14th, 2004 - Cow Bop enters Texas and finds 'big' fun...
Time to make the big westward leg. We got over to Shorty's for some
thick coffee, unlike the dark water we'd been consuming. Not that
we're those CA type snobs who need a low-fat double caf, soy milk
latte at some trendy place, but darn, a good cup does get the day
going in the right direction, don't it? For my birthday, I got PintoPammy
a pinto hat, made especially for her by Shorty, wow, they're right,
it is better to give than receive. She deserves it after singin
a whole evening acoustic, hanging in till the bitter end--those
of you who sing, know what that takes--and she's been dealing with
boys road humor for days on end with hardly a 'gross' or 'fine'
We somehow extracted ourselves fron the warm hospitality of OK
City and were back out on old 66. Out of town a ways we came across
a small town, called Yukon, the home of Garth Brooks, you gotta
come from somewhere don't you? There was a nice mural on a brick
wall of a cattle drive and we'd decided that Cozy Dog needed to
go on his first cattle drive. After all, all he has done is eat
the dern thangs, time to do some of the work other than masticating.
From his pose (pix page) you can tell he wouldn't have been much
Stopped into Barber-Dyson Ford to share our music with our sponsors.
They were impressed by Clementine, and couldn't have been nicer.
Since it had rained yesterday, we didn't need a wash and Clem's
swingin along better than the rest of us. The staff at the dealership
were so nice--they said everybody was either not there or at lunch,
so they just gave us a nice toke and sent us on our merry way,
but not before we posed for a picture (they somehow materialized
for that) and Pammy drooled over the new T-Bird. While giving
is better than receiving, I had to draw the line somewhere.
Passed through many small towns, each one a distinct commnity.
It really exemplified the difference between 66 and the interstate.
On the interstate everything is homogenous and encourages you
to move on, on 66, it celebrates character and individuality,
and in some cases begs you to stop. Taking 66, you feel as if
the voyage itself is the point, and arrival at the final destination
is a mere reward for having made the trip and indulging in spontaneity
and freedom. Arrived at the Route 66 Musuem in Clinton, OK, and
took the short but very well put together tour. The exhibits and
memorabilia were fun and thought provoking. The story of this
road, its history and mythology is why we are doing this, and
why we think of it in terms that are highly personal. Yet, there
has been a nagging element to it that I have carried around like
an unformed shadow. The tourist aspect of the road, and the people
who live off the road's economy has been an integral part of our
experience as well. And as the economy toughens, the competition
heightens and shops and services abound that might not resonate
with my idea of what it should all be about. Now, I'm one of those
guys that is vintage-crazy, generally resists change, and thinks
everything old is better than new (except maybe sushi). So, I
have trouble embracing (or to be honest, tolerating) alot of the
new fangled gimmicks that are out here. Yet, to be fair, here
I am on a computer in the middle of the night with the ability
to foist my pathology on the world in real time...that is, to
anyone who cares to listen (and don't ask me to give up my cell
phone!). Nonetheless, coming to grips with the varied dynamics
of it all has presented challenges.
Our trip is one based on meeting people, sharing music and stories
and asking them to support us and our mission to ensure that music
stays a part of all of our lives, especially kids. In that spirit
we fell into Erick, OK, and the Curiousty Shop where Harley and
Annabelle Russell hold court. They greeted us with a few tunes,
they must have tracked us cause they were set up, tuned and ready
to go the second we hit the door. They bill themselves as The
Mediocre Music Makers, but let me tell you don't let Harley sandbag
you, this guy is a picker in the first degree. They play tunes
for pepole who come in, and the exuberant and eccentric showmanship
is something that catches everyone off guard I'll bet...If you
note in the picture my mouth is agape, this is a stop that shouldn't
be missed. He lives on the kindness of passers-by (much like we
have) and he seems genuinely happy in doing it this way, in Erick,
the home of Roger Miller, and he proclaims it as "The Redneck
Capital of the World" Not having been there long enough,
or having seen anyone else, I can't comment on it with any authority.
We played a few tunes (I wanted to check out a couple of his guitars)
and shared some swing, Cow Bop-style with them. I could have hung
there a lot longer, but the open road called, and we'd promised
each other we'd at least make the Texas line by nightfall.
We cleared the stateline late in the evening, hugging the old
road which is basically a service road to the interstate at this
point. The Texas terrain flattened out (from what I hear, you
can watch you dog run away,...for three days!) We shared the road
with farm machinery , roadrunners, and I think I saw an armadillo,
(I'm glad Pammy didn't, she'd have tried to put thing on one side
of the road or the other. Why did the armadillo crooss the road
anyway?) We ended up at the Big Texan in Amarillo. This place
is not to be believed. It advertises a free 72 oz steak for miles
of billboards before you get there. There is, of course, a catch,
you gotta eat it in 60 minutes along with a bunch of sides or
you gotta pay. If that ain't enough, you gotta do it on a pedestal
while the room watches and eats (or tries to), with a clock ticking
away the seconds. Now I never considered eating a sport, much
less a specatator sport, but then I don't get reality TV either.
The big surprise is that the whole thing didn't even float Cozy
Dog's dish. In all fairness, I should set the stage. The place
is huge, 'everything's big in Texas' and it looks like a huge
brightly colored Disneyland-type version of western town set.
It is packed, I mean to the gills, quite an operation. They have
a wall of fame that lists the most recent winners, their weight,
time, and home town along with any comments they might have. We
decided to share my B'day dinner in a more intimate confines.
We are going to go by the Cadillac Ranch on our way out of town
and look for spots to Cow Bop, (suggestions from all of you are
welcome and OK according to the rules), our funds are finding
new ways of escaping us and Cozy Dog is hungry again, maybe we
should backtrack to the Big Texan, I wonder how the coffee is?
Right now though, he's doing laundry, good dog.
Quote of the day: "Not in my hat you don't" Spoken
by Mike,...don't ask!
to check out pictures from May 14th