I left Columbus and my new best baby friend and assorted family and started the drive back west in mid-December. My first stop was St. Louis. I think. It's been so long I'm not entirely sure. I stayed in a rather swank hotel, which had a lobby that used to be a train terminal and quite a light/Christmas display on its ceiling. The following photos, from the look of things, are not chronological. After St. Louis I think I may have stopped in Oklahoma City? Yes. I stayed in a decidedly dingy hotel there, but had a pretty authentic steak at Cattlemen's Steakhouse, which was perhaps the most 'no frills' steak-centric establishment I've frequented. After that it was Tucumcari New Mexico. Then Santa Fe. Then Cottonwood, Arizona. Then? LA maybe? Ha. Geez.
I traveled I-40 for a good long part of the drive and decided that I'd get off at one point and drive about 25 miles on the true old Route 66. This was, shall we say, an idea I should have thought through a bit more. It was neat to see just how simultaneously desolate and beautiful the landscape can be, along with the many no-longer-lived-in houses, but the road itself was definitely sketchy. Not pavement. Not gravel. More like silt and mud. I drove no more than 30 miles per hour and fishtailed a good bit of it. I imagined getting stuck or sliding sideways and the dilemma I'd be in, but luckily I only had to imagine it, not live it. This is a photo of a building at the beginning of the stretch of 66 I traveled.