We left the Academy and made our way south through Colorado. Within minutes, it seemed, the mountains disappeared and we were surrounded by a flatness that would stay with us for almost the entirety of the remaining trip.
Throughout the previous days of the trip, I had placed cameras on various spots of the Fusion’s body, grabbing what I felt were unique perspectives for capturing hours of mundane driving. On this day, however, I never did and nothing ever captivated me in such a way to make me pull over and fix it.
As we drove onwards, Alyssa took the opportunity to nap while I began to go through the previous day’s events in my mind, thinking of how best to write it down. By the time I had caught up to the present, the scenery around me reminded me of going through parts of Oklahoma on my trip the year before. A thought presented itself to me: why take new pictures when I could just reuse the ones I already had? The images would’ve been the same, and the existing ones would still be representative of what I was seeing.
A good road trip should have a few key things, not only to make it memorable, but to define it as a road trip instead of simply just a drive. We had already been through inclement weather, had to have the car repaired, and I’d been injured. All that remained was to see something from the famous Route 66. For this trip, it would be Cadillac Ranch, the series of classic Cadillacs that were half-buried in an Amarillo pasture.
We parked along the pasture’s fence line, with a few other vehicles, and walked towards the spray painted gate. We swung open the gate, and walked down a short dirt path to the line of cars. As we approached, I noticed more and more empty spray cans. Some laid on top of the dirt while others were partly buried, an homage to the cars if it weren’t strewn about randomly, but each can was empty.
The cars themselves had been stripped, devoid of doors, seats, and glass. But other things, such as tires and suspension components remained. Axles were even free spinning, without any of the resistance that decades of exposure should’ve caused. At one spot, where the layers of paint had chipped to reveal a surface that resembled the inside of a rainbow gobstopper, I wondered if the hundreds of layers of paint had actually worked to preserve the metal they covered.
We left the ranch and continued on towards our hotel. Compared to our other lodgings that were booked nearly two months in advance, the Ashmore Inn was a last minute booking, the reservation made only a day or so before we left on our trip. Having not put much time or effort into this stop, I didn’t know that we would be checking in during the hotel’s Happy Hour, where each guest could have up to three free alcoholic drinks. We brought our suitcases up to our room, then headed back downstairs for my whiskey colas and her margaritas.
Fortunately, a Cracker Barrel was practically in the hotel’s parking lot allowing us to walk to dinner. Since we were in Texas once more, the southern meal seemed appropriate.