October 5, 2012 – Elk City, OK to Clovis, NM

We’ve realized that traveling in a motor home, while we otherwise love it, is not the most efficient or practical way to travel on Historic Route 66.  To really see everything there is to see, you need to be  able to go places and park in locations impossible to do in larger RVs.  That said, we wouldn’t pass on this opportunity to take this trip!

Today, as we had a long drive scheduled, we again tried to travel through as many of the notable towns on the original Mother Road as possible while using I-40 to save time between towns.  With little of the original road easy to follow and very few sights or photo-ops along the reaming 32 miles in Oklahoma, we stuck to the Interstate until we reached the Texas panhandle.

 

 Our first stop was in Texas was the town of Shamrock.  While much of the town appeared deserted and many crumbling or abandoned buildings,

 

we did locate the Route 66 Inn

Conoco Café

and Texan Route 66 Motel.

 

McLean, population 830, was our next stop.  Here we found the underwhelming and less-than-dramatic  “Rattlesnake” sign,

a brightly and cleverly decorated auto repair shop,

 

several creative building murals,

an old Rexall Drug Store sign

 

and movie theater.

 

Avon Theater, built in the early 1930s, served the McLean area for more than 50 years.

and an attractive new church.

However, the piece d ’resistance was the first Phillips 66 gas station in Texas. Built in the 1920s, it operated for more than half a century.

Our next stop was Alanreed where we unsuccessfully tried to locate the oldest cemetery on Route 66.  However, we did find the oldest Baptist church in Texas, built in 1904.

 

 And an abandoned “66 Super Service” station.

 

 The community of Groom, population 580, was our next destination where we easily found the leaning water tower (deliberately designed as a tourist magnet)

 

and a 19-story (194’) cross, purportedly the largest in the Western Hemisphere.

 

Unfortunately, we were unable to find the Bug Farm, 5 Volkswagen Bugs buried nose down, in Conway.  When we took the I-40 exit for this stop, all we saw was a dilapidated building and fields for as far as the eye could see.  Another of our fellow reunion travelers had the same experience!

We did, however, have no trouble locating the Cadillac Ranch, built in 1974 by Stanley March III, 10 Cadillacs buried nose down in field, at the angle of the great pyramids, one of each of the models from 1948 to 1964. The Cadillacs are base painted every so often and end up full of graffiti shortly thereafter.

From our arrival, we knew that not everyone followed the rules.

 

 

It’s a funky place!

Scattered around the cars are empty or nearly empty cans of spray paint and visitors are encouraged to test their creative talents.

We then headed for Palo Duro Canyon State Park south of Amarillo. Enroute, we found a Wal-Mart shopper hurrying home

 

And what we suspect must have been Sesame Street’s Ernie on his way home with a new bathtub toy.

The canyon, at 120 miles long and 800 ft .deep, it is the second largest canyon in the United States.  It formed less than one million years ago when the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River began to carve its way  through the soft limestone and other rock formation of the Southern High Plains.  The colors of the rocks are simply spectacular … and fossils of dinosaurs have been found in some of the horizontal layers of white rick evident in several of the following photos.

We spotted several flowers

And some real wildlife.

Finally, we crossed in to New Mexico where we are spending the evening in a brisk wind in Clovis.

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