Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gettin' my kicks Part 1 - Going it alone


I love so many things about venturing out on road trips alone.You can listen to whatever you want, stop whenever you want, eat wherever you want, and no one can complain if you want to pull over at every scenic viewpoint and attraction to take pictures. With multiple cameras. You also don't have to ask nicely beg because you're always the driver. So much fun.

Don't get me wrong, there are several road trips that I have been on with other people and I wouldn't trade those experiences for the world (well, most of them), plus my husband is the greatest sport ever with regard to stopping at every single funky hotel sign along the road so I can photograph it with multiple cameras at many different angles, but I loved the freedom of it.


My goal is to drive all of Route 66 someday. Since I live in Arizona, I decided to do the first leg of Santa Monica to Flagstaff this year. Then, I can start in Flagstaff the next time I get a chance to finish the journey and have all the back-tracking to California out of the way.

For those who aren't in the know, Route 66 doesn't really exist anymore, at least not in the original amazingness it held before the big Interstates were built.  A large part of the route that I drove was actually I-40, but many of the little towns that the Mother Road ran through in the good old days are still there. Basically, I spent a lot of time exiting off of I-40, driving for a stretch, getting back on I-40, and then exiting off again. Here's my route map that I created using a combination of multiple historic route 66 maps and the awesome feature of google maps where you can drag your route all over the map.

Part of the appeal of driving along the road in present day is the inherent feeling of desertion. All those small businesses, little cafes, and hotels still struggling to survive despite the re-routing of all the traffic along a much speedier thoroughfare give a little glimpse into what it must have been like in its heyday. There is something haunting about it that I found so moving. It is what made this trip so amazing for me. Plus the signs. THE SIGNS, PEOPLE!!!

My last thought on going it alone has to be the listening material. Even though I went solo, I never really felt alone on my trip because I am pretty good at entertaining myself. I love music and listened to a lot of it to build the soundtrack to the journey (a combo of classic and indie rock, of course). But really, I am a big fan of the audio/podio book when driving long distances. Good ones make the time fly by, you almost wish you had more driving to do that day just so you can listen to a little bit more. I was joined on my trip by Sookie Stackhouse, Ishmael Wang, and Kate and Daniel. I never once felt tired of driving or burned out. The fact that I could download them onto my iPhone while traveling definitely didn't hurt.

I highly recommend the solo road trip. I felt so good afterward, I consider no time to be wasted on this venture.

More to come later!


  1. Great write-up! I really want to read the rest. I also love the pictures (even though I've seen them all already, I like the ones you posted here).

  2. Love the photos! And I'm with you on the solitary backroads drives -- though the Wisconsin and Iowa routes of my past don't hold a candle to Rte 66.

    Have you ever read "Travels With Charley", by Steinbeck? The whole thing is about a cross-country solo roadtrip. Pretty good, you might like it!

  3. Love the photos! The retro-ness of Route 66 signs is awesome.

    That was one nice thing about living alone in Japan: I could go wherever, eat, watch, and do whatever I wanted at any time.

    Maybe a solo road trip is in order :)


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