We woke up in lovely Santa Rosa, NM to perfect weather, yet again. I wanted to see what the hotel sign looked like in the day time so I opened our front door, and I kid you not, there was the cutest little brown and white pit bull standing right outside the door wagging her tail. I almost ran out there but I was wearing a nightgown, so I came back in, threw on my clothes from the night before and ran back out. She was still there. I sat on the ground and pet her for a good 15 minutes. She gave me smooches and let me cuddle with her. I was conflicted because she was a nice dog, with a collar and a rabies tag, obviously well fed and not beaten, but she was filthy, with a bloody tick on her neck and had large teats, so she had been bred. I tried to coax her into the hotel room so I could at least give her a bath and get rid of the tick. She wasn’t having it, because she was obviously an outside dog. I ran inside to take a shower, and came out and she was gone. I think I would have taken her if she would have come in the room or was there when I came back out, but Mark convinced me that the city is pretty poor and that she might be some little kids dog. She was really cute though, I didn’t even get a picture.
We got in the car and drove down the street a few times to look for her, but she was gone. We headed onto the US-60 hwy towards Clovis and enjoyed the drive. When we arrived in Clovis, we passed the studio, but we were early for our 10am tour. We drove downtown to get an idea of what the place looked like. It was pretty adorable. It had 3 awesome theaters, a nice hotel, cute store fronts including a “Rachel’s” a “Mickey’s” and a “Sassers”- which we found funny. We stumbled across the Norman and Vi Petty Rock n’ Roll Museum. We went in, and it was fun. It had a ton of cool records, wonderful photos, We saw this really great picture of Buddy Holly and his band just sitting on a couch, like a snapshot, that was really real- not all promotional.
Our tour was at 10 and we arrived and found our hosts already there. We walked in to Mrs. Shirley Broad playing the piano in the recording studio. It was surreal. She ran up and greeted us so sweetly. She went and got her husband Kenneth who was truly one of the nicest people in the world. He gave us a personalized tour of the house and residence out back, which was filled with great information. (Mark) The tour started in the control room of the studio. We were able to see the original equipment that had recorded s many great songs. The original reel-to-reel tape deck was set up and Kenneth played a bit “Heartbeat” of the original tapes through the Altec-Lansing speakers for us and it sounded amazing. It sounded as fresh and clean as the day it was recorded. We chatted a bit about a lot of the songs that were recorded here and Kenneth gave us a little run down on how the studio was run. Outside of the control room was the reception area, which doubled as the vocal booth. A lot of the vocals were recorded here. Through the other side of the reception area was the actual recording room where all the instruments were set up. It was really cool! A lot of the original instruments were still there! There was a grand piano, a Hammond B-3 organ, Buddy Holly’s tour amp and a bunch of original microphones. It was really great to see all these things set up the way they were back then. (Rachel) My favorite Buddy Holly song is "Everyday" and while we were in the recording studio, Shirley played the tune of Everyday on this celeste piano and it brought tears to my eyes. Vi Petty played the original on the track that way recorded in that same room.
Next, Kenneth took us down a hallway into the guest area where all the bands would hang out when they weren’t recording. There was a kitchen that still had the original wall decorations and curtains and there was a den type room that had a couch and some beds. We were able to sit at the kitchen table and on the couch where the bands would hang out. The room was still furnished as it was back in the late 50’s. After that we were taken out in the back yard where there was a patio with some chairs and a shed that used to be fully stocked with food for the musicians. Buddy Holly and the Crickets shot a lot of their early promo photos out in the yard so that was cool to see. We went back in a talked for a while. Kenneth gave each of us a shirt and some promo photos. While we were on our tour a guy showed up and he was introduced as “David Bigham, he recorded with Buddy Holly”. Wow! It turns out that he was in a vocal group called “The Roses” who backed up Roy Orbison on his Sun recordings and Buddy Holly on songs such as “Think It Over”, “Lonesome Tears” & “It’s So Easy”! Real rock ‘n roll history! He was really nice and talkative. He signed one of the promo pictures that Kenneth gave us and then hung around and answered questions. It was a really nice unexpected treat. We ended up spending an hour and a half there and I could have easily spent the day. Kenneth and his wife are wonderful people and they really made the experience special. The fact that we were able to touch things and take pictures was great… most rock ‘n roll museums don’t allow it. Overall, this was a wonderful experience that neither of us will forget.
After the studio, Mark’s little brain was fried. We went to get some Mexican food (huge shock, I know!) at a place called Taqueria Jalisco that was well reviewed on Yelp. We walked in and we were obviously the minority in the establishment, always a good sign for food from another country. I ordered the green chile chicken enchiladas which were phenomenal. Mark ordered the chile relleno, cheese enchilada and the chicken taco. Our chips and salsa came, but Mark was disappointed because it was onion-y and cilantro-y. I was in heaven, because it was a chile, tomato, onion mixture that was just perfection. I would pay for salsa that good in KC. Our food was great, but it was less New Mexican and more Mexican than we have been used to the past few days. I loved mine, and Mark loved his- but I think he was just too overwhelmed from the experience we had encountered at the studio to actually taste anything. He just sat there at the restaurant saying “I don’t know what to say, what just happened to me… I could have spent all day there… holy crap!” It was cute.
We couldn’t quite leave Clovis yet, because Kenneth had told us about a place called Foxys Diner. He said that Buddy and the guys had eaten here pretty often while recording and we had to stop. We got a cherry turnover and a strawberry milkshake from the carhop… it was cute.
We drove off onto the famous drive from Clovis to Lubbock… encountering such towns as Bovina and Muleshoe, TX home of the Mules. We found this to be Mule-rific… for lack of a better word. Texas was flat and huge. We arrived in Lubbock a little tired and ready to see more action.
The Buddy Holly Center was in an old train depot and renovated nicely. We arrived and saw a hilarious huge set of glasses out front that we had to take our picture with! The museum was fun, lots of nice artifacts. They didnt allow pictures so bear with me. We saw Buddy’s recording contracts, his childhood boy scout uniform, his clothing and a ton of records that Mark was drooling over. His original guitar used to record was there, his American Bandstand contract in which he was paid around $320 to play. He tooled leather belt and guitar strap that he made. And last but certainly not least… his glasses. I saw them and walked up all excited until I read the caption. He was wearing them at the time of the crash and they were recovered from the wreckage and kept as evidence in an Iowa police station until the 1980’s. It gave me the chills. Eerie. We weren't allowed to take pictures so check out the website- http://www.buddyhollycenter.org/
We went into another room that was dedicated to the fateful night and we saw his overnight bag that had been found in the field by his brother. It had all of his personal items in it, including tanning cream and his tooth brush. Made me a little sick that they had this stuff out, but I am not into stuff like that. Its sad, and I like to feel a little more removed from peoples deaths.
We drove down the old town to see the historic district and just happened to run into the KDAV 1590 AM station that Buddy Holly used to play at:
We ventured forward to Buddy’s grave. We found it. Again, the whole death thing was strange for me. Mark left two guitar picks on the grave site to remember the “day the music died.” Mark was pretty blown away, I was bored. I feel bad that I didn’t really get emotional, but I have been in love with Buddy Holly since I was old enough to talk but Buddy was very dead when I was little, and has never been alive, so it was weird to mourn his death. I don’t know.
We got back on the road and passed such awesome towns as Plainview, TX and Happy, TX. Not very exciting. We did arrive in Amarillo ready to eat dinner. We decided to check the historic Route 66 area of town, and pulled up to this crazy biker bar called Smokey Joes. It was PACKED to the rim with people drinking beer. We walked in and it just had atmosphere for days. It was in an old garage, and the garage doors were up and the patio was huge. We got stuck eating inside, but they were blasting Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire and we got beer for $1.25 so we knew we were in a great place. The waitress walked up and said “What can I get-y’all?” I ordered the chicken fried chicken with steamed veggies and onion rings. Mark had the chile burger with fries. Mine was really great, not greasy, the gravy was peppery and the veggies were killer. My onion rings were beer battered perfection. Marks burger looked like something out of a movie, it was huge and great looking. He ate almost the entire thing, I was impressed. We basked in the atmosphere for as long as we could and then got back on the road.
We’re now holed up in a cute little motel off historic Route 66 in El Reno, Oklahoma. Its all renovated and nice… Until tomorrow! http://www.elreno.org/
As always- our pics are on www.flickr.com/runaroundrachel
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