)

    I’ve been delighted at the response I’ve received from people I know when I have told them we were going to swing through Arkansas on this road trip to visit my 6th grade teacher.

    My sixth grade teacher from 1971-1972.

    A long time ago, but not so long ago in my memory. Just yesterday.

    Everyone who hears this is first of all pleased but secondly fascinated that I am in touch with my sixth grade teacher.

    The miracle of Facebook.

    image

    Some of my friends from sixth grade – many of them I am friends with today through Facebook.

    When you look back on your life there are periods that stand out more than others.  Luckily for me I have very few bad memories, mostly good ones – and 1971-72 is one of my fondest.  My sixth grade year. My favorite grade school teacher. All my friends together in the class.

    image

    Getting together with grade school friends a few years ago.

    I often watch little girls today at that tender age of eleven going on seventeen going on thirty.  It’s sentimental to me.  Still children but on the edge of adulthood.  Still innocent, but pushing the boundaries.  I remember sixth grade like this.  So in the moment. No worries or cares. Full of joy, friendship, laughter, fun.  Full of hope and excitement.

    image

    Having lunch with our sixth grade teacher Mr. Ragsdale a few years ago in Tacoma.

    I moved the summer after my sixth grade year to a new school district.  It took about a year but I eventually found my niche and enjoyed my junior high and high school years.

    But sixth grade is forever emblazoned on my brain.

    I remember the movie “Love Story”, The Osmonds and the Jackson Five.  I remember Mark Spitz and the terrorist at the Munich Olympics.  I remember Don McLean’s “American Pie”, Girl Scouts and The Brady Bunch. I remember Herbal Essence Shampoo and bell bottoms.

    image

    Spending time with Ron & JoAnne Ragsdale this week in Arkansas

    And through all of these memories is the central figure of my sixth grade teacher’s kind and caring face.  His smile and patience and support not just for me at this launching point in my life but for each student in the class.

    And that is why we took a detour off of Route 66 the past few days to come to Arkansas and see him and his wife in this beautiful area they have retired to.

    Because it mattered.  And the memories remain. That year.  The year I grew up.