Though we’ve been back for a while, I’ll write about most of our trip in present tense. It’s more lively that way. Pretend I was sending back postcards and letters that got lost in the mail and arrive long after we’ve returned home.
“Hey,” I say to my husband as we leave Petrified Forest National Park, “Winslow, Arizona, is just down the road. Can we stop? Please?”
He’s grinning. Of course he’ll stop, especially because I’m giddy. I don’t know why I’m so excited, because I don’t fit the Eagles demographic, but I doggedly search the Internet on my phone for the lyrics to “Take It Easy” and when I find them, I sing the entire song a cappella as we drive to the Winslow exit.
When I finish, my husband says if I’m ever at a gas station and a guy invites me to sing karaoke, I should pick that song.
“It’s not really a song for a girl to sing,” I point out. “The narrator is a guy.” When I suggest that he be the one to stand on the corner, since he’s a guy, he shakes his head. “We can both stand on the corner.” I look up and smile, then turn to my phone again to track down a YouTube rendition of the song. I play it, trying to get the kids interested. They ignore me.
We drive through town in search of the corner, spotting plenty of vintage Route 66 sights.
Someone in Winslow realized potential for drawing tourists into town and created a park on a corner in town. An artist painted a mural that depicts lines from the song and they parked a flat bed Ford curbside.
I peer down streets as we move through intersections, and we finally spot it.
We park a couple of blocks away, so I try to talk the kids into coming but they decline—all but one daughter who agrees to be our photographer. We bound down the street and find the mural and the flat bed truck and a small tour group—several of them wear coordinating shirts and caps that suggest they’re on a Route 66-themed trip. They’re posing for photos.
Our daughter stands on the opposite corner, ready to take our snapshot, but we have to wait. The visitors are taking turns snapping pictures of themselves by the statue and the lamppost. We wait while they wander around studying mural details, taking it all in.
Finally we tell our daughter to go ahead and snap a few, knowing we’ll end up with peopled shots. A quick glance confirms that I am on the young end of giddy tourists.
We wait and eventually it’s just the two of us.
Except for a couple of guys on Harleys who lingered nearby.
We’re trying to make it to the Grand Canyon before sunset, so the three of us run back to the RV.
“Thanks for coming with us to be our photographer,” I tell my daughter as we rush down the sidewalk. “I know this was kind of boring for you.”
“It wasn’t boring. I loved that Route 66 sign on the road,” she replies. “This was a lot more cool than I thought it would be.”
We climb up the steps into the RV and one of the kids who stayed back looks up from the sofa. “Why did we stop here?”
“For a song,” I say. “Just a song.”
Posts about our trip:
Photos by Ann Kroeker.
For about a year, I’ve followed this blogger with interest. His stories and photos inspired some of our planning.