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Ridin’ with Ricketts Day 3: Coast-to-coast on no g...

Ridin’ with Ricketts Day 3: Coast-to-coast on no gas nears New Mexico

(Follow veteran MTSU News and Media Relations staffer Randy Weiler’s daily blog as he travels March 9-14 with alternative fuels researcher Dr. Cliff Ricketts and his team on their coast-to-coast trip using no gas.)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Believe me, MTSU’s Dr. Cliff Ricketts can hang in there with George Strait when singing “Amarillo by Morning,” even if it’s just a line or two.

Volunteer Duane Griffin of Murfreesboro finishes changing a rear trailer tire on Tuesday in Zian, Okla. A blowout along Interstate 40 forced driver Paul Ricketts to have to exit and change the tire during a refueling process. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Volunteer Duane Griffin of Murfreesboro finishes changing a rear trailer tire on Tuesday in Zian, Okla. A blowout along Interstate 40 forced driver Paul Ricketts to have to exit and change the tire during a refueling process. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

It’s Tuesday, March 12. Ricketts has been singing/humming the famous song since we left Oklahoma City and then passed the halfway point in his quest to drive coast-to-coast 2,600 miles using hydrogen instead of gas. He’s also serenaded others with the “Ballad of Davy Crockett” and other tunes.

It hasn’t been in Ricketts’ thoughts — as CEO of the team joining him in what he continually calls “an expedition,” he has had much on his mind — he probably could belt out “… get your kicks on Route 66.”

Hopefully, we won’t be in Amarillo by morning. We will be there tonight, dining at the legendary Big Texan, Home of the Free 72-OunceSteak (if you can eat all six pounds of it). If all goes as planned on Day 3 of the cross-country trip, we will be sleeping tonight in Santa Rosa, N.M. Follow on Twitter @WeilerRandy.

After leaving Oklahoma City, where Ricketts had great interviews with Jay Marks of The Oklahoman daily newspaper and with KOCO, the ABC affiliate, we soon landed in Historic Route 66 country. Today’s history lesson: 2,500-mile U.S. 66 runs from Chicago to Los Angeles. It has been called The Main Street of America, The Mother Road and the Will Rogers Highway.

Enough history. We’re in the present, and Ricketts’ 2005 Toyota Prius, with a range of 260 miles, and the 1994 Tercel, with a range of 370, surpassed the halfway point of Clinton, Texas.

We’ve had about six fuel changes along the way. Finally, on Frontage Road and Texas Farm Road 453, we switch to the Tercel, the “Forces of Nature,” vehicle, with the venerable Ricketts behind the wheel.

Sometime tonight, we’ll cross into New Mexico and spend the night in Santa Rosa.

On deck for Wednesday and Day 4: Albuquerque, N.M., and Flagstaff and Kingman.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu and on Twitter @WeilerRandy)


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