The Best Laid Plans

21 Dec

If you’ve been following the Tweets, you already know this story is going to get dirty. Very dirty. Filthy, even. But there were a few other events that deserve mentioning so I will cover them first. Gonna be a long post tonight…

As we left Tulsa this morning I spotted this fantastic sign for Daylight Donuts. Of course we had to go inside to get a donut and we started chatting with the owner. I told her the sign would probably become a painting and she was excited because she’s getting ready to start a fundraising campaign to restore it. I asked her to keep me informed so if I get further info on that I’ll be sure to share. We had a donut called a pinecone, which looked kind of like an exploding flower and was described as an “inside out cinammon roll that’s deep fried.” It tasted just as good as you would expect a sugary, fried dough bomb to taste. By which I mean, it was awesome.

A few miles down the road we encountered one of the famous road landmarks, the round barn in Arcadia, OK, which as you can see, is indeed round.

Just down the street is a newly-built attraction called Pops. I was prepared to hate it since I am into the vintage sights, but this place was really cool. They sell over 400 different brands of soda, all cold and all in glass bottles. Brands I haven’t seen in years (Faygo Redpop ring a bell for any of you Detroit-area readers?) and some I’ve never heard of. They’re arranged by color/flavor – all the grape in one cooler, orange in another, and so on. You grab an empty 6-pack carton and pick and choose what you like. Of course we had to pick up a variety as souvenirs.

The most peaceful part of the day was a little further west, where we got to drive on an extensive section of original 1930s concrete, much of it with curbs. The concrete is a pinkish color, and in this area you can see miles and miles of mostly nothing, which gives you a great idea of what it must have felt like to drive the route in the 20s or 30s.

As we entered Texas, we encountered what is billed as the largest cross in the western hemisphere, which implies some larger cross exists in the eastern hemisphere, but I digress.

Ok, now things are going to get dirty.

Amarillo is home to the famous Cadillac Ranch, 10 mid-century finned Cadillacs buried nose-first into the ground. It’s one of the sights I have been most excited to see, and one of the big events on this trip was for JJ & me to graffiti one of the cars with the names of all the sponsors of Project 66. JJ laid out a great design before we left and we printed it up in large format to wheat paste on one of the cars. We were at Lowe’s in Tulsa at 6:30 am picking up the supplies to paste it on along with some spray paint to further decorate with after it was affixed. We’ve been talking about it all day – what’s the best way to put it up, what angle to photograph it, etc. We got into Amarillo with plenty of sunlight left to work, and found the location with no trouble at all. So far, so good.

Then we looked across the road and saw this:

A row of 10 Cadillacs beckoning in the distance. In between us and them: anywhere from 200 to 300 yards of muddy field that may or may not have contained cow poop, but certainly smelled as if it did. I have to admit, for a split second I was disappointed, thinking that we were going to miss out.  But we are  dedicated artists! I didn’t come 1978 miles to watch my buddies die in the muck… sorry. Went all Lebowski on you there. The point is, I wanted to see some cars, I promised some people graffiti, we were going to go make some graffiti.

You may think from this image that there are just a few puddly places, that to the left and right of the water the ground is dry. You would be very, very wrong. Walking across this was like ice skating in banana pudding – you would slide with every step, but not in a predictable direction. You also had to move quickly or else you would sink. And with every step, your shoes would gain another ounce of gooey, sticky mud. And we were carrying a gallon of wheat paste, assorted spray cans, a huge cardboard tube with the paper rolled up inside, and a brand new, pretty expensive digital camera, all of which we wanted to keep clean and mud-free.

Quickly we learned that short steps and a rapid pace were the way to go, and after much cursing and a lot of laughing we made it to our destination. JJ began to prep the wheat paste, and I unrolled the paper to ready it for application. And did not take into account the 20-25 mph wind. You know, the wind that had been blowing on us for the 10 minutes it took to traverse the sea of mud. The wind which immediately ripped the graffiti from my hand and rolled it like a tumbleweed across the muddy field.

So, what I’m saying is – the “massive graffiti tag on Cadillac Ranch” did not quite turn out as I planned. As promised, here is a photo with everyone’s name near the cars. It’s kind of an “arty” shot:

Despite the frustration of  not getting the tag done, I haven’t  laughed that much in a long time and I know our visit to Cadillac Ranch is one we won’t soon forget. Our shoes will never be the same, though I’m surprised we didn’t get much dirtier.

I’m going to let the mud dry and preserve the shoes as a souvenir. They’ll probably be displayed on a pedestal next to a painting of Cadillac Ranch.

JJ, however, had the bright idea to wash his shoes off in the hotel bath tub. This did not go well. This photo is not the vast Amarillo landscape, it is the inside of the bottom of the tub after he was done cleaning his shoes. We’ve cleaned it up the best we can, but the hotel maid is getting a giant tip when we check out tomorrow for the trouble.

Tomorrow we’re up bright and early to photograph the other interesting sights around Amarillo, then heading west for a little side trip to Santa Fe. We’ll be taking a break from driving and staying put there for a couple of days.

Updates tomorrow.


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