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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Freedom Tour -- Half-faced Selfies Revisited

Well I'm a-standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona...

In Winslow, on historic Route 66, there is a downtown corner dedicated to the line in the iconic Eagles song but it was crawling with visitors when I was there -- a total tourist trap where photo opportunities with a statue plus stores selling tacky souvenirs abound. So in the selfie above I decided to pay my own respects in a more authentic way, simply going a few blocks farther to a less busy corner.

That was the first selfie I took on my Freedom Tour. I decided I wanted it to be more about the location and less about me so I cropped it to show only half of my face, then posted it on Facebook. A ritual was born!

For the selfie below, I walked a good, long way to get from Route 66 outside Amarillo in the Texas panhandle to be close enough to Cadillac Ranch to take this selfie. Over the years visitors stole the tailfins and other car parts and graffitied the caddies, which was perfectly OK with the property owner, an eccentric billionaire. 

I snapped this image from my car to show how far from the road Cadillac Ranch really is:

After visiting with my cousins Cab and Kelly Craig for a day and a night in Edmond, Oklahoma, I got back on Route 66 and, at their recommendation, stopped by Pops in Arcadia. It's part gas station, part diner and part craft soda pop emporium.

I decided on an orange soda for the road. This is just a fraction of the brands of orange soda available at Pops!

I had to leave historic Route 66 to head east instead of following it toward Chicago. In Little Rock, my cousin Cynthia Ragan took me to the William J. Clinton Presidential Center. I took this selfie in front of Bill Clinton's iconic saxophone

In Memphis, Tennessee, I met up with my sister Charlou and our lifelong friend Joanna. Joanna was visiting Charlou in Bella Vista, Arkansas, when they decided to come to Memphis because Joanna had never been to the South before.

We went to the Port of Memphis for a two-hour cruise aboard the Island Queen.

Here she is in all her glory. Many locals call the Hernando de Soto Bridge in the background the Dolly Parton Bridge. I can't imagine why!

Two days later, when Charlou and Joanna returned to Arkansas, I headed over to Graceland with the goal of visiting SiriusXM's Elvis Radio and meeting one of the DJs, Big Jim Sykes. Jim has been one of my warriors during my adventures in breast cancer. This may seem unlikely to many -- a radio DJ in Tennessee, whom I had never met, cheering me on throughout my battle -- but Facebook sometimes brings people together in unlikely ways.

It was just wonderful to finally meet him, and he gave me the biggest hug and warmest welcome! By the way, his wife is a breast cancer survivor, God bless her.
In Nashville I visited the Grand Ole Opry and took a fun backstage tour.

Near Hodgenville, Kentucky, I visited the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. That memorial in the background was constructed long before the one in Washington, D.C. I included my visit in this blog post.

The massive Kentucky Floral Clock is a public art installation in Frankfort, Kentucky.

A few miles outside of Frankfort, I came across the historic Switzer Covered Bridge that spans the north fork of Elkhorn Creek. It was built in 1855 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

With so many baseball fans among family and friends, I had to stop by the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum when I was Louisville, Kentucky
Each of the regulation bats begins with a piece of Northern White Ash grown in proprietary forests on the New York/Pennsylvania border.

The windiest day of my Freedom Tour by far was in St. Louis, Missouri, but I got the money shot anyway -- windswept hair and all!

I went south to Bella Vista, Arkansas, in the spectacular Ozark Mountains for a visit with my sister Charlou and her husband Bill. It was great to get together with my cousins Bonnie Sutton, Judy Galloway and Judy's husband Ken as well. I shot this selfie from the upstairs deck at Charlou's house, which is on beautiful Lake Avalon

In South Dakota I stopped in Sturgis. The annual motorcycle rally isn't until next month so there wasn't much going on but at least I can say I was there.

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota is quite dramatic and was an emotional experience.

On the way down the mountain I came across George Washington's profile.

Along a lonesome two-lane highway in Wyoming I saw a sign for Devil's Tower and couldn't possibly pass up the 20-mile side trip. I didn't have any close encounters of the third kind, though.

The Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad were joined in an engineering feat in 1869 at Promontory Summit in what was then the Utah Territory, completing the final link of the Transcontinental Railroad. My visit to the Golden Spike National Historic Site was another long side trip that was well worth the drive. 


The Great Salt Lake near Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah, is the largest salt lake in the western hemisphere. That's not shoreline you see in the background; it's an island. The lake spans nearly 2,000 square miles. 


In Ely, Nevada, my namesake restaurant, lounge and casino is for sale. It's still open for business, though.

If I ever need to supplement my retirement income, there may be a job available at this brothel in Amargosa Valley, Nevada, not far from Area 51.

My last selfie: Death Valley, which was not exactly teeming with tourists in the middle of July!


I loved my Freedom Tour!

1 comment:

  1. I loved your tour, too, and I enjoyed seeing your selfies come up on Facebook. A great traveling tradition.

    ReplyDelete