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Road Trips (standard:non fiction, 845 words)
Author: SlambangAdded: Oct 21 2007Views/Reads: 2802/2Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A tale of across country trip on Old Highway 66


Back in the late forties, it became a ritual to visit the folks back
home. Every summer we would load up the car and make the 2000 mile 
trip. It was usually in August (the hottest month of the year in the 
Midwest) We thought the boys should get to know their Grand parents.  
Sometimes we even did it twice during the year. The second time would 
be at the Christmas Holiday season. I guess you could say we gave old 
Route 66 a good workout. 

The road at that time was much different than it is now. It was two lane
nearly all the way and always seemed to go  straight  through small 
towns and big cities too. I can still remember seeing the sign 
advertising Jack Rabbit, Arizona. It was a big roadside jackrabbit and 
was posted all along Route 66. The sign would say Jackrabbit Arizona 
437 miles ahead or something similar to that. After seeing all the 
signs for miles and miles we finally came to Jack Rabbit Arizona. If 
you blinked your eyes you would have been through it and missed it 

There was always the games we would have to play to keep the kids
occupied and not giving us the same old question “Are we there yet” or 
“how much farther is it“. The games we would play were finding numbers 
on the license plates of the passing cars and they had to be in 
sequence. Other times it would be finding cars with license plates from 
other states. I know that many  people have experienced the arguing 
about who was taking most of the rear seat space and the cries “He's 
touching me” Also there were the Burma Shave signs. Like “he had the 
ring, he had the flat, she felt his face and that was that.”  And 
“within the vale of toil and sin, your head grows bald but not your 
chin, Use  Burma shave. and “Hardly a man is now alive who took this 
curve at 75 Use Burma Shave”.  One in particular I remember was “here 
lies Elmer Blake. Stepped on the gas instead of the brake”, This went 
on for miles and even the “old Folks, (us) enjoyed that. 

Driving on route 66 was never dull on the two lane road and one place in
particular was the road through “Oatman Pass,” Arizona. After one left 
Needles and started up to Kingman Arizona the road was narrow and after 
you got closer to Kingman the road was mountainous and winding and it 
seemed as if there was not even enough room for two cars to pass. I 
remember one time were  climbing that winding narrow road and near the 
top of the mountain we met a big Semi truck right in the middle of the 
curve and it was taking up nearly all of the road. We had to stop and 
back up to a place where the road was a little wider so that he could 
pass. Now ,that road is a wide highway that goes directly from Laughlin 
to Kingman, but route 66 (now  Interstate 44) bypasses that pass. 

Kingman had a good steak house. If I remember right it was Called “Rod's
Steak House” We always tried to stop there for dinner. In 1956,I had 
just bought a brand new Chevy. It was a beauty. We stopped at Rod's for 
early dinner and then continued on to Holbrook, Arizona. 

As I have said ,the road was narrow and hilly and I got behind a semi.
He could go like the dickens downhill ,but going uphill he could just 
barely make it. I was behind this snail for many miles and every time 
it seemed like it was safe to pass (going downhill he would speed up to 
about eighty or there was traffic in the opposite direction and I was 
not safe to pass. Finally as we were just outside of Holbrook there was 
a long hill and the road divided into four lanes. At last here was my 
chance. At the bottom of this hill was a bridge. I was going like sixty 
,I passed one truck and was nearly around the other when we got to the 
bridge and he moved over the centerline and caused me to have to eat 
the bridge. My pretty new car was now a piece of junk. Our luggage, 
which had been on a car top carrier was scattered all over the scenery, 
but luckily no one was injured. We were stranded in Holbrook for the 
night. I had the car towed to a garage in Holbrook and the mechanic 
there was able to make temporary repairs so that we could continue on 
the trip, but that was one I will never forget. Shucks ! Instead of 
showing off my nice new red and white hardtop, I was driving a beat up 
thing that looked like it came from the wrecking yard. As my wife has 
often told me “life with Harold is never boring” 


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