Traveling Route 66

Published Date Author: , April 29th, 2011

Gay Travel: Route 66It’s great to be back in San Francisco, after a three-week vacation — where I flew to Chicago, and then drove all the way back to California via Historic Route 66. When I was a child growing up in Chicago, I learned of the great “Mother Road” that takes you from Grant Park to the Santa Monica Pier — and it was my dream to drive all of its 2,448 miles. It’s the road that Okies took during the Great Depression to find jobs in California, and in the 1950s and ’60s it came to symbolize America’s move west to the Sunbelt.

And the fact that Route 66 no longer exists (the U.S. Highway System had the road de-commissioned in 1985, because the Interstate made it obsolete) made this trip feel like a real adventure. I blogged every day, and learned a lot of things along the way — some profound, some of them just plain obvious. Here are my top 10 insights from driving Route 66, as we leave Chicago for Los Angeles.

(6) Amarillo Has A Good Gay Scene: Here’s a pop quiz: which city has more gay bars? Amarillo — a city of 200,000 in the very, very Republican Texas Panhandle, or Albuquerque — a city of 500,000 in the “leaning blue” state of New Mexico? The answer, surprisingly, is Amarillo — with its vibrant venues like Sassy’s (which has karaoke every Friday night until 12!) My theory is that if you’re gay in the Texas Panhandle, there is really nowhere to go but Amarillo. But gay singles don’t really mingle in Albuquerque. New Mexico is where middle-aged same-sex couples settle down and look at the stars.

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