Before beginning, one parting shot at Santa Fe. Although the trees are just beginning to bud in Santa Fe, its easy to look up and imagine what a beautiful oasis this must be in the summer when the sidewalks and adobe are shaded by a canopy of green leaves. Still, it gives you a strange feeling, walking down the sidewalk and looking through the windows at spectacularly overpriced jewelry and $500 pairs of shoes, and $5,000 Katchina dolls, and designer Pendelton Luggage next to Native Americans in the plaza with their silver and sand painting work laid out on rugs before them. And in the restaurants it seems as if every other table is filled with well dressed middle and old aged women giving the impression that Santa Fe is the retirement home of rich widows and the cast off first wives of doctors and Hollywood producers. Taken together, it lends to a weird vibe as if Malibu or L.A. North of Sunset had been transported to the middle of the high desert. A club I can only visit.
Leaving Santa Fe we head east over more of the same and into the Texas panhandle. The earth is so flat and the sky is so big that you can see the curvature of the earth before you. Abruptly, in the eastern part of the panhandle the geography changes and you transition from the old west, into the beginning of the "east". The brush and chaparral disappear and are replaced by deciduous trees and green rolling hills. Stucco gives way to brick as a building material. Oklahomans think of their state as the west: after all, they have cattle and oil and cowboys and Indians. But to me, it is the beginning of the East. We stop in Clinton, home of the world's largest route 66 sign and the route 66 museum, and are surprised by a clean and modern Holiday Inn. With dog friendly lodging, you never know what you're going to get. We then proceeded to have the worst dinner of the trip (so far) at a local steakhouse. Perhaps we shouldn't have ordered steak?