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Ramblin’ Joe: Cars

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by Joe Baxter

Happy Wednesday!

Forgot to tell y’all about the Lamborghini. It was RED, parked on Route 66 across from the Arcadia Round Barn this morning. I neglected to take a photo. Sorry. That thang was other-worldly and it looked like it was about one second from taking flight. Nice folks. Very pleasant couple. They’d been to Arizona via some northern route and were driving 66 back to Chicago. He wanted to know where the good two-lanes are between Arcadia and Missouri. I liked his attitude. We studied a map and I showed him  Highway 16 and 33 and 62 and 18 and 48 and 99 and 105 and 10 … I inquired about the ability of the suspension on the car to withstand the results of 100 years of highway neglect and he just laughed and laughed. Rich people. 🙄

He did the same when I asked how fast the car would go. I realized it was one of those, “if ya gotta ask” moments. 😆 There are lots of highways in Oklahoma I’d love to drive in a Lamborghini. I hope they have a good trip. He turned down my offer to race.

Flipside of the Route 66 traveler money coin (is that redundant?) was the guy from upstate New York who had spent the winter in southern Arizona in his NICE converted 1979 Chevrolet camper van. Super nice guy, just retired last year. He was headed home to NY up close to Canada to “check on the house and pay bills” before embarking on his summer trip; a drive west across the entire US/Canada border from New York to Vancouver. Sure sounds like fun, except that van would get awful small. Dude told me to visit his neck of the woods in July and August and bring the fishing pole. He said you couldn’t go ten miles in any direction without hitting a good fishing lake. Heck, yeah. I’ve checked into their music festivals up there and there are a few interesting-looking events. Fishing pole, check. Guitar, check. Life is good, no?

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It’s been a while since I had the energy to actually go camping. My Econoline sleeps pretty good, though. I built a bed in there a few years back for music festival use, but these days, Jean and I do Visa Card camping. 

😉 It’s rough, but we make do.

It’s been a while since anyone dropped in off the Route on a Tuesday morning in a “special” vehicle. Used to see lots of vintage highway yachts, old ‘vettes, VW buses (& Bugs,) old pickups, etc. I have a few pics I’ll dig up. I hope the hot-rodders and other Car Enthusiasts weren’t overly-negatively impacted by the Covid. It’s mostly older folks in the super nice cars. Traffic is starting to pick up a bit. But just between us chickens, my thought is that the best 66 traveler mobile for you and me will probably be one of the nice, non-descript top-end Japanese cruisers. Plenty fast and PuhLENTY comfy.

Still, if I had the opportunity to drive 66 out to Texas in, say, a 1965 Mustang convertible (Red) factory hot rod with a 4-speed manual and 289 v-8, I’d do it without thinking. 

 A few years ago, Jean and I took off on a road trip to South Dakota for a reunion. We took two-lane roads, there and back. It was a great trip. We had just headed out and cleared OKC, headed for the Panhandle when it occurred to me – I told Jean that we had missed our golden opportunity to go rent some awesome time machine hot rod and act out the whole Highway Vagabond fantasy. Ah, well. We drove her Highlander instead. As I said – fast & comfy. 

These days, it’s Alice, my English Honda. She’s a fast girl, and surprisingly comfortable. The driver’s position seems to be very ergonomic. Not much movement is required, especially for highway driving. She does fine on long runs, is turbocharged, and is a hoot in the curves.

The van runs great but drives and rides like a Conestoga wagon. (That ‘65 Mustang still sounds pretty good.) How about an old pickup? Sure would like to have one, but can’t afford a second mortgage. Say a 1955 GMC 1/2 ton – (Red) 6 banger 4 speed. No power anything. Gotta wonder if I could “wrassle” something like that across 1000 miles of America. I also wonder if the lack of A/C would quickly spell the end to such an endeavor. But I’d have those awesome wing windows, so I bet I could.

For someone who obsesses so much about travel, I sure don’t seem to be going anywhere. 😆

And there’s sure as hell a good song in that. 

Spring has sprung! Getting GREEN out there. Gotta love it.

I’m tapping this out on the phone and watching baseball. Kinda got carried away talking old cars and old highways. 

Hey, y’all have a good week. If you’ve got a little downtime, catch a game.

Loves ya. jb

RESIST – A glib line from a practiced liar. The best tricks work again and again and again for a reason. Don’t be a sucker.


Dawn Shelton and Joe Baxter

EDITOR’S NOTE. Joe Baxter is one of my favorite people. He loves music, the Arcadia Round Barn, his wife Jean, a club sandwich from Farmstead Cafe, Route 66, and America (not in that order). A songwriter and musician, he has a way with words and can turn a phrase such that you want to listen, or in this case, read for a while. If you are one of his “face friends” on social media, you know he can get you thinking with his posts and musings. Let’s insert here that Joe’s comments might not “reflect the views of staff and management,” or they might. All views, musings, and submissions are welcome here on these digital pages where we don’t kill trees or buy ink by the barrel! Find Joe at the Arcadia Round Barn where he is the head conversation aficionado catching stories from Route 66 travelers from all over the world, and getting the band together eight days a week! Thanks Ramblin’ Joe! Y’all ENJOY! – dawn

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