Our trusty Jeep at the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Oklahoma.
Even though we were looking at another long day on the road with frequent stops to check the differential oil level, we left Weatherford with full stomachs, eager anticipation of the days adventure, and a Route 66 grin.
The first stop of the day was at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton. In addition to signing books and our annual meeting with Pat Smith, I wanted to personally thank Casey Garrett, the archivist who has provided assistance in my endeavor to develop an understanding of the structure of the original U.S. Highway 66 Association.
As a member of a steering committee facilitated by the World Monuments Fund to develop a template for creation of an entity that can centralize promotional efforts for the entire Route 66 corridor, I felt that an understanding of the original organization was crucial. It has also confirmed suspicions that this pioneering organization, and the Route 66 community, in the 1920’s faced many of the problems confronting us today.
The next stop on our homeward journey was the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City. After a brief book signing, and discussions about the 2014 tourism season, we took to the road again.
We cruised Erick in the hopes of catching Harley but the once vibrant Sand Hills Curiosity Shop was closed. The place had a forlorn atmosphere as the vibrancy exuded by the duo of Harley and Annabelle was noticeably absent.
In the ghost town of Texola we stopped for pie, coffee, and conversation at Tumbleweeds Grill an Country Store better known as Water Hole number 2. This delightful stop provides ample evidence that there is truth in the old adage about looks being deceiving.
The main building is a former café that dates to the 1930s. After decades of abandonment it was recently given a new lease on life. The addition is a recent attachment.
On the inside you will find a charming café that hearkens to an earlier time, a few souvenirs, spotless restrooms with charming touches, good food, and an amicable host. This café needs to be added to the itinerary of all Route 66 travelers.
It was now late morning but we were still on schedule to meet with Larry Clounts of the Texas Route Association in Shamrock and discuss the steering committee and other issues related to building a unified coalition along the entire Route 66 corridor. Unfortunately a family emergency had resulted in Larry having to leave town and so we continued west toward Amarillo.
Our plans called for meeting with Croc Lile and Dora Meroney of the Texas Route 66 Association over lunch at the historic Golden Light Café. However, another schedule confliction prevented us from meeting with Croc as he was on the road visiting with Dale Butel’s fall tour in Tucumcari.
Our meeting with Dora, owner of Texas Ivy Antiques, centered on how best to develop the 6th Avenue corridor in Amarillo into a destination for Route 66 enthusiasts. Of course any meeting seems enjoyable and productive if it takes place in an historic café that serves good food (another excellent buffalo burger) but this one was also enhanced by the camaraderie with Dora who had attended the festival in Kingman.
Our original plan had been to drive through Glenrio, Endee, and San Jon to Tucumcari but the reduced speeds had cut into our available time and so we focused on the interstate and made a stop at Russell’s. As we had stopped for visits and coffee at Circa Espresso Bar (another suggested stop) in Tucumcari on the east bound leg of the trip, we pressed on to Santa Rosa.
Even though it was getting late, and it was obvious that we were going to miss a planned dinner with Mike and Sharon Ward in Albuquerque, we couldn’t resist stopping for photos as a dramatic storm moved in from the south. Unfortunately we were unable to inform the Ward’s as we lacked cell service.
By the time we hit Albuquerque, it was quite late. Still, we made a delightful discovery in our search for dinner. That, however, is a story for another day.