On the Road

Silly Squirrel aka red prairie dog

Today and yesterday there were some prairie dogs and I made a few pictures of them. As I haven’ t uploaded the pictures I will only be able to put one from the internet.

Actualy my pictures are much better or more realistic but this is an example… My videos too are much much much better.

I love to take pictures of the prairie doggies because they are cute and to take a picture of their private life, you need to establish some kind of confidence with them(that’ s the part I ‘m good at). I had to approach them very slowly  and wait very long before making another step to theme.

I actually had a favorite one that I named Joky he looked like an old man with his enormous bushy black eyebrows

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Petrified Forest

Aujourd’hui on a dévié un peu de la Route 66.

Nous sommes allés dans le Painted Desert (le Désert Peint) et la Petrified Forest (la Forêt Périfiée) qui font tous les deux partie d’un Parc National d’Arizona. Sur un territoire d’une cinquantaine de kilomètres de longueur, les panoramas et les vues les plus incroyables se succèdent.

Tout d’abord des reliefs colorés, de l’argile blanche ou rouge. C’est le désert et on a du mal à penser qu’il y plus de 200 millions d’années à cet endroits vivaient des dinosaures et qu’il y avait une forêt avec d’immenses arbres ! C’est pourtant ce que nous prouve cette forêt pétrifiés. Des arbres immenses devenus pierre ! Et des pierres de toutes les couleurs !

Tout ça par une journée assez nuageuse ce qui donnait à ce paysage lunaire un éclat particulier dû à la couleur sombre de certains nuages.

On nous a conseillé de ne pas dormir dans l’enceinte du Parc Nationale car il y avait des risques d’averses et d’inondation … l’argile ne boit pas l’eau …

posted by Cactus Killer in On the Road and have No Comments

Route 66: Oklahoma to Texas…

DAY FIVE: An amazing sunrise on the lake this morning in Foss State Park, on the edge of Oklahoma. But it is HOT and HUMID!!! Still the campsite was amazingly beautiful, and we had a nice relaxed evening last night making our BBQ lakeside…

Back on Route 66 today and we were still chasing down some of the “landmark” sites the road has become famous for, as well as discovering some details for ourselves…

The town of Texola wasn’t supposed to be a ghosttown, but it seemed one step away from Ghost status when we drove thru… We couldn’t help but get out and walk around, exploring what happens when a town is on the verge of extinction but still holding on…

It was kind of eerie. It was hot and the sun was high in the sky and the streets were deserted and some of the buildings were in ruins while others were simply abandoned, as if someone had left for work in the morning, locking the door, and then never returned… everything was left as it had been that day… looking just as if nobody was home… but it was clear that “nobody was home” for a very very very long time already… in the distance a dog barked, attesting to the fact that some folks hadn’t given up on the place, even if many of their neighbors had…

On the edge of town, a boarded up saloon front was painted with the surreal sign “No Place Like Texola”… a small town’s pride surviving the town itself…

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… toujours la route !

C’est etrange de regarder un pays, l’histoire d’un pays a travers une route, l’histoire d’une route!

On commence a voir des fermes ou des ranchs a taille humaine. C’est comme si ce pays etait specialise par region. Ici on voit des vaches partout mais on n’en a pas vu une jusque dans le Missouri !

La route elle meme, la 66 ressemble par moment a une nationale avec 2 voies de chaque cote, mais hier nous sommes passes par l’ancienne route … comme dans le temps … et je m’imagine tous ces camions passer avec des familles entieres empilees avec tout le barda. En effet ca devait etre un voyage long et difficile.

Je repense a Grapes of  Wrath et a la grand mere qui craignait tant le voyage … elle devait pressentir … et elle est morte d’epuisement, ballotee dans le camion, fatiguee de dormir sur les planches. Elle n’a pas pu tenir.

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Route 66: Oklahoma

DAY FOUR: We made it as far as Tulsa last night… the landscape has changed from Missouri’s rolling hills to the flat endless horizon we tend to associate with the great big West… And the animal of the day is the cow!

Lots and lots of cows… and lots and lots of corn… Cornfields and Cows… Cows and Cornfields… occasionally interrupted by the tall stalks of the wind turbines generating clean energy… wind farms and traditional farms all in the same place…

The clean energy windmills dotting the landscape made it seem as if the nation is hedging its bets… still believing that oil is king, but solidly investing in alternatives as well…

And so the windmills stood starkly in the flat fields defining the horizon like so many mechanical scarecrows… the cows paid them no mind!

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Route 66: more Missouri …

DAY THREE: We drove the old road as much as we could today! Sometimes we got a little bit lost, but that was OK, because usually it led to a good discovery…

And then we DID manage to visit a few places we really wanted to stop at… like “Gay Parita,” Gary Turner’s place in Paris Springs MO! Gary is an amazing guy! He greeted us as if we were long lost friends… and he took the time out to chat with us a bit about the Mother Road and about the places and people along this stretch…

We enjoyed Gary’s hospitality, and would have liked to have stayed longer, but we had to get back on the road…

It seems like, even with all the time that we have, there is just never enough time to do all that we would like… We need to keep up our pace or we will fall hopelessly behind!

The funny thing is that this was supposed to be the ultimate trip… and in fact, it is turning out to be something of an introduction rather than an emphatic conclusion… and so, for me personally, it makes me think about coming back and doing each section in much greater detail…

I guess I have been bitten by the road bug…

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Route 66 Missouri…

DAY TWO: We woke early… it had rained overnight and our tent held up! hooray!!!!!

We decided to take the canoe trip on the Meramec River, and went down to get a canoe, but were informed that the river was high… almost too high to go out on at all… and so we would have to take a raft instead. So we took the raft and went down to the muddy waters of the river which seemed quite calm.

After taking an unintended dip in the water, we started making our way down the river through a beautiful morning light… It was calm and apart from a few obstacles and easy lazy river float. Of course the aforementioned obstacles did present the occasional problem… especially when Cactus Killer and I decided to each try to paddle in opposite directions, sending the raft spinning in circles towards the beaver dam!!!! We actually got stuck on an exposed tree limb for a few moments… but after that understood the idea of “team work” better and got a lot better at keeping our boat afloat so to speak!

Rest of the river trip was uneventful in that sense, but the most AMAZING moment was when two eagles flew off right in front of us… maybe just ten feet from where we were… they were above us and they were magnificent! It was a privilege to see them so close up… Later on a beautiful black and white butterfly landed on the raft and kept us company flitting from side to side for a segment of our journey….

After the take out point we got our gear together and got back on the road… taking Route 66 past Rolla to around Lebanon Missouri, where we set up camp at Bennett Spring State Park for the night.

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Route 66… the beginning…

DAY ONE: We left Chicago in the morning, and had to drive to the starting point for the original Route 66… but we did it! We started at the actual beginning… driving through the city in the early morning calm before losing our way in the suburbs, then finding it again a few turns later…

The first thing we realized once we were on the road was that the road is something of a puzzle… Even with the directions and the maps and the signs, we still can easily miss a turn or misinterpret a direction and suddenly find ourselves off the Route… and yet, even those unintended detours led to some incredible discoveries…

The road is a collection of imagery… of sensations… of ideas… all threaded together by this ribbon of asphalt… taking us from one to the next. I have decided it is like a “treasure hunt” where we have maps and directions that give us clues, but it is up to us to find the road and keep our eyes open for the delights it has to offer along the way…

Day One took us from Chicago all the way to St. Louis (though we did have to get on the interstate a bit to make up time), and we spent the night camped at Meramec State Park in Missouri… satisfied with our day’s drive and happy to be on our journey!

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Tourisme

On a pris un car cet après-midi … un vieux car, certainement un vrai vieux car des années 40. Les suspensions étaient bien usées et d’ailleurs il avançait lentement car, à la moindre irrégularité de la route il donnait l’impression qu’il allait se casser en deux ! Les deux chauffeurs et guides se relayaient pour nous parler de la mafia et de la prohibition.

J’ai appris par exemple qu’il n’y avait pas qu’une mafia mais plusieurs et elles se partageaient les quartiers de la ville. On nous a balladés dans la ville en nous racontant les histoires de chacun … et les guides étaient franchement sympathiques et intelligents et pas très politically correct !

C’était une bonne idée car, en deux jours il était de toutes façons impossible de tout voir dans une ville. Mais comme ça on a une idées des différents quartiers. Chicago a aussi son China Town. Beaucoup de rues portent le même nom qu’à NY … j’y ai même vue Canal Street !

… et puis c’est le jour de la finale de la Coupe du Monde de foot et ici ça passe franchement assez inaperçu. Des touristes ou des Latinos regardaient mais sans plus…

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Chicago and Tommy Gun’s…

We spent a great evening at a place called Tommy Gun’s Garage. A real step back into the 1920s booze-running gun-toting Chicago gangster days…

The venue was actually next to (or on the spot of) one of Al Capone’s hangouts on the Southside of Chicago, and we headed down there by subway, and had a short stroll through the neighborhood before going in. At the door was a guy dressed in 1920s style clothing complete with fedora and thompson machine gun… he let us into the “speakeasy” and we took our seats in a fabulously decorated replica of a 20s-era speakeasy.

Soon enough one of the girls, dressed as a flapper came to take our order…

What we didn’t know yet, was that the entire staff would be the performers for the show, and they stayed completely in character throughout the evening, making the ambiance loads of fun!!! “Deuce” took Silly Squirrel over to the corner and gave him a bullet!!!! (actually a real shell casing, from the blanks they fire out of those thompson machine guns during the show)…

After dinner the show itself began and was an excellent revue… song and dance and comedy… interrupted by a “raid” which required quite a bit of audience participation…

We had a blast!!! (pun intended) … and left in high spirits (bad pun intended again)!!!

All in all, an excellent meal and a fabulous show! I would highly recommend this to anyone passing thru Chi-town with an evening to spare!!!!

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