Family road trip: El Malpais, white-knuckling through a storm, and old Route 66
The Toupin family's RV has now rambled from the southern Midwest into the fiery red deserts of the American west.
(Page 2 of 2)
As we left, I could see the storm miles away. We were heading right into it. When the deluge hit us, the storm's wind accompaniment shook our RV so much that I started white-knuckling the steering wheel. The kids were so quiet.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
I was reminded of the story in the Bible when Elisha goes out of the cave’s mouth to seek the Lord. The Lord was not in the earthquake or wind, but rather in a still, small voice. While I clung to that thought, I felt something compelling me to turn veer from my course and take a highway that lead into New Mexico.
As I turned parallel to the storm, the wind’s impact lessened and I was able to relax. The rain continued for a while longer, but it didn’t matter. We were safe.
The people who suggested Colorado over my original route from Kansas into eastern New Mexico were right from an adult’s point of view.
There isn’t much to do in eastern New Mexico except to enjoy the beautiful expanse of dessert scenery. I loved it. But after a while, my children wanted to retreat to a movie in the back of the RV. They stayed there until I called them back out as we entered the El Memphas region.
An unexpected stop
In Albuquerque, N.M., we picked up I-40 – the interstate that replaced the majority of Route 66 in the western United States.
But Historical Route 66 is alive and well thanks to the efforts of one man – Angel Delgadillo. Mr. Delgadillo was a barber in Seligman, Ariz., when the Interstate bypassed his town and caused its tourism dollars to dry up in the 1980s.
He started a campaign to preserve the original Route 66 and founded the Route 66 Association of Arizona in 1987. For 10 years he talked to anyone who would listen.
Eventually, Route 66's gradual dismantling ruffled the feathers of enough people that states began protecting the sections within their borders. Then in the late 1990s, former President Bill Clinton secured $10 million in federal matching grants to help states restore and preserve the road.
Delgadillo turned his barber shop into a gift shop, museum, and visitor center along the “new” Historical Route 66. Now, many shops and restaurants carry Route 66 paraphernalia and mementos. We’ve stopped at quite a few along the way!
The producer of Cars based his movie on this small revival town, saying that Seligman was as close to Radiator Springs as one could get. The kids were thrilled to find out that this was the home of one of their favorite movies.
I love finding these little gems. But most of all, I am treasuring this time that we are spending together as a family, having adventures and working through whatever experiences the journey hands us.
So far, our trip can be summed up by the words on a magnet we picked up at Delgadillo’s Route 66 gift shop: Yay! Roadtrips!