July 7, 2017, Joplin, MO-
My son turned 29 today, and ended one banner year, with the promise of yet another. I rose early, in Santa Rosa, NM, and made it my goal to get to Amarillo, and the Blue Front Cafe, by lunch time. The Time Zone differential always figures in, here, so when I call Wes, and tell him I’ll meet him for lunch, we both end up remembering, sooner or later, that 12 Noon means 1 PM. So, once again, I miss Santa Rosa’s Blue Hole, for Amarillo’s Blue Front.
Wes had the place figured to be an oyster bar, and maybe that’s the new owner’s specialty, but the young lady who served us basically presented a lot of fare to which I’m accustomed. It is still good food, just not in as folksy an ambiance as under the previous ownership. To a Texan, and to lesser an extent, an Arizonan, such tradition is everything.
After spinning a few yarns, and hearing some of Wes’s, I kept on, across the Llano Estacado. Mailing my car payment, at the Post Office in Groom, TX, involved cruising around that handsome little town, just a bit. Oklahoma, though, was not long in appearing in the foreground.
I had no pressing business, in the Sooner State, so essentially it was just a series of pleasant memories that passed by, along with the towns: Erick, Sayre, Elk City, Clinton, Weatherford, El Reno, Yukon and OKC. There was no time to stop at the Memorial- maybe on the flip flop. The Turnpike was what it always is, a quicker way to southwest Missouri and points further on. As many of you know, it is divided into two segments, in northeast Oklahoma: Before Tulsa and After Tulsa. The erstwhile Oil Capital has not been high on my list, for several years, and all owing to my having witnessed a nasty tirade by a Greyhound Bus employee towards a fellow passenger, at the company’s terminal, in 1979. That’s a lame excuse for a bad attitude, but it’s stayed in the back of my mind, ever since. It was time to shed that perception. I pulled off the highway, gassed up, admired a lovely woman-in a respectful manner and from a distance, and kept on with my drive to Joplin. It was a ridiculous remedy, for a ridiculous grudge, but that’s all it took for Tulsa to win my trust. One of these days, I will spend a day or two there, and better get to know the city of the Golden Hurricane.
I had planned on camping, in or near Joplin. Cousin Lisa was tied up with 4-H, so I will try and catch her on the flip-flop, and besides, there was lightning flashing nearby, so I passed up the idea of setting up camp. Tara Motel appeared, east of Joplin, as I was running out of energy, and options. The place is a minimalist paradise, for the common man, who is just trying to catch about 120 winks. That I was sure to do. With no WiFi here, and Rerun Heaven in full swing, I read a bit and headed for dreamland.
NEXT UP: Across Missouri and Illinois