Milepost 1336: Conway, Texas, virtual ghost town.
Kaye and I have been traveling on our road to adventure through the American southwest the last couple of days, from Oklahoma west through the Texas panhandle and into New Mexico.
We keep seeing relics left behind by earlier travelers, as we are roughly tracing the abandoned path of the famous Route 66, the two-lane blacktop highway that connected Chicago to California before the modern era of the interstate expressway. Mind you, we are traveling on the freeway, not the two-lane, because ours is not a leisurely venture this time through; we have someplace we need to be by the end of next week.
But every time we get off the super-slab we see the ghosts of those former adventurers and the gutsy entrepreneurs who built the roadside tourist stops. There are deserted houses and businesses everywhere, often within sight of the new travel plazas.
Last night we drove till after sunset and ended up getting off at the wrong exit while searching for a hotel. We ended up checking in at a dubious outfit on a deserted blacktop running parallel to the freeway, a run-down motel with tumbleweeds lined up against the chain-link fence around the used-to-be-a-swimming-pool. I was heartened to see several other cars parked in front of rooms.
The proprietor, Arwin, was reassuring enough and told us where to park the rig and said it would be safe because he hadn’t had any trouble in 30 years. We went to bed and were warm and comfy all night.
Morning dawned, and having slept in, we reported late for the free breakfast, walking across the parking lot where we noticed that the other cars were all still there… and they all had flat tires. Yes, they were dummy cars, clever props parked there a long time ago to make the place look busy. The only vehicles that had moved were the two semis that I had parked our rig next to, and they had left early.
My respect for Arwin might have taken a hit, but I starting thinking about what I would have done to stay alive if I owned a once-beautiful establishment that 60 years ago had been frequented by the intrepid wanderers on the the once-famous Route 66. An aging motel that was now bypassed by the super highway.
I saw the abandoned gas station and restaurant next door and eagerly grabbed my camera for the now rare photo shoot. I’ve been stuck to the highway for 1,336 miles now and haven’t had the luxury of time for anything aesthetic. There is a lot of decaying beauty here on this deserted prairie.
Here are a few photos.