Route 66. From Amarillo to Clinton
Oklahoma. The Sooner State.
Today we start in Amarillo, Texas and we point to Oklahoma City. Again we are going to cross from one state to another. We will enter into the state of Oklahoma, his slogan is “Native America”. Its name comes from two words of the Native Americans and it means “red people”. As its slogan clearly says is the land of the Native Americans and is part of the United States for just over a century.
This state is also known as “The Sooner State”, the reason is historical. In the beginning, Oklahoma was one of those states where the pioneers and immigrants went to gain a piece of land. To do this, they were all aligned at the border and when the signal was given they all started to run toward the farms that were defined and claim their land. Some people arrived before this process and claimed their land. They were called the “Sooners”, this is the reason why this state is named “The Sooner State”.
But to reach the border between Texas and Oklahoma we have ahead around 110 miles and still some things to see along the way. If we had time yesterday to see everything we wanted to see, then we start directly in the route, after a good breakfast, of course. You have two options to start. In first place is to visit Palo Duro Canyon and then go back to Amarillo to point Groom. The second option is to go to Groom directly. Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States. Its size is not even near close the size of the Grand Canyon, but if you want to see it, you have it so close. The thing is that it is better go back where you went so after arrancarías visit again towards continuarías Yellow and Groom.
Between Amarillo and Groom there’s a section of the original Route 66 that runs south of I-40, the road nº is 2161. The section is short, about 3 miles. This stretch dies on I-40 so we have to continue within the Highway. When you get to Groom you have two interesting landmarks. There aren’t going to take you too much time. The first one is the large cross that has been erected to protect travelers along the route, it is quite large and you will see it from far away. The second is the Leaning Tower of Texas! Just like the one of Pisa! but is actually a water tank of Britten USA whose base moved and stood inclined, is a curious picture.
Between Groom and Alanreed, is a section of Route 66 called “The Jericho Gap”. It was a stretch of Route 66 of 18 miles length. In the beggining it was a dirt road (actually more mud than soil). There were a lot of cars that got stuck on this stretch and it became well known. Jericho was a small village. In the 30s reached 100 inhabitants!, a post office, three stores, a gas station and little more. You still can see remains of the village if you go. It is a dirt road and slippery if it rains, actually, if it rains it’s better to don’t go. The best way to find it is to take exactly halfway between the Groom and Alanreed the 70th and then take the exit 124. It corresponds to the county road B which is south of I-40. This section ends on private property.
We continue to Alanreed, you can stop at the post office, you can see jail (kind of a joke) and a poster where they list the population (52 people, 104 dogs, 88 cats, 2 skunks and a few snakes). From there we take the road to McLean. McLean has the museum of the barbed wire (Devil’s Rope museum), and I wonder, why making a museum of barbed wire in Texas?. The truth is I got no idea. It is true that is an invention which was patented in the United States. The barbed wire as we know nowadays it was patented in Illinois as far as I know.
You’ll also find a (restored) Phillips gas station built in the 20s and it was the first of Texas, it worked for 50 years.
We had lunch at Red River Steakhouse, a restaurant where everything was really well both the food and the atmosphere.
We continued to Shamrock, and about 5 miles before Shamrock there is a village called Lela. The only thing curious about it, is that you are just 1000 miles from Chicago.
In Shamrock you cannot miss the U Drop Inn and U Drop Cafe. Typical and classic Route 66 venues. The U Drop Inn was previously called the Nunn’s Café, you’ll see some references there as that’s how it was known in the past. It is a combination of gas station and cafe, and is placed right in the crossroads of Route 83 and Route 66. The building is in Art Deco style of the 20’s. It was restored in 2003 and today is the home of the chamber of commerce.
We keep going, we cross the border between states and point to the first town just after crossing the border, called Texola. In Texola are remains of a prison.
You’ll see what the jail is, a tiny little cabin where they kept the bad people!, in the middle of nowhere!. In fact you will see that Texola is more or less a ghost town, actually.
From Texola we drive to Elk City, this city is already larger and roots of Route 66 in it are intense. First you have to see the National Route 66 Museum and also the Old Town Museum.
The first is the museum of Route 66 and the second is a complex of buildings, some original, others are reproductions and it is right next to the museum. There are typical buildings of Route 66 of that time. There is also a museum of farm tools.
We get out of Elk City and we are reaching to the end of our stage of today, Clinton. On the way we have in Canute a real jail of 1918. It is in Sheidel Street, west of Main Street. We will pass by Foss, a ghost town and arrive to Clinton. In Clinton you have the Oklahoma Museum of Route 66.
Enough for today, don’t you think?
Rest and have a good dinner. Tomorrow you have an interesting day because you’ll pass through Oklahoma City and begin your tour to the north.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”. – Mark Twain
This post is part of Series about Route 66 Itinerary.
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