Starting Somewhere

There were a few things I wanted to do on this sabbatical, and now our family is starting on one of them. We are on Day #1 of a crazy, 26 day road trip to California and back.

Tucumcari, NM at sunset.

There were a few things I wanted to do on this sabbatical, and now our family is starting on one of them. We are on Day #1 of a crazy, 26 day road trip to California and back. We will be doing a lot of camping, visiting some national parks, a lot of hiking, and we’ll work in some catching up with some family and friends along the way. We’re either geniuses for actually doing something this ambitious, crazy, or both. Time will tell.

At Motel Safari. A real throwback, and a cool find.

We’re in Tucumcari, NM tonight. Some things I learned/observed today.
-Don’t try to imitate your daughter’s “pogo dance” on an elevator when in a small hotel. The elevator shakes, quite noticably I might add. That would be as an added cost that could sink the trip.

Allison wanted Little Bear (who is also 40) to get a little sun.

-We are counting state license plates. And dead armadillos. So far we have 35 state license plates and 17 dead armadillos. The fact that most of the dead armadillos were in Missouri (and that they don’t out number the state license plates) is shocking to me.

There has to be ice cream.

-If you are ever driving through the Oklahoma City area, stop and eat at the Green Chile Kitchen in Yukon, OK. They bill themselves as “New Mexican food”, and Sonia gives them a stamp of approval (high marks from a native New Mexican. Andrew INHALED his food, and then was asking for ours. We shared, but not my green chile lemonade. That’s MINE.

Kix on 66 – a diner. Hopefully breakfast will be good.

-Mispronouncing “Washita County” in front of your children is a mistake. Regaining control of the conversation after that is a futile effort at best.


-Tucumcari is in a beautiful location. We are staying in a cool Route 66 style motel. It’s tough to see these areas struggle. They need an industry other than tourism, and also an investor. I feel like there’s still potential in these areas. We tried to explain the rise, importance, and subsequent decline of Route 66 towns. Andrew’s first response was, “So, it’s a fake area, like Branson.” (A little context… Andrew saw the country/western theaters and “Titanic” in Branson and asked how all that “fake stuff” got there. I gave him the line from Homer Simpson, “It’s like Las Vegas if Ned Flanders ran it.” He seemed to get it.) It’s tough to compress the history of tourism, travel, and shipping into a ten minute explanation. I think he gets it. The world changed for these established towns, and adjusting is easier said than done, at least on a macro level. The point here is I understand the draw of these areas, and I want to see them succeed.

Please forgive me if I have more typos and funny syntax than usual. I’mtrying to do these blogs at the end if busy and compressed days. The point of the sabbatical is to spend time with the people who are most important to me. This long trip is a highlight for our family. I guarantee my prose for the next four weeks won’tbe perfect.

Here’s to my crazy family and our potentially crazier trip. Exciting times. Great times. Happy times. But I promise to leave the pogo dance in St. Louis, in the safety and privacy of my own home.

Author: Jason Kesselring

I am a 44 year old high school chemistry teacher (and former pediatrician), happily married, and a father of two wonderful children. I blog sporadically, and if there's a theme in here, please tell me what it is!

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