8 days, 2,500 miles, 5 cameras and over 900 photos later, i’m just not sure where to start. so i think i’ll start by saying this. i’m a total planner – our vacations typically have very detailed itineraries complete with pre-Yelped restaurants and thoroughly researched excursions. it’s just what i do. so when we embarked on a week-long road trip across Route 66 (well, half of it), with only 2 nights of accommodations booked i was, needless to say, a little nervous. but this trip wasn’t about plans. it was about spontaneity. going with the wind, as they say. letting loose and finding pieces of ourselves and pieces of each other and pieces of this beautiful country we never knew existed. and it was perfect. so instead of giving you a total run down of the whole trip (which i’ll try to do when i figure out how to organize it into a post), i give you a few of my favorite moments. the amazing/frustrating/hard/couldn’t have dreamt of better/perfectly unplanned, ones.
we didn’t know where we would stay the first night, but we ended up in Kingman, AZ, where we were greeted with a parade of classic cars blocking the main roadways. yup, that felt right. but while this was adorable and all, we also realized that the little city of Kingman was very, very crowded and we had no hotel/motel reservations. enter panic. after checking in our Route 66 guide book (which was SO helpful, btw), we found a couple “classic” motels in the area, so we drove around looking for vacancy signs. we came upon El Trovatore. built in 1937 as a service station originally, it was recently refurbished with “themed” celebrity rooms, and after weighing our options between the two rooms available (Marilyn or Michael – Jackson, that is), we went with Michael because of the “Bad” album poster hanging over the bed COME ON.
but it didn’t end there. we found out that this year’s annual Fun Run, a parade of classic cars down Route 66 through AZ happened to be in Kingman that day and a number of the over 800 cars that participate were staying at our very same motel. the owner and his wife invited us to a BBQ they were throwing for all the guests that evening to celebrate. so that night, we sat under the stars and the neon and the big, bright moon and listened to oldies with the guests of the Trovatore Motel. we ate hot dogs and drank beer and laughed at how we couldn’t have planned such a perfect first night. and it seemed like everything, despite not being planned, was going to go just how we would have planned it after all.
then there was the weather. ah, weather. we don’t get a lot of that in Orange County. and i don’t know about you, but when i think of CA/AZ/NM/TX in May, i think of HOT. like shorts and tanks and straw hats hot. well guess what. the first day it was 100º and then it rained/hailed/snowed/blew us over it was so windy every. other. day. but you know what, driving through the endless miles of desert and flat lands each night trying to find our next destination with thunderstorms all around us was kind of amazing. we felt so far away (especially coming back from the Grand Canyon when it seriously SNOWED in Williams, AZ – like lots and lots of snow). and it made for lots of dreary/lovely/grey photos like this one.
a few days into the trip we got lost. and it rained. again. and we happened to decide that we wanted to drive another 2 hours to Tucumcari, NM, instead of staying in Albuquerque, where we thought we might end up that night. but when we pulled up to the dreamy neon of the Blue Swallow Motel with heavy clouds above, we knew we were right where we belonged. and when we walked in and the sweetest couple (hi, Jessica and Cameron!) welcomed us like old friends and invited us to a local bar to listen to some motel guests who just checked in play, it seemed like everything was, again, even better than we could have planned. that night we drank bright blue margaritas and listened to four random englishmen on a road trip in a ’57 cherry red Chevy play Elton and Elvis at a bar they hadn’t planned to until a few hours prior. and we danced to Hey Jude in the middle of a restaurant. and we ran to the car in the pouring rain because it was fun and we had nowhere to be and it felt good and everything was right.
and that’s just the beginning, really. that’s not even counting that time we accidentally took a really long detour on a dirt road, but ended up rescuing a little box turtle in the middle of it. or our terrifying experience feeding ostriches. or when we almost ran out of gas trying to make it through the high desert. so you know what, here’s to the anti-planners. the ones that make us type-A, planner, worry-wart types live a little more – a little wilder. and here’s a few more of our favorite moments. i hope you enjoy reliving our little story as much as we do. xo, mo.
all photos from the El Trovatore Motel in Kingman, AZ, Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, NM, and Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, AZ. can’t say enough about all three places – thank you to all of the amazing people at each who made our trip so memorable. (including Obey, below, who’s kind of my favorite).