It was all the fault of the Great Dane. When Canadian winters sometimes look like this (my street), walking the dogs for 90 minutes a day is unpleasant, so my wife decided it was time to buy a winter place in Arizona. Of course, the plan was to ship a car, fly the dogs out, and all would be well. It turned out that there was no practical way to fly the Dane short of renting a private jet which is obviously unaffordable.. She was too big and too old.
So, I decided to drive the dogs 2400 miles, from Toronto to Scottsdale, and tow her car at the same time. my mate Phil volunteered to co-drive.
This trip would take us through Ontario , Michigan,Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and into Arizona. Because of business committments in Las Vegas, the return will be through Nevada,Utah, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois.
The main route to the West follows roughly the old Route 66. Long decommissioned, 66 was the main migration path during the Depression and the dustbowls of the thirties,into the optimistic days of the post war period, and millions travelled on it. When the great interstates were build, it was overbuilt or abandoned. Still, it is possible to find many pieces of the old route. With its thousands of motel rooms, neon, tourist traps, it was a magnificent monument to the kitsch of the fifties.
PREPARATION AND DAY 1 -from Toronto to Missouri
I had the Cayenne fully serviced. Its a V8 and this will be needed. The trailer was inspected, the bearings repacked, all tire pressure checked, and the SL loaded. Its a heavy beast, and the combined rig weighs about 10,000 lbs. We loaded up and set out before dawn. We brought food and water, dogfood, and headed out into the cold Ontario fog which lasted until the US border in Michigan, which was happily quiet. After a few cursory questions we were on our way through a sunny Michigan Fall. Although we would hook up with 66 in Illinois, we planned a long first day, and drove 900 miles to the small town of Rolla, Missouri. The Cayenne was quite easily able to handle to load, though on long hills it would change down much earlier than usual. We had brought extra oil, but it would turn out to be unneeded. In Rolla we checked into the Super 8 Motel, which takes large dogs. Its cheap and clean. We ate at a barbeque place that has a binary wine list ( red or white?)
Michigan has the laxest trucking laws, to you see these multi wheelers everywhere
DIxie truck stop, Normal,Illinois
We rolled by St Louis with its arch, no time to stop
DAY 2. - from Rolla, Mo., to Amarillo, Tx
A lot of Route 66 still exists down here, and we stop at the nicely restored Munger Moss Motel on the old 66 in Lebanon,Mo.. We had wanted to stay here, but they take no dogs. Efforts have been made to preserve some of the old Motels. and this one is excellent, and original.
We head for the Oklahoma border,
and stop at Afton Corners, Oklahoma, a true piece of Route 66
There is a converted filling station here, (admission free) where a collector has his Packards ,and a gift shop. (excellent for Route 66 literature)
Two versions of Packard
Saw a couple of derelict cars on the street.....
and back to the main highway, under the world's biggest McDonalds
Wonder what these cars are?
The terrain begins to flatten as we head for the Texas Panhandle
and we cross the Texas border onto the endless, flat,windy Panhandle. The wind is strong and we are constantly blown sideways as we pass trucks.Its constant correction and quite tiring to keep in a straight line.
Returning back to old Route 66, there is a beautifully restored cafe and filling station
I notice a fenced in scrapyard:
..and we head for Amarillo........