Life in America on Route 66


You know you’re back in Indian country when you’re scanning the radio dial seeking more spin after the big debate, (I’m a masochist) and instead of pundits you come across Navajo drum music. It was so fitting that I tuned in to that familiar sound just as took I-40 east heading to Albuquerque.

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In a further cultural mishmosh which is the very definition of the America that  I know, I pulled into a motor court here on old Route 66 in Holbrook, AZ because I was just too damn tired to go another 280 miles.

Desert Inn, Holbrook, AZ

It was late, but the sign on the door was still flipped to the open side and sure enough, when I rang the night bell, a sweet little lady came, opened the door and got me all signed up. $32 a night. It’s not the Taj Mahal, even though the tiny lobby, with 9,000 brochures for the Grand Canyon and white water rafting and helicopter fly-overs of the south rim, did smell like curry. Except for when the automatic air-freshener squirter on the counter almost took my eye out.

“Gotta be careful where you aim that thing, right?” I said and she laughed, turning the spigot another direction. She was adorable, and dutifully handed me my key, the TV remote and a narrow slip of yellow paper with my WiFi code.

It was not lost on me that the sweet little Indian lady behind the counter was an East Indian, compared to a Native American Indian which is to this landscape what cactus is to the desert.  There is zero political commentary here — I just found it an interesting snapshot of our ever changing culture. Good for her. And whoever Brad is. His name is on the neon sign out front — which I noticed with some amusement was also gussied up with a whole bunch of cowboy decor.  Cowboys and Indians has taken on a whole new meaning.

Palm tree, “Brad” cowboys, free WiFi, what more could a girl want? A vacancy!


About Jean Ellen Whatley

Writer. Dreamer. Sometimes schemer. Journalist/memoirist/observer and sometimes constructive irritant. Prisoner of demon muses. Mother to four humans and two dogs. In my spare time, I delete phone numbers of former boyfriends.

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  1. You made me smile with your commentary. Indeed. Still motels for under fifty bucks? Wow!