June 1-6, 2022
(Get your kicks on) Route 66Bobby Troup
It was inconceivable that we would undertake this epic road trip and not drive along at least a part of the infamous Route 66. Perhaps the most famous road trip in the World, Route 66 runs for around 2,000 miles traversing eight states. It starts in Chicago, Illinois and ends in Santa Monica, Los Angeles in California.
We joined Route 66 at Shamrock having driven the 160 miles from Wichita Falls that morning. Over the next few days we followed the road as we drove east to west across New Mexico (with a short detour to beautiful Santa Fe) and into Arizona where we left it at Flagstaff in order to travel south-west to Sedona. We were interested to follow the old route or ‘Historic Route 66’ and to see what inspired its iconic status.
Shamrock was a great place to start as it has a number of classic Route 66 attractions. We started with lunch in the historic Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Cafe, an Art-Deco building dating back to the Great Depression.
After lunch we drove east to another small town, McLean, where we visited the rather wonderful Devil’s Rope Museum which also included a Route 66 museum which had some old route 66 exhibits.
We learnt that barbed wire was invented in the 1870’s and that its invention changed the the American West. It meant that livestock (in particular cattle) could be contained. The barbed wire museum was quite possibly our favourite small museum of the entire trip. As well information on the history of barbed wire there were lots of displays of types of barbed wire along with rather attractive sculptures made of barbed wire.
(Is this the way to) Amarillo?Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield
We ended the first day on Route 66 in Amarillo and there was really no other option than to go for dinner at the The Big Texan Steak Ranch. Touristy but, when in Texas, we had to have a steak and they were very good! We didn’t, however, feel brave enough to accept the 72oz steak challenge.
Whilst in the area we visited both the Bug and Cadillac Ranches which lie to the east and west of Amarillo respectively.
We then followed a bit more of the original Route 66 taking in some of the towns some of which are ghost towns or almost ghost towns now. We passed through Vega, Adrian, Glenrio, Tucumcari, Santa Rosa, and Grants. In some, such as Tucumcari, there were some lovely vintage motels and many of the towns have murals and Route 66 tourist sites.
When we got near to Albuquerque we took a diversion to go north up to Santa Fe, a beautiful city and region. We stayed there for three nights and then spent a night in Albuquerque before continuing on Route 66 (which follows Interstate 40 – I40). Once back on the road we realised there was a detour that would take us on a road less travelled which would be more interesting than the interstate so we dropped down from Grants to do a loop on New Mexico State Road 53. This took us through the Ramah Navajo Indian and Zuni Reservations past some beautiful scenery and we barely saw another car.
Our final stop on Route 66 was in Winslow, Arizona in order to do what every tourist in Winslow does – Stand on the Corner. In the middle of Winslow is Standin’ on the Corner Park (effectively a junction) which commemorates the song, Take It Easy made famous by The Eagles. It includes the verse, ‘Well, I’m a-standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me.‘ It was a very hot day and so we enjoyed coke floats before heading back on the road.