Route 66………….#95 (the 60’s)

The well traveled road west

The well-traveled road west

The 1953 Ford with its consignment, Glenn, Jerry and Gary all packaged for delivery,  traveling west from Lawton Oklahoma on Highway #62,  the musicians first stop Amarillo.  Coming into view were the statures silo’s and scattered high-rise building silhouetted against the horizon,  providing a preview to a building performance by the budding West Texas town. A detour was enhanced,  negotiating southwest on Highway #60,  the venturing trio befalling the heritage cow-towns of Hereford,  Bovina,  Texico,  their destination,  Clovis New Mexico and an overnight visit for Glenn to illuminate prospective scenarios for his expectant wife June and himself.

The early morning establishing a Clovis departure,  the Ford providing  passage west on highway  60,  then northwest on 84,  discovering its junction with infamous Route 66.  Continuing on, traversing below the Sandia Mountains entering  metropolitan Albuquerque,  the documented highway 66 still entertained its path thru the center of town,  the new Route 66 soon to be interstate 40, its city bypass still under construction.   The westward road plotting its course on the scenic  New Mexico plateau,  the occupants of the Ford having to maintain a weather vigil, unable to protract the convertibles top.  On the horizon, omnibus rain clouds dotting the sunlit vault,  threatening a cascade curtain of condensation,  but yet had made a presence to intersect the postured roadway.

The celebrated expanse of landscape, it’s  bellowing raised islands of rapture giving form to the mesa’s of the high plains plateau in the distance..    Approaching Gallup, a small community located in the center of the 27,000 sq. acre Navajo Nation,  the horizon showcasing a darken brume of a towing thunderhead threatening their path with a  possible deluge from the sky.  Good fortune enter town was bestowed,  a  A&W Drive-In  providing shielding cover for the undressed convertible, the delay enabling an early lunch for the three wayfarers.  Gary noting that all of the town was located south of the railroad tracks, commenting that Gallup appears to be a one side of the tracks town.

Traveling thru Winslow Arizona, the marauders continuing the uphill journey reaching the mile high citadel of Flagstaff, stopping for fuel and then a downhill slalom through the celestial ponderosa pines that blanketed the omniscient mountains, the Ford  journeying down from this enduring ambiance, its next projection  Kingman Arizona.    The throes of Kingman in the rear view mirror, a border crossing,   a hesitation for the Arizona-California state line inspection station.   Into the cauldron depth of  Needles California and the upcoming Mojave desert, its barren boundaries  stretching to Barstow.

The hour registered late afternoon,  a brief stop for fuel and a suggested six-pack of beer for the three to consume on the Needles to Barstow Mojave run.   The first indication of something being aberrant  was the appearance of desert water bags decorating the hood-ornaments of the oncoming cartage.   The surroundings giving way to insipid landscape frequented with desert bloom,  cacti and chaparral yucca,  a wonder to some,  but desolate to others.    Jerry was mindful of the engine temperature as the Ford continued to cruise Route 66,  the overhead sun basking the  wind-driven rays on the uncovered musician seated in the front seat.  the threesome, unaware of the ultra violet radiation consuming them.

The small town didn’t broadcast its name,  but the injured ones in the convertible found refuge in the air-conditioned diner.  The sunburn that permeated their appearance gave notice of the pain.   Gary concluding,  the combination of wind, sun and possibly the beer may have been the culprits responsible for their exposed now scorched facial  parchment.    After inquiring at the lone retail convenience establishment  adorning this wide-spot in the road,  the only available remedy to provide some solace was  a bottle of Jergen’s hand lotion.  The fragrance of the Jergens permeated the occupants, but the unrelenting discomfort continued serving notice,  never to venture thru the desert without covering.

Darkness having descended when the quandary travels became a talent of change,  their perception of the road was different, the three noticing the headlight illumination on the road appeared  dimmer.   The Ford projecting both an amp gauge as well as a generator light,  and it was then noticed a faint flickering glow from the dash light,  then finally it energized,  a steady red warning glow proclaiming its presence.  Continuing on Highway 58 toward Bakersfield,  the three realized the audacious consequences with a generator failure and as they continued,  their expectations of finding a solution was  wane.

Visibility was approaching inadequacy,  a decision to continue or stop was in mid discussion when miraculously a service station with garage appeared,  and even more astounding,  it was alight with patrons.  Disembarking,  explaining their plight,  finding the proprietary help only able to assist with a phone call,  expressing the nearest parts emporium would be closed,  and not available until morning.   Inside the open garage,  an individual was concluding activity on his transportation, having just replaced generator parts in his car.   Gary and Glenn addressed the garage work bench discovering old remnants from generator repair work, again approaching the attendant inquiring about them.  The attendant relating that they were remains of past work,  and in all probability were of no use.  After a brief discussion the two musicians deciding they might as well pull the Fords generator and at least give it a visual once over.

Rising the Fords hood, Glenn  removing the generator,  the two examining the brushes,  rotor and armature, Gary having been here before in high school auto shop,  finding the latter looking suspiciously damaged,  the armatures wiring looking parched.  On the bench amongst other parts was a similar looking armature, the two began to scrutinize whether it was any value not knowing its condition or even if it would fit.   Arrested with no meter to validate armature continuity, the two armatures appeared to look identical,  Gary suggested that it was worth a try, as they weren’t going anywhere anyway and once installed it would provide a yea or nay test of success.  Fate or luck, either was acceptable, later the hours before dawn finding Glenn navigating the Ford northwest,  the yea or nay generator test a resounding yea.   The ceasing of motion stirring a slumbering Gary and Jerry,  Glenn halting at the side of the road, a silent agreement,  a short recess for dormancy was in order before continuing on.

The morning dawn bringing the final leg of their quest, Jerry maneuvering the Ford maneuvering from Bakersfield heading north to Fresno on Highway 99,  the  long journey soon to end.  Once past Modesto,  Gary directing him to take the Tracy turn off, the wayfarers  soon traversing the wind-driven Altamont Pass and the Livermore Valley.  Passing the Dublin Canyon Road turnoff, cresting the rise looking towards the horizon  and the Oakland san Francisco bay area.  The three untouchables venturing into an uncharted west coast music arena

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