Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Day 4 - You'll See Amarillo....

Outside Oklahoma City, we drove through ranch land with rust-colored soil and green valleys. The same rusty-colored road was pretty much untraveled, except for us. Narrow and straight, it wound up and down hills.

I tried to imagine the dust bowl as I drove. It was difficult to imagine dry, brown dust in this land of rusty-red and dark green. The word "Depression" certainly had many meanings, didn't it?

After the beautifully restored drive-in theater yesterday, this one seemed sad. It's up for sale on eBay -- any takers?

One of the stops today was the Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma. They had fun exhibits showing different aspects of the Mother Road, especially the length that runs through Oklahoma. I saw photos of the dust bowl -- amazing -- billowing clouds of dust that covered everything. And we learned the connection with Phillips 66 and Route 66 (two company officials were driving down Route 66 just before the introduction of their new gasoline. One remarked to the other, "this new gasoline makes the car go like 60!" The other looked at the road sign and said, "no, more like 66!" And the name was created). And, of course, the shopping was good. We all found little souvenirs. I bought another map (as if I had any more room on my lap -- as we drive I juggle a narrative on the route, several maps, and several guidebooks). Tom got a Pepsi sign. We found pins, and postcards, of course.

Next was our crossing into Texas. Route 66 goes through the Panhandle. Shamrock (I'd love to hear the origin of that name -- I'm sorry, but this town is about as far from anything reminding you of a Shamrock as you can get...) is right inside the Texas border. A highlight here is this monument-to-Art-Deco: the U-Drop Inn. The building now houses the Shamrock Chamber of Commerce. It's gorgeous (in its own wacky Art-Deco style), and beautifully maintained.

We drove through most of the Texas Panhandle. Flat landscapes with scrubby plants. The road pretty much followed I-40 as it had done yesterday. I know it's September, but I'm amazed not to see others driving Old 66 as we are. Every time we stop, we see Route 66 tourists, but we're not seeing them on the road. Are they all driving the Interstate? The very first Phillips 66 station in Texas (McLean) is along the road -- it's tiny and charming.

We made it just past Amarillo before stopping for the night. The Cadillac Ranch -- an outdoor sculpture by three artists -- is just outside Amarillo. We drove a bit more -- right into the the west and the bright sunset -- and stopped at Vega. The New Mexico border is now about 35 miles away, I believe. Because of the bright sunset we couldn't see Vega properly and will backtrack a bit tomorrow morning. There were several wonderful period buildings I'd like to see again...


Anonymous John S. said...

You're getting to see all that cool stuff that you see in the movies and on the news. I like the "Cadillac Ranch" bit.

11:24 AM  

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