Old Route 66 offers relaxing drive

Lynn Moncus

The people who live in the San Jon area are undoubtedly pleased to have the new bridge over Revuelto Creek because they no longer have to fight I-40 traffic.

Those of us who enjoy Sunday drives are also delighted to be able to head to the state line on Historic Route 66 in order to appreciate the scenery, to remember the past, and to be able to relax as we amble along at an unhurried pace.
Aggie and I set out last Sunday afternoon to see what had happened to that route as we hadn’t traveled it since the closing of the bridge. Although we didn’t go beyond old Endee, we had a most pleasant drive while admiring the green grass, the wild flowers and a number of water holes. We stopped occasionally to take a few pictures and to enjoy our surroundings. Aggie was also able to pick up some different news as she nosed around while we walked.
Of course, the unpaved road is my favorite part of the trip because I really have time to observe nature and to appreciate what I am seeing without having to see most things as mere blurs. We paused to take one more picture of the lone mail box in the pasture and to wonder who might have received letters there a few years ago. We drove slowly in order to see some of the remains of the T&M railroad bridges and to remember the days in which people could let the engineers take them to Amarillo for a day’s shopping and return them in the evening.

Apparently someone has repainted the “Modern Restrooms” sign at Endee because it was quite dim the last time I stopped to take a few pictures. Now, it shows from a distance and lets us see how much travelers of the past would have appreciated those facilities. Fortunately, the distances weren’t too great between villages in the area of the county back then, but most facilities were rather primitive, thus making the bushes look more inviting. Today, the bushes are the only facilities between San Jon and the state line, but the trip can be made rather rapidly on the dirt road because it is in very good condition.

A beautiful hawk posed atop a barbed wire fence to have a number of pictures taken. He seemed to enjoy the attention and just watched as we sat there admiring him. He didn’t offer to fly and was still posing as we drove away. He was probably thinking about some of the little ducks and ground squirrels we had seen and was resting before searching for some lunch.

We also noticed that some trees already have golden leaves and that the color is changing on many of the salt cedars. I guess one of us hadn’t given much thought to the eminent approach of autumn and was a bit surprised to note the colors. That indicated our need to hurry if we plan to get more pictures of the wildflowers and the lush green grass. We also noted that the snow flowers are only a little over a foot high in many places. Maybe they will be more reliable this year because they have been fooling the natives for several years by growing to three or four feet tall when we had only a few inches of snow.

We should have been a little more aware of the changing of the seasons as we noted the haze along the caprock, but that didn’t seem to compute until our return trip. My powers of observation cause me to pause periodically because they simply aren’t very sharp these days. I may have to stare at something for quite a while before I really begin to see and think at the same time. For instance, I was a bit concerned about the drooping mesquite bushes a few weeks ago until I focused more carefully and saw they were so laden with beans that they couldn’t begin to hold their limbs upright.
If you haven’t checked out the new bridge and that side of our county in a while, you should find the time to take a most relaxing drive. If you will concentrate more than I do, you will see what is going on right in front of your eyes.