Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Day 18. Veronica's alarm goes off at 6:30am. The to-do list is long even though today's ride is short. Breakfast at a little cafe in Vega; the locals are surprised to see us fill up the place. The pancakes are Texas-sized; they fill up a whole plate. We make lots of jokes when Gerd, who is physically the thinnest, orders two. The jokes run toward the 72 oz. steak contest at the Big Texan.

At the motel this morning Veronica discovers a flat and so does Susan R. No rest for the flat-fixers! At least there's not much risk of being left behind. We mosey on down the road, wind still at our backs. Maybe we are sorry to see the trip end. Or maybe the legs need a rest day... after 18 straight days of riding.

The van parks at Cadillac Ranch. We're expected to stop, we have to stop, but if I were by myself I would just ride on. Sometimes it feels like too much structure, to be directed to look at something. Like we're on a tour bus, but have to pedal. Worst of both worlds, right?

Cadillac Ranch turns out to be one of the coolest places we've seen. Cars stuck at an angle in a field. The paint looks recent. Paint cans are lying around. Are we meant to use the paint on the cars? We can do that!
Elaine works on her graffiti skills.
Thea hands me a paint can. I don't know what to paint. Then, it comes to me: route66ajourney. Paint that. Unfortunately I'm better with a bike than a paint can. You just have to trust that's what's written in white on that there Cadillac.

It's a fast roll into Amarillo. Did you know Amarillo was a hip town? That was another one of today's discoveries. There seems to be some kind of urban renewal going on, some of it focused on Route 66. For example, 6th Street has some cool antique shops. The kind where you might find something, not the tourist kind.
It's time to pay a visit to a local artisan, one agent of renewal. Krystal of ReMain Designs has invited Thea, Susan R. and me to tour her new studio downtown. It's only a half a block off Route 66. We spend a fascinating hour talking with her. One of the things we hear about is how artists and other folks in Amarillo are working to create a vibrant, creative urban environment. 

Krystal creates useful items out of old bike parts and other discarded bits of metal. Her ethic is to use what's here and available, rather than throwing away and buying new. To me this feels similar to what brain injury survivors have to do in order to redesign their lives. Will post more on this visit soon. Until then, these photos give a feeling for her work. 

It's been a powerful, exhausting day. We're here at the Big Texan with zero miles to ride. No more hills, no more tailwinds or headwinds. It's all done. The Waterford is in a box. People are flying home. 

Thanks for following the ride! Check back for more posts about the trip and recovery from brain injury. I'm going to go brush my teeth, wake up tomorrow and try to get all this stuff back to California. 

The journey is over, the journey goes on...


  1. Looks like you had a lot of fun, Elaine! I enjoyed vicariously re-living RT66 with you this spring. Once your legs are recovered, let's plan a debriefing ride.

    1. You were definitely there in spirit, Jim! I never would have found this ride on my own.

      My legs...let's just say they've been recovered since Holbrook. Thanks to one of the other riders, I got a massage in my teepee. As the massage therapist dug her elbow into my quad muscle, all lactic acid headed outta town. Since Holbrook, there's been no soreness, basically. So let me know - I'm ready to ride!

  2. Thank you so much for all the posts along the way - I've really enjoyed reading about your trip.
    That's nifty about the paint! I wonder if they had paint at Bug Ranch, too - it's the same thing, but with the appropriate vehicle buried nose-deep.

  3. Thanks for your comments, Rachel! It's really key to know people are reading. I didn't know about Bug Ranch:
    Apparently it's just like Cadillac Ranch, but the paint cans last longer ;-)
    Who knew there was a Quirky Texas?