Thursday, June 23, 2011

Texas by Nightfall

Day 6: 256 Miles
Total: 1,914 Miles

After a good night's sleep at the Lincoln Motel, Sharon and I headed out for another day of adventure. We hoped to meet some more people along the route today, but it wound up being more of a sightseeing day. We hoped to stop at John Hargrove's unique museum near Arcadia, but his gate was closed, signalling that he wasn't available. so we moved on.

There are several other interesting and unusual sights to see in Arcadia, so we started with a 66 foot tall neon pop bottle at the appropriately named "Pop's". The place is new, beautifully modern, and has hundreds of different flavors and brands of pop (or soda as some of you non-midwesterners like to call it).

Next stop was this architectural gem, the round barn. It is one of the most recognized structures in Oklahoma, and the story of its restoration is even more incredible than when it was built in the first place.

Just outside of Arcadia are the remnants of an old gas station. The owners of the station purchased a set of counterfeiting plates from a "salesman" and quickly set up shop in the back room. Their counterfeiting operation didn't last too long before they were arrested. The station shut down when they were hauled off to prison and it never reopened.

My last trip through Oklahoma City wasn't very pleasant so Sharon and I vowed to find at least one interesting thing about OKC. We took a different route through the city this time; an alignment of old Route 66 referred to as the Beltway loop. It was a good choice as it gave us an opportunity to see many unique old gas stations and motels, like the Owl Court below. This is a beautiful and unique motel, though it's currently in a state of major disrepair. The owner was there working on it, and when his long term restoration project is complete this will be a true historic gem.

We also found a great restaurant for lunch called Ann's Chicken Fry House. Good found, great waitresses and wonderful ambiance. My opinion of Oklahoma City has changed much for the better.

Oklahoma offers up some pristine sections of Route 66 where the original concrete roadway exists for miles-long stretches. One of the nicest is near the village of Hydro. Also near hydro is this restored classic gas station. Originally built in 1929, it was purchased by Carl and Lucille Hammons in 1941. Lucille was a Route 66 icon for 59 years at this location. The station was recently restored.

We stopped off at the Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma. I had been there on my last trip but Sharon hadn't so we enjoyed a leisurely walk through the history of the Mother Road.

One stop we were hoping to make in Erick, Oklahoma was to see the Mediocre Music Makers, Harley and Annabelle Russell. This couple loves to visit with and entertain route travelers as they pass through their small town. We were really looking forward to meeting them but Annabelle has been having serious health problems and they weren't available. I hope we get another opportunity to meet them someday.

We decided to continue on to Shamrock, Texas to spend the night. We stayed in a wonderful little motel called The Blarney Stone. Basic but comfortable and clean. I'm glad we picked it. One of my very favorite Route 66 icons is located in Shamrock; the famed Conoco station. This fabulously restored station is a sight to behold, whether in the daylight or lit up in glorious neon at night.

Today we are off for more adventures, hopefully ending up in Tucumcari, New Mexico.


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