May 26, 2019 Sticky

Charly – Route 66 with Charly

Route 66 with Charly is a fantasy trip on Route 66. Using photos from my Route 66 2017 Tour I have created this character, Charly, and added her to my photos.

Route 66 with Charly is a fantasy trip on Route 66. Using photos from my Route 66 2017 Tour I have created this character, Charly, and added her to my photos.

Route 66 with Charly is a fantasy trip on Route 66. Using photos from my Route 66 2017 Tour I have created this character, Charly, and added her to my photos.

June 26th, 2019 – UPDATE

I got a lot of ribbing about Charly looking like a man in drag. (I think that is a sad reflection on society in general.) I decided to work on Charly’s face. I gave her puffier cheeks, freckles, and a rounder head.

Back to Charly…

A few months after doing the 2017 tour I took ill. It started as the flu, but once the flu symptoms left, I was without strength, developing tremors, going cross-eyed, and having difficulty swallowing, breathing and talking. I searched the Internet for my symptoms several times. I kept coming back to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). For this reason I didn’t want to see the doctor. I figured ALS was a death sentence.

May rolled around and my wife convinced me to see the doctor. 48 blood tests, cameras being stuck down my throat, and some very painful EMG tests it was determined I had a disease that mimics ALS. While it isn’t a death sentence like ALS, it isn’t curable either.


To keep my sanity I took up 3D art on my computer. With help, we set up a workstation where I could rest my muscles and use my computer for art.


The other day I incorporated a female character in to one of my Route 66 photos. I liked the result so much I decided to start a fantasy story about taking a road trip with this beautiful girl – Charly. I chose the “y” ending to distinguish her name from the common nickname for Charles.

The name Charly was chosen because she’s somewhat of a Tomboy. She owns her own muscle car and does most of the work on it. When asked if her name is short for Charlotte or Charlene she will tell you it’s not short for anything. Her name is Charly, and that’s all there is to it.


The Trip

The trip is completely made up (well, except for the background photos). I’m not used to writing fiction, so I will apologize in advance. Characters are supposed to have consistency, and I will attempt to stick to their personalities.

Written in the first-person, I will be the narrator as well as Charly’s traveling companion. My relationship with Charly is that of a friend. In spite of her beauty, neither one of us can stand the thought of being romantic. Perhaps Charly sees me of a father-figure, I don’t know. But, I have no desire to have a romantic relationship with someone young enough to be my daughter.

The entries my jump around, but each entry will tell you the day of the trip.

The Art

The Girl

The art is created using various computer programs. Charly is a 3D model I created using various digital assets. In layman’s terms, her chassis was created by one artist, her skin by another, her eyes by another artist, and her hair by another. I took all these pieces and made a “new” character – Charly.

The Car

The car was a purchased digital asset by an artist named Serum at DAZ3d. It reminds me of a mix between a 1960s Pontiac (front) and a Dodge (rear). I’ll just call it a “muscle car”.


If you end up following the story, you can jump to the entries by selecting the category Route 66 with Charly.

October 18, 2019

Albuquerque City – Day 16

Albuquerque City was interesting. It wasn’t quite what I envisioned. Because of its proximity to the mountains and Colorado, I expected more of a western feel. Tucumcari was more of what I expected Albuquerque to be like.

We woke and I went downstairs for breakfast; Charly stayed in her room getting ready for the day. Too often complementary breakfasts lack the protein I want. In this case, I was pleased they had the makings for a breakfast sandwich loaded with ham, egg and sausage.

Albuquerque City breakfast
Albuquerque City Breakfast

Downtown Albuquerque City

After breakfast we headed downtown Albuquerque City. I wanted to see this “Route 66 Bus Stop”. It sounded intriguing.

We finally found it. I was expecting something much older, but either way, it has a cool retro feeling anyway.

Massive Route 66 at Bus Stop - Downtown Albuquerque City.
Massive Route 66 at Bus Stop

The Roarin’ 20’s (now closed, and the sign is gone) made me think…

“Hey, Charly?” I began.

“Yes?” she asked.

“Do you have something that looks like a 1920’s flapper outfit?” I asked.

“Huh? Flapper?” she asked in a confused voice.

“Yes, that’s what they called girls who dressed in a trendy fashion in the 1920’s,” I explained while pulling up a photo on my phone.

“Oh, I get it,” she said, “I have something that might work.

Charly rolled her hair and braided it and wrapped it around her head to make her hair appear shorter, and then disappeared in to the lady’s room at a local fast food joint. She emerged in a pleated skirt and sweater.

“I guess that will do. I don’t think we’re going to get any closer no planning to speak of,” I responded. “You look great.”

A Modern Flapper - Roarin' 20s
A Modern Flapper

As we drove down I-40 in places, we had to watch for decommissioned sections of Route 66. Charly was navigating and had me pull off. Soon, we found ourselves at a dead-end. Not only was it a dead end, there were directional arrows point only in ONE direction – to the dead end.

Getting out of the car, I pointed and said, “I think we should have got on the frontage road back there.”

Charly stood there with a look on her face as if to say, “Yeah, right,” as she rolled her eyes.

Charly slipped back in to the car digging around in behind the seat.

“I’m hot. It’s hot out here in the desert,” she whined.

The next thing I knew it I felt this hot, heavy burden on my shoulders and back.

“What the heck are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m hot and thirsty and I can’t find any water in the car,” she said in an even whinier voice.

I’m Hot

“Gosh, get off my back… literally,” I said.

“How can you stand wearing that jacket in this heat?” she asked.

“It’s actually keeping the heat from hitting my skin. It’s acting like insulation,” I explained.

“You’re nuts,” she said stomping back to the car.

I jumped back in to the car and said, “Let’s go find something cold and wet to drink. There’s a service station just across the road.

Grants New Mexico

We came to the town of Grants. The main attraction here is a Route 66 drive-through sign-shaped structure in a local park. We drove by it the first time, and had to have our GPS tell us where to go. It’s not very noticeable from the road, but we found it.

As I drove through it I heard a scraping sound on my side of the car. I immediately maneuvered the car away from the sign.

Charly jumped out as quickly as I did. I went to survey the damage, and Charly stood there with a look of shock as she said, “You scratched my baby!”

“It’s not bad. I think it is just some paint transfer from this very NARROW opening. I can rub it out and you won’t notice it.

“I’m holding you to that,” she said sternly.

“Hey, I have insurance… I think,” I said as I chuckled to let her know I was only kidding about the ‘I think’ part.

October 1, 2019

Hello Albuquerque – Day 15

Hello Albuquerque and goodbye Tucumcari.

We made one last stop to grab some food before leaving Tucumcari.

“Hey, Charly!” I said, “Since I’m driving, will you go see if they are open? The sign says, ‘Open’, but I don’t see anyone around.”

Hello Albuquerque - Forgot to Turn the Light Off
Forgot to Turn the Light Off

“Sure,” she said as she leaped from the car to go check.

Pulling on the door, it was obviously locked. Charly then placed her face against the glass to get a better look inside.

“Nope,” she yelled back, “Not a soul in sight.”

She hopped back in the car and gave me the look.

“What?” I asked.

“It’s 10:30 in the morning. Do you expect them to be open for lunch already?” She said in a lecturing tone.

“Well, I’m hungry,” I retorted.

As we drove around the building to leave the parking lot, a man in a white white apron was out back throwing something in the trash. At this point I wasn’t willing to stop. My pride had been bruised and I figured I’d drive a little longer before satisfying my urge to eat.

One Last Stop

We made one last stop as we left town. What drew our attention was this cool sculpture paying homage to Route 66.

Tucumcari New Mexico Convention Center - Hello Alburquerque
Tucumcari New Mexico Convention Center

It was pretty quiet and empty, but we did find there’s a small museum inside. We wandered around, bought some drinks and snacks, and had a nice talk with the volunteer working at the desk. (A short, but well worth-it place to stop on Route 66.)

Hello Albuquerque, We Finally Meet

I had never been to New Mexico before which meant I hadn’t been to Albuquerque either. I big monument sat at the entrance to town. We stopped.

Not the Monument, but Next to it
Not the Monument, but Next to it

“Hey, Charly,” I said, “let’s see you immediate that monument with a pose.”

My request didn’t even phase her. She walked over it it, and struck a pose, holding it until I said I got the shot.

Hello Albuquerque New Mexico Monument
Albuquerque New Mexico Monument

Lunch, Check-in and Dinner

We grabbed lunch. Nothing memorable, just some fast food, found our hotel, and then headed to a Route 66 diner for dinner.

Route 66 Tribute Wall
Route 66 Tribute Wall

Wherever you go on Route 66 you’ll find walls and fences decorated with Route 66 memorabilia. Anything to do with travel on Route 66 when it was a U.S. Highway gets thrown on these walls. From hubcaps of era automobiles, to advertisements and logos from businesses along Route 66 adorn walls, fences and buildings.

Does This LIght Make My Hair Look Red?
Does This LIght Make My Hair Look Red?

Before we entered the restaurant, Charly stopped and asked, “Does this light make my hair look red?”

Laughing, I replied, “Your hair IS RED.”

I deserved the sticking out of the tongue that followed.

Tomorrow we’ll see the rest of Albuquerque.

September 23, 2019

Leaving Tucumcari – Day 15

Leaving Tucumcari today. We’re heading west to Albuquerque. I get the impression it is hot here in the summer. I’m glad we’re at the end of the summer and not here in July or August.

Tucumcari has a lot of rundown buildings. It’s sad. It really has some neat Route 66 features. When you see this sort of “rust-belt” you have to ask what are all the factors that turned it in to a rust-belt. Taxes? Business environment/regulations? Lack of traffic? Etc.

Before Leaving Tucumcari

Charly saw this cool steam-powered chopper. (Because this is a fictional story I can create fictional items.)

She looked at me and said, “I’ll be back in a minute.”

An old guy stood close by. He was dressed in brown leathers from his head to his toes, had a long ZZ Top beard and a handlebar mustache. His goggles looked like welding goggles, and his helmet was nothing more than an old leather flight helmet.

Charly returned wearing leathers and began sweet talking the guy. Before I knew it, she hopped on the chopper.

“Does this thing drive like a normal bike?” she asked the guy.

“Sure does,” he said in a gruff voice, and added, “just don’t dump it because it takes a crane to upright it again.”

At this point, I was getting real nervous.

The old guy looked at me and said, “She earned it. Any chick who travels with a get-up like that was born to ride a steam chopper.”

Dirt flew, and gravel too. The sound was that of a Harley crossed with a steam train. It rumbled like a Harley, with the sound of a hiss as steam escaped the cylinder.

I could hear the bike as Charly disappeared from view. While I lost sight of her, I never lost hearing that rumble-hiss-hiss-rumble-hiss-hiss sound.

She soon returned, sweat pouring down her forehead and chest and said, “You should give this a try.”

“No thanks, my bike riding days are over,” I said with a smile.

The old guy chimed in with a tone of disbelief, “You used to ride?”

“Yup,” I replied.

“What did you ride?” he asked.

“A Kawasaki KZ-440LTD2,” I responded.

I could read his mind by the look on his face as if he were thinking, “Oh, a rice rocket guy.”

“The KZ-440LTD2 was one of the first Japanese cruiser style motorcycles to have a belt-drive as well as a bit of a rumble sound,” I said to ease his mind.

“Ah,” was all he said as he took the keys from Charly and said to her, “You have a great day and let me know if you ever decide to go to Sturgis.”

He then winked, and rumble-hiss-hissed down Route 66.

September 16, 2019

Red or Green – Day 14

Red or Green on Day 14. When you order New Mexican food, a question often asked is, "Red or green?"It is a reference to the chili sauce they put on your enchiladas. I personally like them both.

Red or Green on Day 14. When you order New Mexican food, a question often asked is, "Red or green?"It is a reference to the chili sauce they put on your enchiladas. I personally like them both.

Red or Green on Day 14. When you order New Mexican food, a question often asked is, “Red or green?”

It is a reference to the chili sauce they put on your enchiladas. I personally like them both. The green has a smooth hatch chili pepper flavor, and the red has a more robust and smoky flavor.

Glenrio Visitor Center

Our first New Mexico stop was the Glenrio Visitor Center. Charly couldn’t resist putting her feet in the fountain. She said the cool water felt good in that New Mexico dry heat.

Glenrio Visitor Center - Red or Green
Glenrio Visitor Center

It’s about the first thing you come to on I-40. It’s on the same exit you take to get back on the drivable part of Route 66 on the New Mexico side of the New Mexico/Texas border.

Visitor Center in Relation to Route 66 - red or green
Visitor Center in Relation to Route 66

New Mexico is a state with lots of Native American history and resources.

Red or Green or Cars

In Tucumcari, New Mexico, there’s a darling motel where you can park your car in a garage. The inside of the garages are painted with various themes. Of course, Pixar’s Cars is one of those themes.

Pixar Cars Theme Garage
Pixar Cars Theme Garage

“Oh, Brent,” Charly sighed with that tone that she wants something, “Look, it is Flo and  Lightning McQueen .”

“Okay, go stand in there and I’ll get your picture,” I said knowing she wouldn’t take no for an answer.

I stepped back to make sure I got Mater too. In my opinion, Tow Mater is the most adorable character in the movie. Lightening, on the other hand is a bit adolescent in his character.

I found this on Wikipedia, “He’s the new rookie, he’s kinda sexy, he’s fast, he’s different. So he’s invented. We took the best of our favourite things, from GT40s to Chargers… just sketching them out, we came up with what McQueen looks like.”— Bob Pauley, one of two Cars production designers

Until I read this, I always thought LIghtening was based of a Mazda MX5 (the Miata). I still think he looks more like a Miata than a GT40 or a Charger.

An End to a Red or Green Day

We started the day in the dark, and we’ll end it in the dark. After a dip in the hotel pool and a nice red or green (I had both) dinner, we went back to the Blue Swallow Motel for a shot of the Model A pickup and Charly.

Blue Swallow Motel Route 66 Tucumcari
Blue Swallow Motel

August 30, 2019

New Mexico – Day 14

New Mexico is our destination this day. We’re heading to Tucumcari, New Mexico. Neither of us have been to New Mexico before. Today will be a first.

Charly got tired of her jeans and tank top and changed in to a dress. My first impression was, “TRASH THE DRESS”. Trash the dress was something I did a few times in my photography studio. You take a nice dress and then you go wild and turn it in to a piece of art.

“That’s a nice dress,” I complimented her before asking her to do what I was thinking.

“Thank you,” she said with a smile.

“I’d really love to trash it,” I said with a straight face.

“Ha, ha,” she said, “I bet you thought you had me. I’ve seen what you do with your trash the dress shoots. I’m down with that.”

“So, does that mean you WANT to trash it?” I asked.

“Of course,” her voice raised in tone and pitch, “I’ve always wanted to do that.”

“Okay, next stop,” I said.

MidPoint Route 66

We stopped at MidPoint which is Adrian, Texas. We met “Flo”, the lady who is the inspiration for Pixar’s Cars character. However, it wasn’t long before Charly started asking when we were going to trash the dress.

“Hold your horses,” I said.

She asked, “Why are we waiting?”

“We need to find a place suitable for painting. We just can’t pull out paints and start painting in the middle of town,” I explained.

I did a 360 looking around town for a suitable place.

“Hey,” I asked the lady at the cafe, “do you think anyone would mind if we did a little art project over by that abandoned garage?”

MidPoint Cafe Where the REAL Flo Worked - New Mexico Day 14
MidPoint Cafe Where the REAL Flo Worked

She looked at me suspiciously, and before she could say anything I added, “We’re going to paint on her dress. We’ll do it off to the side and we won’t get paint on anything except her dress and perhaps some might drip in the dirt.”

The lady, still looking suspicious, said, “I’ll check with the owner.”

She came back and said the owner said it would be okay as long as we don’t disturb anything.

I asked Charly to take a walk from New Mexico to Texas for the before photo. (Hmmmm… maybe I have this backwards… ah, just assume were going West to East.)

Let's Trash This Dress!
Let’s Trash This Dress!

It was now off to the dirt area by the garage to “trash the dress”. Before I knew it Charly was handing me the dress while draped in a towel.

“What in the world are you doing?” I asked, and then added, “I’m sure they would have let you use the bathroom in the diner to change.”

She just shrugged and said, “It’s no big deal. If I moved this towel…”

I stopped her there, but she continued, “… it would look like I have a bikini on.”

Getting Ready to Trash the Dress
Getting Ready to Trash the Dress

“You just stay hidden while I trash this dress. Didn’t you bring something else to change in to?” I asked.

“No, this will be okay,” Charly said, “it’s only for a couple of minutes.”

“A couple of minutes? For me to create a masterpiece dress? And, the paint has to dry too,” I explained.

“Oh… I didn’t know it had to dry too,” Charly said in a low tone, “I think I’ll go put my other dress on.”

Charly made her way over to the car, which wasn’t far. She changed in to another dress in the car and then went in to the cafe to wait for the paint to dry.

Meanwhile While Not in New Mexico

“What can I help you with,” the waitress asked Charly.

“Just a Coke,” she said, “I’m waiting for the paint to dry.”

The waitress gave her a glare and raised her eyebrows, “That’s a first.”

Meanwhile outside I was busy painting. I pulled out some big paint markers and started on the dress alternating with spray paint and markers.

As soon as I was done, I went in to the cafe, “Hey, it’s done, and with that dry heat it shouldn’t take long for it to dry.”

The Final Product - the Trashed Dress
The Final Product – the Trashed Dress

“Okay, change in to something else,” I said, “We don’t want to risk getting paint on the interior of your car. We got our pictures.”

Hello New Mexico

Shortly after entering New Mexico we found a yard full of old cars. The owner gave us permission to wander around and take some photos.

“Brent,” Charly yells, “Does this car clash with my dress?”

“Yeah, a little,” I said laughing.

Does This Car Clash with My Dress? - New Mexico
Does This Car Clash with My Dress?

“Hey, Brent,” Charly, like a kid in a toy store, yells, “Help me push this car over.”


I was more worried about it falling back on her. I ran over to make sure things were safe.

“Gosh,” she exclaimed, “You are a worry-wart.”

“The last thing I want is for one of us to spend time in a hospital,” I said with concern.

August 23, 2019

Cadillac Ranch Rocks – Day 14

Cadillac Ranch Rocks! I could visit this place often. I’ve seen so many photos and read so much about this place, and NOW I get to visit it. I’m well prepared for the visit.

Before leaving on this trip I made a stencil that says, “WWW.ROUTE66PHOTOGRAPHERS.COM“, and packed it in a bag with some masking tape. The other day, I stopped at Home Depot and bought a few cans of spray paint – black, white, and blue to match the logo my daughter designed.

Up Early to See How Cadillac Ranch Rocks at Sunrise

After looking up the time for Sunrise, I sent Charly a text:


In return she replies:


My reply was simply:


She wasn’t happy when I knocked on her door at 5:25AM and announced it was time to go. But, we were in the car and on the road by 5:45AM which is the best I could hope for.

Driving Past It

We drove past it. I knew that when we got to a landmark that was beyond Cadillac Ranch. A quick U-Turn and we were headed back towards Amarillo. I stopped just short of what the GPS said should be Cadillac Ranch.

“Can you see where it might be?” I asked Charly.

“Uh, no. It’s OH-DARK-HUNDRED and I can’t see anything out here,” she said sarcastically.

“You’d there there’d be a sign or something,” I said while scratching my head.

“You’d think,” Charly said dully.

“Well, LOOK around. We’ve got to be close,” I demanded.

A little behind the car was a cattle gate. I stopped the car, got out, and walked towards the gate with flashlight in hand.

At the gate was a hand painted sign that read, “Got Paint?”

“Hey, this must be it!” I yelled back towards the car, but got no response.

Walking back to the car I rapped on the passenger window, “Hey, I think this is it.”

Charly got out of the car and simply glared at me.

“Here carry this,” I said giving her a bag of stuff to carry, “and this,” as I gave her a second bag.

“I’ll never be your beast of burden,
“I’ve walked for miles my feet are hurting,” Charly starts to sing.

“You sing the next line and you’ll be walking a lot further,” I said.

“Oh, yeah… I just remember what the next line says. Nevermind,” Charly embarrassed said.

“I’m surprised you even know those lyrics. That was before you were even born,” I said happy that she stopped. That would have been really awkward.

Reaching the Cars

Once the cars were in sight, I asked Charly to stand by the cars while I set up a few strobe lights.

A Flash in the Dark - Cadillac Ranch Rocks
A Flash in the Dark

The eastern sky was just starting to lighten. Charly took my flashlight, and did what every child does when they get their hands on a flashlight…

Ghoulish Flashlight Trick
Ghoulish Flashlight Trick

I must have shot a couple hundred frames. I was having fun, but the real purpose was to leave my mark, however, it was too dark to tag a car. Plus, it had rained and the cars were wet.

Once the sky lightened (I can’t say the sun came up, because it got cloudy quickly), I found a car to tag. As soon as the paint hit the car, the dew caused it to bead up and roll off.

“Dang,” I said, “it’s too wet!”

Charly took off running down the road.

“What the heck,” I thought, “It’s a good thing I have the car keys. Oh, crap… what if she has a hide-a-key. … No, I would know if she did.”

She returned a few minutes later with an entire roll of paper towels and started wiping off the car.

“Okay, I take back every bad thing I’ve ever said about you,” I said to her.

“There!” she announced, “Now try painting.”

My Tag Left at Cadillac Ranch
My Tag Left at Cadillac Ranch (Cadillac Ranch ROCKS!)

Charly didn’t act impressed, but I think it is pretty cool.

Back to the Car

The walk back to the car made me think how glad I was we got there before sunrise. Lots of people were heading to see the interesting artwork in the Texas plains.

Walking Back to the Car
Walking Back to the Car

We reached the gate and I shot one last picture of Charly before we headed west.

Charly Points Out the Not-so-Obvious
Charly Points Out the Not-so-Obvious

I pulled out my Route 66 sign and Charly pointed out, “Hey, it kind of looks like those Cadillacs back there, only you need more of them and they need to be turned sideways.”

Laughing I replied, “But then it wouldn’t be ’66’, it would be ‘666666666666’.”

August 23, 2019

A Day of Rest – Day 13

A day of rest is needed. What does 7 days without a day of rest do to you? It makes one weak. (That’s an old Sunday School joke.) It’s time to take some time and rest, go to church and spend the day kicking back. People of lost sight of why it is important to take one day a week and rest for your labors (or in Charly‘s and my case, our play).

Heading Downstairs for Breakfast on a Day of Rest

I knocked on Charly’s door and asked if she was going downstairs for breakfast. We entered the elevator and Charly immediately began to push every floor button.

“What are you doing?” I asked with some irritation in my voice.

“Pushing all the buttons so it will stop on every floor,” she replied as if I hadn’t seen what she was doing.

“I see that,” I said, “Now we have to wait for the elevator to stop at each floor.”

About then, every light on the elevator control panel turned off and the door opened again.

“What the… ” Charly said in confusion.

Again, she punched every button. The door closed, and then the lights all turned off, and the door opened again.

“Ugh,” she grunted.

After pushing every button, the same thing happened. The door closed, the lights all turned off, and the door opened.

I started laughing.

“What so funny?” Charly snapped.

“This elevator has met your kind before,” I smugly said, “Whomever programmed it knew your kind and set it up so you can’t push all the buttons.”

“We’ll see,” she said as she pushed them all again.

Same thing happened.

“UHG!” she said as though this was inconveniencing here.

This time she only pushed 3 of the 4 floors. The doors shut, and the elevator continued down to the lobby only making 1 stop. The 4th floor button then reset as we boarded on the 3rd floor.

“Pretty smart elevator,” I smiled, “if you ask me.”

Pushing All the Buttons - A Day of Rest
Pushing All the Buttons

Stepping Out

After breakfast, we stepped out and went to a local church. On the way home, we had to stop at lot with an old truck.

“Hey, have you ever noticed old cars look like the have faces,” Charly asked. “Like on Cars.”

“Often,” I answered. “Go stand over there and make a face like that old truck and I’ll snap your picture.”

Charly Imitating an Old Truck - Click to read article at the Smithsonian.
Charly Imitating an Old Truck

Finding a Place for Dinner on a Day of Rest

Normally, I wouldn’t go to a restaurant on the Day of Rest. Travel is an exception except when staying with family. I take Exodus 20:10 seriously when it says we shouldn’t make other people work either. At times I feel almost apologetic and want to tell the people at the restaurant, “I’m sorry for making you work on the Sabbath.”

“We’re in Texas. Let’s see if we can find some Tex Mex,” I said to Charly.

“Tex Mex?” she asked.

“Texas Mexican food,” I said thinking it makes sense to me.

“I didn’t know there was a difference,” she said.

“Even in Mexico, Mexican food is different wherever you go. Mexican food in the U.S.A. varies by region – California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas… they all have their style of preparing Mexican food,” I assured her. “Google it.”

“I believe you,” she said.

“No, ask your phone where the nearest Tex Mex restaurant is,” I said while recognizing my ambiguity.

Tex Mex

Charly found a place and talked me through the turns. We entered in and it was very reminiscent of a Mexican restaurant.

“Good choice, Charly,” I assured her.

Waiting for Some Tex Mex
Waiting for Some Tex Mex

Charly looked like a lovely senorita with her peasant top and pulled back hair. I swung around to the neighboring booth and snapped a shot.

For a Sunday night, the place wasn’t very crowded. However, I am glad we had a place to eat.

My Dinner
My Dinner

Did You Know???

Did you know many of the photos in these blog entries have links to related sites and information?

That’s right!

When you hover over a photo, it your cursor changes to show it is a link, click on it to learn more about that topic.

August 20, 2019

Lone Star State – Day 12

Lone Star State, as people call it, is a wonderful place to visit. They once attempted to secede from the Union, but they hold strong to the ideals of being a sovereign state (as all states in the United States should) and that the Federal Government should not trample the rights of the state as long as the state holds fast to the U.S. Constitution. This makes its citizens proud to be part of such a strong state.

Lone Star State, as people call it, is a wonderful place to visit. They once attempted to secede from the Union, but they hold strong to the ideals of being a sovereign state (as all states in the United States should) and that the Federal Government should not trample the rights of the state as long as the state holds fast to the U.S. Constitution. This makes its citizens proud to be part of such a strong state.

Lone Star State, as people call it, is a wonderful place to visit. They once attempted to secede from the Union, but they hold strong to the ideals of being a sovereign state (as all states in the United States should) and that the Federal Government should not trample the rights of the state as long as the state holds fast to the U.S. Constitution. This makes its citizens proud to be part of such a strong state.

Charly and I first noticed this with the theme of one star wherever we would go. You see this on belt buckles, shirts, hats and decor. Yes, Texans are proud to be Texans.

Lone Star State Theme on Route 66 Motel
Lone Star State Theme on Route 66 Motel

“Oh, Brent,” Charly said with excitement, “look at that patriotic motel.”

I spun my head around and saw that Lone Star State them decorating a motel’s exterior.

“Now, that is Texan,” I exclaimed.

“It’s American too,” Charly said.

“Yes, but they call Texas the Lone Star State for a reason,” I said as I began an explanation of how Texas once threatened to leave the United States in defence of their sovereignty.

Surprisingly, Charly listened and was interested.

“That’s really interesting. Can we stop?” She asked, and immediately followed it with, “Can we spend the night here?”

Charly jumped out of the car and ran to a door. I surveyed our surroundings.

“Charly, I think they are closed for the season. There’s not a car or soul in sight,” I pointed out.

“Oh, bummer. It’s so cute,” she said.

I convinced her we should move on.


I almost forgot to mention…

Earlier before we reached Texas, Charly wanted me to stop. She got in the car and asked me to take a photo of the long road in front of us.

“screeeeeeech,” was the sound from the tires.

“What the… ” I yelled.

Charly put her hand out the window and waved.

Carly Burning Rubber
Carly Burning Rubber

She burned out heading down this lonesome stretch of Route 66 leaving me coughing in the dense tire smoke.

Soon I saw brake lights, and she waved for me to catch up. With my camera gear, I jogged towards the car. It seemed like a mile.

“Okay, that was uncalled for,” I yelled.

“Come on old man,” she yelled back.

I jumped in the car and before I got the door closed she was off again.

We crossed over I-40 and were on a stretch of Route 66 on the other side.

“Hey, I want to get a shot of Old Route 66 and I-40. Pull over,” I said excitedly.

Catching Air
Catching Air

As soon as I got out of the car and shut the door, Charly was burning rubber again. This time, catching air as she headed down Route 66.

“DANG YOU!” I yelled shaking my camera in the air.

Again, she stopped, but this time she put the car in reverse and backed up to where I was standing.

“YOU TURKEY,” I shouted, “My turn to drive.”

Charly laughed and said, “It’s my car.”

“Yeah, but if you get it impounded I’m not bailing it out,” I said, “or you for that matter.”

“You wouldn’t leave me in jail,” she said confidently.

“Wanna try me?” I glared at her.

She ran around to the passenger side and said, “Okay, you can drive.”

That was our excitement for the day.

Dinner and a Free Steak in the Lone Star State

There’s a place on Route 66 in Amarillo where if you eat a 72 ounce steak within their time limits it is FREE. We caught a complimentary limo from our hotel to the restaurant. (Note: I would like to their website and mention their name, but when I attempted to go to their website Norton Security produced a warning that the site was not safe and a threat to my network security.)

Waiting for our Table
Waiting for our Table

Charly wore the same dress again.

“Didn’t you wear that last night?” I asked.

“Yes, but that wasn’t a fancy place. This is a steak place, it’s fancy,” she said.

I started to laugh and replied, “You don’t know Texas, do you? I bet if I wore a tie they’d cut it off.”

We enjoyed a great steak, but neither one of us went for the 72 ouncer.

August 14, 2019

Texas Panhandle – Day 12

Texas Panhandle was someplace I always wanted to visit. It’s just a small portion of Route 66, but like Texas, everything is BIG. Top of my list is Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo, Texas.

Charly?” I asked, “Why are you wearing the same dress as yesterday?”

I’m thinking it is a cardinal sin for a woman to wear the same dress 2 days in a row.

“I didn’t wear it very long, and I am running low on clean everyday clothes,” she informs me.

“Everyday clothes? What are ALL those suitcases in the back of the car?” I ask trying to clarify my confusion.

“Oh, that’s wardrobe for photo shoots,” she tells me.

“So, your wardrobe, as you put it, isn’t everyday clothes?” I ask trying to understand.

“No,” she said in a tone as if I were completely out-of-touch.

Leaving Oklahoma and Entering the Texas Panhandle

It wasn’t long before we came across Slug Bug Ranch. This was unexpected for me. I knew about Cadillac Ranch, but Slug Bug Ranch?

A few VW Beetles half buried with graffiti beconned us to stop. An old abandoned structure nearby was home to vandalism and who-knows-what-else. At first I felt a little uncomfortable, but soon other tourists arrived creating more of a safe atmosphere.

“Charly,” I began, “why don’t you put on some of that wardrobe, as you call it, and we’ll take some fun shots amidst this trash.”

Had I been asked to do that I would have said, “No way.” I normally don’t ask someone to do something I wouldn’t do myself, but I’m a 60-something man with a potbelly and I’d be afraid I’d trip on some of this garbage.

Before long Charly came back from the car with a slinky outfit.

“Seriously? You’re going to walk through here barefoot in that?” I said with my eyes bulging out of my skull.

“Yeah, why not?” Charly retorted, and added, “I’ll watch for broken glass.”

It wasn’t the broken glass I was worried about. It was EVERYTHING ELSE.

Charly's First Outfit - Texas Panhandle
Charly’s First Outfit

After snapping the first frame, I realized this portion isn’t as dirty as I initially thought. Charly’s elegance amidst the graffiti created a dichotomy in the image, and once seeing that, I was ready to shoot more.

“What else do you have that isn’t everyday clothes?” I asked hoping for a wardrobe change.

Charly soon returned wearing a poet’s shirt… okay, she called it a “dress”, but I’ve seen shirts that cover more of the legs.

Charly's Poet Shirt - Texas Panhandle
Charly’s Poet Shirt

Having Fun at Slug Bug Ranch

We were having fun at slug bug ranch in the Texas Panhandle. I would get the shot I like and then Charly would be off changing in to another outfit. I often dreamed of being a famous fashion photographer taking photos of models in unsuspecting places. Couple this with driving Route 66 and I felt like I was on top of the world.

Slug Bug Ranch is a takeoff from Cadillac Ranch. One being east of Amarillo, the other being west of the city. Graffiti is encouraged at both locations. (Vandalism, however is NOT.) If you do visit, bring a couple of cans of spray paint to leave your mark. However, be warned, your mark will only last until someone paints over it with their mark.

So, bring a camera to photograph your artwork.

Charly Dancing - Texas Panhandle
Charly Dancing

I just kept the camera in one place for a while, and Charly would perform as if it were her stage. Other tourist looked on, taking pictures with their phones and selfies with Charly and me in the background.

Charly Getting Silly - Texas Panhandle
Charly Getting Silly

Soon Charly started getting silly, and I figured that was the sign that she’s getting bored. For the life of me, I fail to understand older men who fall for younger women. They are children, for Pete’s sake… in spite of being the age of majority. In any event, her silliness was enough to make me want a change too.

“Hey, Charly,” I yelled to her and pointed to another location, “let’s move over there.”

That's Just Plain Silly - Texas Panhandle
That’s Just Plain Silly

Charly held her pose and stuck out her tongue to which I said, “Now, that’s just plain silly.”

She giggled and informed me her lip gloss was strawberry flavored.

Let the Fun Begin

Charly returned as I was setting up for the next spot. This time, she looked like some sort of SciFi vigilante.

“Now, that is a cool outfit,” I remarked, “I’d call that everyday clothes.”

We both laughed and Charly entered this trashed room.

“Show me what you’ve got,” I said unsure of how to suggest she pose.

Before I knew it her foot was in the air and leg stretched out in a manner that would leave me crippled for life.

“Do that again,” I said because I wasn’t ready for the shot.

Action Hero Charly - Texas Panhandle
Action Hero Charly

Seeing the room already in disarray, I suggested she act like she just kicked over a three tiered table.

Take THAT! - Texas Panhandle
Take THAT!

“Take THAT,” she yelled as she went in to a fighting pose.

That Was Fun

That was a fun start to our Texas Panhandle portion of Route 66. We’re ready to move on. We’ll still be in the Texas Panhandle, just not at Slug Bug Ranch. We’re finished here.

Slug Bug Ranch – Texas Panhandle


It is important to note to the readers that we did NOT enter these locations except where it was obvious the property owners allow access. Thus, no fences were climbed, we did not go around any barricades, and we obeyed all visible no trespassing signs. These images with Charly are COMPUTER ART using photos taken from legal vantage points as the background.

We do NOT condone trespassing or vandalism. This is strictly a fictional story. Or, to put it another way, “Don’t try this on Route 66 — or at home.”

August 14, 2019

Lunch and Dinner – Day 11

Lunch and dinner are always fun adventures on Route 66. Someone recently asked me, “Is there any healthy food options on Route 66?”


Fast food is what a road trip is all about. While breakfast is usually a complimentary breakfast at the hotel or motel, lunch and dinner are an adventure.


A picnic is a good way to relax and eat on your own schedule. Another bridge, another grassy area under the shade of a tree, and some snacks picked up earlier in the day create a nice way to have lunch without wondering when you’ll find a restaurant.

After eating Charly parked herself under the shade of a tree while I wandered around getting photos.

Another Picnic on Route 66 - Lunch and Dinner
Another Picnic on Route 66

The long bridge in the background is amazing. One truss after another on this bridge.

Back on the Road

I wish I had time to stop at every landmark. A month isn’t long enough. One could take an entire year driving Route 66.

“BRENT!” Charly shouts, “I want to get my cowboy hat.”

“Where is this coming from?” I asked before seeing the Western Motel sign.

We stopped and Charly struck a pose.

Western Motel
Western Motel

Lunch and Dinner Coming

We had a nice picnic lunch and dinner is coming. We decided to check in to our hotel first, and then find somewhere to eat. It’s always a risky thing because you don’t know what is open and what is nearby.

After making a lot of stops for taking pictures, we finally arrived at our hotel in Elk City, Oklahoma. The place was old, but the new owners were in the process of fixing it up. They had it very clean.

I checked in and washed up in preparation for going to dinner. I came out of my room and there was Charly.

Are We Going to Dinner?
Are We Going to Dinner?

“Are we going to dinner?” Charly asks.

She was dressed in a slinky dress as if she was waiting for a hot date. My first thought was, ‘She’s going to be disappointed because it is only me.’

“We?” I asked while spinning around on my heels. “I’m looking for your date.”

Charly giggled and added, “I just felt like getting dressed up.”

“Grab your shoes and we’ll find a place. Should I change? I feel a little underdressed,” I said.

We headed to the lobby where I asked about a place to go eat. I was told the nearest place open at this hour was the attached diner.

“Okay with going to the diner next door?” I asked.

“Sure,” Charly said with a smile.

“Do you want to change? You might be a little over dressed for these… these… locals,” I said.

“No, I’m fine,” she said.

“Are you sure?” I asked, and then added, “There’s going to think I’m some kind of dirty-old-man.”

Laughing, Charly says, “That’s the whole point.”

“Okay, but at least grab a sweater or shawl,” I said.

Charly disappeared in to her room and emerged with a silk shawl, and we headed to the diner. I still felt underdressed, but people will probably be looking at Charly, and not me.