4.20.2014

Meeting my Grandfather on Route 66, Vol. IV: Texas & Oklahoma






(19)

Into Texas at
8:45.
Saw Maragges¹.
Looked like big
lake with houses
& farms in it for
several miles, but
wasn't any water
on lake at all.
Thru ____² at 10am.
(335 mi from Okla City)
Into Amarillo
and stop for Ice


at 10 till 11.  Mail cards & letters³



(20)

nicest town we've
come thru since
leaving California
Ice Stations here
thick as Gas
Stations.
Stop 7 till 12 to eat
and let engine cool
Had drove 215 mi
this a.m.
Beautiful farming
country.
In Shamrock
at 2 P.M.  Had drove
285 mi. out on detour
Into Oklahoma
Texola.  Got gas
and ask man about


the time.  He said

(21)

We should of run
time up 1 hr. in
New Mex.  Either
in Tucumcari or
Clovis.  So we run
watches up now.
Made it 4 P.M. instead
of 3.
Passed thru Elk
City, then by a
cemetary, where
there was a monument
just north of it.
Jesus nailed to
the cross with
monument of one
person on each side
of cross

(22)

In Clinton

Cross Canadian
River, a beautiful
drive among big
trees.  Stop at
8:20 at
Rainbow Camp
in El Reno, Okla.
Had drove 444 mi.
today.
To bed at 10
up at 10 till 4
(skipped line)
Start out at 4:20
Get air in tire
as back one had
started to go down.
Thru Yukon
along river.
Thru Bethany,

(23)


Into Okla. City

at 4:55.  Had drove
24 mi.
Passed by cutest
lunch place we ever
saw  By Memorial
Park.  Stop to
eat Breakfast at
5:20 {in Edmond} at a Cafe {Van Dial's}
Real nice.  Cheapest
we've found.  Start
on at 6:14 after
getting gas, grease
ect.  Had drove
37 mi.
Thru Chandler at
7:03. ____⁶

(24)

Thru Barstow

out of Tulsa at
9:15.  Had drove
152 miles when
we had gas tank
filled.
By KVOO Radio Station
Broadcasting
Thru Claremore
into Vinita Okla
at 11:20.  Mailed
Charley's letter a
__chran's card and
got ice cream
cones there.
In Miami at
12:25. into Commanche
Thru Quapard
Okla. at 12:55

_______________



1. (sic.) mirages
2. I couldn't make out the word.  It might be "Olga"? or "Vega"?
3. Wish I had those letters.

4. He had a deep Christian faith (as opposed to a surface or irrelevant faith).
5. Brackets in both cases are his.  One of the only examples in the notebook where he added in text after his initial, "on the road," jotting down of his impressions.
6. Scratched out word.
7. I've yet to decipher the first two letters of the word that ends in "chran's".







next post, KANSAS and MISSOURI

(more Route 66 posts)

4.13.2014

A Swift Survey of Islandia by Austin Tappan Wright




My copy of The Overlook Press edition, 2001.
Islandia is like a Victorian-era Hobbit, except the hobbits are humans, and live in a bucolic wonderland south of the equator instead of north, in lush pastures and woods and villages as delightful as any in the Shire.  The country of Islandia is so well conceived -- existing as it does on the continent of "Karain," a continent that's about the size of Australia but more like Africa in shape -- I'm convinced it indeed exists, somewhere….

The majestic mountains in the north of Islandia, reminiscent of Switzerland's or New Zealand's, and that have formed a natural border but not-so-impenetrable barrier between it and its vulgar, uncivilized, cut-throat neighbors of the Sobo Steppes, are mandatory travel destinations for the most intrepid mountaineer's itinerary, thus making Islandia (as reported by Austin Tappan Wright, Esq.) as much of an in-depth documentary of this fascinating nation as it is a 1,024 page novel presently published by The Overlook Press.

At the novel's outset Islandia is on the cusp of opening its doors to foreign trade and diplomatic relations for the first time in her history, and it's this intrigue of industrialized Germany, England, and the United States attempting to outsmart one another (and agrarian Islandia) while vying for first rights to Islandia's unspoiled mineral deposits and other natural resources, that propel the narrative forward through the young idealistic eyes of recent Harvard grad and neophyte U.S. consul to Islandia, John Lang; or, "johnlang" -- one word -- as the natives would call him upon being introduced to him, since Islandians have no conception of last names.  No conception, either, of wristwatches or pocket watches; no conception of time as we know time for that matter -- at least not time as civilization in the West understands it.  Islandia is in fact timeless, I would wager, and maybe eternal.

Austin Tappan Wright was as accomplished with his intricate and eccentric world building as Mervyn Peake and Frank Herbert were with theirs in Gormenghast and Dune, respectively.  The main difference between them and Islandia, and between it and other classic achievements of imagination like Lord of the Rings, being Islandia was not straight fantasy or science fiction like they were; rather, Islandia's rich and fully realized fictive locales and culture occupied the here and now alongside the real world of the first decade of the 1900's in what was Austin Tappan Wright's day, and it's this duality of interwoven fantasy and reality that make Islandia for me an utterly unique reading experience.  It's also, because of its optimism completely devoid of today's empty and stultifying cynicism, the unexpected reading equivalent of good old-fashioned comfort food.  Like chicken fried steak w/country gravy and buttery mashed potatoes.  Or like the flaky crust of a piping hot roast turkey potpie.

Hard to fathom how such a novel as vast and extraordinary as Islandia, going on seventy-five years now, has continued receding into obscurity through literature's mainstream cracks and not left its cult status behind ages ago.