By: Dana Regier, Supreme Inspector
It’s time for a road trip… that was how the thought began when Mr. Regier and I started talking about Supreme Assembly in Oklahoma City. The more we thought about it the idea of driving became an adventure that we wanted to take. The trip is just over 21 hours and 1,431 miles. If we drove, what challenges did we need to work through and what opportunities were available? So, we started to build the plan.
We started by reviewing the route and then we started to see that we could use the trip as the chance to travel Historic Route 66. The highway was established in 1926 and originally ran from Chicago, Illinois through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and ended in Santa Monica, California. A total of 2,448 miles and we now thought that we could travel a good portion of it with our trip to Oklahoma. The highway has become part of our American history and culture from a TV series in the early 1960’s as well as being the primary route that those fleeing the dust blow of the 1930’s used to travel to California. You might recognize some of the historic places and iconic scenery in the Pixar movie Cars. We now had our goal, a road trip that would get us to our destination, but also provide us with the opportunity to see our country in a way we had never done before.
We would take four days to travel to Oklahoma City and had planned stops in Flagstaff, AZ; Albuquerque, NM; Amarillo, TX and then our arrival in OKC. There were key things that we wanted to make sure we stopped at and others that happened as we traveled. We watched for signs that would say ‘Take the next exit for Historic Route 66’ and these side trips provided us the opportunity to see original stretches of the highway that have not been replaced by Interstate 40. During our trip we stood on the banks of the Colorado River, went to the Road Kill Café in Seligman and arrived in Flagstaff, AZ where we visited the Lowell Observatory. No trip down Route 66 is complete without a stop in Winslow, AZ where we did stand on the corner and also found the local Masonic Lodge. Day two sites also included Holbrook and the Tepee Motel and then the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert with its breathtaking scenery. On our arrival in Albuquerque, we visited their historic old town including the San Felipe de Neri Church. This is where we also did one of the most interesting and exciting parts of the trip and that was the Musical Highway located just outside of Albuquerque in Tijeras. Yes, it is a musical highway where if you drive the designated speed limit and have your tires on the rumble strips you can hear the song “America the Beautiful” It took us several tries but it actually works and is amazing… you might want to add it to your bucket list or check and see if there is one in California (hint).
As we continued our road trip we also stopped at the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, Cadillac Ranch and the Texas Panhandle War Memorial and Museum. We had amazing food and met interesting people including Tex who gave Mr. Regier his own personal tour of a vintage car collection. Our last stop before arriving at our final destination was the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum.
Now you may say that is a long trip and how did you keep from going crazy for those many hours on the road and I would share that there was so much to see that the time was not the obstacle that I thought it would be. There were several things that we noticed while on the road… first there are a lot of trains and super long ones as well, the scenery changes slowly as you travel east from the agricultural valley of California through the high desert and mountains of Northern Arizona to the breathtaking vistas in New Mexico. As we traveled, we noticed the tribal nations we traveled through including Hopi, Navajo, Zuni and many more. I became aware of the vast resources and people who are what make up our wonderful country. That our diversity is a strength that should be celebrated and our resources and land should be protected. It was on that road trip that I remembered how blessed we are to live where we do and that we have the opportunity to get in our cars or hop on a plane and travel to places we want to see and learn about. Above all, it reminded me that while we have many challenges to overcome as a nation and many wounds to heal there is greatness in who we can become if we just stop and take the time to learn about each other, to share our cultures and our faiths and above all do it with kindness and curiosity knowing that God created each of us. Remember it takes many colors to make a rainbow just like it takes all of us to make America. So, where is your next road trip to and what can you learn along the way?