I have to put a disclaimer here: I am writing this post on my last bloggable adventure while in the midst of another one: I am currently twenty-two stories above downtown Chicago because the makers of “Chicago Fire” are currently re-painting and re-furnishing my apartment in order to film some sort of televisual mayhem there for upcoming broadcast.
I therefore have none of the aides memoire that I normally have on hand to render my adventures with the accuracy and vividness to which I pretend to myself that you, my loyal readers, have become accustomed.
In any case – after enjoying the hospitality of a very understanding friend in Albuquerque, my increasingly hirsute and malodorous friends piled once more into the Civic and we continued our journey East.
Our major stop for the day was a ghost town called Glenrio, which straddles the New Mexico/Texas state line. The town’s fortunes (and geography) shifted according to the transportation means of the day – the Ozarks Trail, the railway, and finally Route 66 – all of which finally ran through town. The construction of the Interstate drained all of the traffic away from its motels and gas stations.
The old Route 66 at this point is not paved (if it ever was) and is now essentially a utility road for the local farmers. In February, it was a dusty line cutting through desolate fields, a playground for tumbleweeds.
Needless to say, within five minutes of pulling onto the road, the car’s low-fuel light came on, because one should run out of gas when one is visiting a ghost town in the middle of nowhere, when no-one knows where you are.
|The "album cover" shot.|
We stopped at a ghost-motel at the outskirts of the ghost motel, the only inhabitant of which was, on the evidence, a ghost-dog that was furiously barking at us but which we never actually laid eyes on. Mind you, it did sound like it was some distance away, but I blame that veil separating us from the Other Side distorting the sound. Or the dog was at the farmhouse further back on the road.
As fascinating and evocative a ghost towns are in the imagination, in reality they’re frightening largely because they are minefields of broken glass, ragged bits of rusted metal, and floorboards of uncertain solidity screening basements hosting wildlife of unknown temperament.
|Jon goes over the top.|
Readers might scoff at my timidity, but the Route 66 guidebook we were relying on had specifically referenced the feral dogs that were the sole remaining inhabitants of Glenrio. Of the many souvenirs I hoped to pick up on this journey, rabies was not among them (neither was tetanus, which means I probably shouldn’t have cut myself scaling the barbed wire fence the feral dogs had erected to protect their ghost-motel).
NEXT! A combination alligator pond/children’s swimming hole!
Addendum: I am leaving out the Oklahoma City bombing memorial, my temper tantrum and the ensuing arm-wrestling match, the best burgers we had on the route, and all of Texas. I only have so much space.