Oct. 8-15 2021

The Land of Enchantment saw a lot of disenchantment in the early 2020s, even banning out-of-state visitors from state parks. But it was next in the road trip hopper, and I was impressed by all the friendly smiles that greeted us there! This trip also marked the debut of the No New Normal Cam. But make no mistake, this trip was full of some hilarious misadventures, and you're gonna peep 'em until silverfish eat your glasses.

The No New Normal Cam's first item ever! Illinois even under Gov. Flintstone was one of the trip's highlights! At every Illinois business, workers and customers beamed widely. It was rather like the late 2010s, not the early 2020s. This is Pokey Road in Pocahontas, Ill., which becomes O'Fallon Street ahead - not to be confused with the street in my area where a woman blew a bubble with bubble gum in two cities at the same time in April 2020. An elderly woman who worked at a restaurant in Pocahontas strongly resembled Emma Tisdale, the motorcycle mail carrier on The Dukes Of Hazzard.

As we leave Bedrock in the dust, this is I-70 in Independence, Mo.

I-70 approaches Lees Summit Road. I'm omitting the apostrophe in the road and city name because it's improper. The U.S. Board on Geographic Names does not allow possessive apostrophes in place names - with exceptions being very rare. This rule exists so no private parties can claim ownership of public features. Meanwhile, the 2020 census showed the city of Lees Summit with over 100,000 people.

The butchering of BGN rules continues.

Kansas City, Mo., has loomed large on recent trips. This is I-670, which is actually much shorter than the roughly parallel stretch of I-70.

Southwest 10th Avenue in Topeka, Kan.

I'm guessing this is southwest on KS 156 approaching Ellsworth, Kan.

Tenth Street in Great Bend has US 56, KS 96, and KS 156 all rolled into one crisp amulet!

US 56 in Larned, Kan.

US 56 in Garfield, Kan. I thought for sure I got a photo of this on a past trip, but I can't find it anywhere.

Looking up 6th Street in Garfield.

US 56/283 (Wyatt Earp Boulevard) in Dodge City.

Another exhibit from the ruined stop sign files! US 56/400 is straight ahead while US 283 goes off to the left. US 400 also does not meet the U.S. route numbering rules, as Roads Scholars have rehashed for decades.

US 56 in Montezuma, Kan. I got the old Texaco sign going the other way on the way home from Guadalupe Mountains in 2014. Remember how much it rained that day?

"NO J TURN"? This is Inman Street in Sublette, Kan.

Inman Street again. The ancient "2 TRACKS" plate on that railroad crossbuck looks like it was handwritten!

US 56 enters Oklahoma! Between Sublette and the state line, we lunched at a Pizza Hut where the restroom was noted for the pee that coated every surface.

US 56 blasts southwest across the Oklahoma panhandle.

US 56/64/412 uses Main Street in Boise City, Okla. This small town has 5 U.S. routes through or around it. Unlike the Idaho city, this town is pronounced like boist without the t. We also went through here during my 2002 San Francisco trip. Up ahead is the Cimarron County Courthouse. The town was founded by developers who went on to be convicted of mail fraud for misleading buyers about the town's amenities. They didn't even own the lots they sold. In 1935, Boise City was the center of a deadly dust storm that suffocated people and livestock.

We approach the courthouse, which is surrounded by a big traffic circle. During World War II, a U.S. bomber accidentally bombed the courthouse square, as the pilots mistook the lights there for their target.

This is a blow-up from the previous photo. You can see that one of the destination points on the sign is Denver, of all places, which is hundreds of miles from here.

After we round the circle to Cimarron Avenue, we pick up US 385. We weren't on US 287, which had been designated President Donald J. Trump Highway. One article actually said this "could very well be the most conservative county in the entire nation" and that one resident called Trump "a liberal New Yorker."

As US 56/64/412 speeds away from town, we're going to have to try to identify mountains we see. The peak we see at center right could be Rabbit Ear Mountain in New Mexico, but that could be 25 miles from here.

The road finally enters New Mexico!

In the immortal words of Homer Simpson: "There's a New Mexico?" This is the official New Mexico welcome mat. A few miles up ahead, there's a spot where the extreme northwest corner of Texas gets within a few feet of the road.

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