This morning I wait for the post to arrive to see if the keys have come. While I’m waiting I use the time to do some washing and repack my bags taking out everything I want to send home… I think it’s going to be expensive.
The owner said the post comes at 10am.. 11am and still nothing. I ask my partner about a tracking number, but on double checking I realise I have told her the wrong house number 2369 instead of 2639… gobsmacking!
I quickly finish packing up the bike and ride down the road to find number 2369… up and down until I stop and ask someone.. they think its the next block. I see the final number on this block is 2347 so it should be just over the road… oh no the next house is 2402.. 2369 doesn’t exist!!
I need to go to the post office and see if they have it… I can post my stuff home at the same time. I check on my phone for the nearest and ride there. I am at a supermarket… They have a Starbucks inside so I go in and while I’m having my coffee I enquire as to where the post office is. It’s inside the shop so I go and see what can be done. It’s just a small counter, they aren’t going to have my parcel, however I ask about postage to the UK. The woman advises me to go to the main post office and to use a flat rate box as it doesn’t matter the weight it is a fixed cost. Oh thanks for the advice and she gives me the address.
It’s not far and I immediately see the boxes so I go and pick up several of the largest ones, (they aren’t that large). I join the queue, it’s not too long before I am served. The woman explains that the boxes are free I just need to pack them, put address and customs labels on then bring them back and pay. Ok. Now about my parcel… I explain about the brain fart, (I don’t call it that of course), she asks me for the zip code and then tells me I have to go to another post office… Oh get out of here 😰😰
So I do what’s needed for the parcels to the UK but, I’m not entirely sure what to put on the customs declarations… There are a few gifts in one but mostly it’s my own stuff I’m sending back home. There isn’t a tick box for tourists who have brought too much crap with them… 😱 so I just put gifts and tick the gift box.
Another woman comes over to assist me.. She says I might be better with a normal box, i.e. by weight, it might be cheaper for some items. OK.. In the end I have one large box flat rate and one medium normal one. She also advises me not to put the labels on until they have been weighed in case it’s not cheaper… Ok.
I rejoin the queue, it’s a bit longer this time. I am served by a different woman who seems a bit sharp..’you need to put the labels on the boxes or I don’t know which is in what’ she then looks at the customs forms and says ‘you can’t just say gifts, they need a list of the contents’, I try to explain about sending stuff home but she just says ‘if you don’t list things they will open you boxes for sure’… OK. The parcel by weight is cheaper than the flat rate box.. Oh good.
I take the boxes and redo the customs forms as best I can. I write on that I am returning items home, clothing and camera lenses , and list the few gifts that are in the big box.
I rejoin the queue… Even longer this time, but I am seen by the same grumpyish woman, she seems to have mellowed out somewhat and is much nicer for it. She still isn’t happy with the customs forms, but I say I don’t know exactly what is in them… T-shirts, jeans etc. So she accepts them and says its up to me, but they still might open em… Oh well whatever, not much I can do about that.
She sorts it all out and I pay the postage… It’s a bit of a sting but hey ho my own fault!
While I am in the queue the second time I spot a poster with the local post office phone numbers so I give the one I need a ring. After a relatively short time she tells me they don’t have it, it’s either been returned to the UK already or it hasn’t arrived yet. She says she will make a note re the correct house number so they might still deliver it.
I email the host and ask her to please send the keys back to the UK, it won’t cost anything as it’s return to sender, if they deliver them.
So at last am back on the road… it’s now 4pm and the next stop should be through Kansas, (only cutting the corner, about 10 miles or so in that state) and arriving somewhere in Ohhhhklahoma, but leaving this late means I probably won’t get out of Missouri today.
This looked a very interesting place, unfortunately it wasn’t open and no one was about, so just took some photos. It’s a place called Bois D’Arc.
Then just a few miles further on, in a place called Spencer…
again, closed… must be too late.
Route 66 has various alignments for example 1926-1933 and 1954-1975 and others. I am attempting to follow the oldest parts so am keeping to the old routes which tend to be slower.
Before long it is getting late and as I stop for petrol I spot these sculptures at the petrol station.
I must say they do seem to love a car on a stick because as I enter into the town of Carthage I spot this…
Carthage seems like a really nice place, it has the craziest building right in the middle…
I am just thinking I might stop here tonight when I spot a fantastic quintessential Route 66 Motel… I’ve just got to stay here!
I immediately pull over and go into the office to enquire whether they have a room available. In the office are 3 women about my age; I don’t know if they own it or if one of them owns it or works there and the other 2 are keeping her company but they are all delightful. Very friendly and helpful.. but they are fully booked.. damn!
They tell me they can recommend another hotel, the Budget Motel, which I saw when I stopped for petrol as it is directly opposite the petrol station. One of the women offers to call and see if they have a vacancy for me.. how lovely. It transpires that indeed they do, so I ask the woman to tell them to keep it for me and I’ll be there in 10 minutes or so.
Before I leave the women advise me on several places to eat and ask ‘Of course you will want to go to the Route 66 Drive In Movie Theatre’ ‘Oh yes that would be fantastic!’ says I and they proceed to tell me where it is, how much – $8 for 2 films – and I can get hot dogs or other food there. Well, I am ecstatic.. it is just karma because I was trying to think of the silver lining to the key problem and here it is… if the keys had turned up I would have left earlier and probably have been 100 miles further on from here, so would have missed a) meeting these lovely old gals and b) having a fantastic experience of a piece of classic Americana, a Drive In actually on Route 66 itself… perfecto!!
I take myself back up the road to the Budget Motel… it is very good and clean, very nice indeed and at a budget price. I have a quick shower and change then make my way to the Drive In. The women told me to get there asap as it is very popular and they only show films on Fridays and weekends. The films do not start until it gets dark so about 9.30pm, that means I have time to sort myself out. The man on the ‘door’ tells me I can get a chair from him once I have found a spot and if I want a radio I can get one in exchange for my drivers license which they will hold until the radio is returned. He tells me he doesn’t bother with the radio as you can hear everyone elses.
I pull in and find a parking spot in a perfect place.. bang in the middle so I can see the full screen. There are loads of people in pick-up trucks, they park them with the rear of the truck facing the screen so that they can sit in the back of their trucks while they watch the films.. a bloody good idea.
There is a place to buy food and toilet facilities.. it is really very good. I go back to the entrance to get a deck chair, which is free, and then to get something to eat before the show. I make it just in time as the film starts almost straight away.
I settle down and have to say I don’t really care what the films are, I am just loving the experience… a real wow moment for me!
I leave after the first film as it is now almost 11pm and I’m really tired. What a fantastic end to the day.
I loved Carthage….