Route 66 Texas
Route 66 Texas is an odd one. Obviously in the USA it's one of the biggest states but apart from Route 66 Kansas it's the second shortest part of the route. It's also got a few towns (with the main one being Amerillo) that you go through. However unlike other states there is very little in between. The other main point for Route 66 Texas is that you have hit the half way point in the journey! It's hard to believe that this is the case because the gaps between the things in California get bigger. You certainly feel at times that you've seen more on the trip in the states of Illinois and Missouri.
Anyway what does Route 66 Texas have to offer?! Read on to find out.
The first town that you come to in Route 66 Texas is Shamrock. Shamrock is located at the intersection of Route 66 and US Highway 83. It's a small town with only a couple thousand inhabitants. However in Shamrock is one of the most iconic buildings on the route - the historic U-Drop Inn. The likeness of this building was actually featured in Disney's "Cars" movie. It's a fine example of the Art Deco movement in style of design. If you get to see it at night - it's all lit up with Neon and looks great!
Although it fell into disrepair in the 90's (along with a lot of the route) it was restored and now operates as a Cafe.
Also in Shamrock is another Petrol station (yes there are a lot) but the Magnolia station is a great renovation job!
Past Shamrock you have the towns on McLean, Alanreed and Claridon. The Town of McLean has the only museum in the world that's dedicated to the history of barbed wire. The Devils Rope and Route 66 Museum is probably one of the more random museums on the Route for sure! The rest of the town's of McLean, Alanreed and Claridon are quite run down and abandoned. This is what we'll come to see a lot more on the Route in Texas.
After these towns you hit the town of Groom. You'll actually see Groom before you get to it thanks two really defining items on the skyline. Firstly the "leaning tower". Although looking like a water tower - it was actually designed as a advertisement for a truck stop. Even bigger on the horizon is the "Cross of our Lord". This is part of a Christian mission but the Cross can be seen for miles. The Cross is 195 feet tall and can't be missed. It's apparently the tallest free standing cross in the northern hemisphere.
The main city that you see in Route 66 Texas is Amarillo. Obviously slightly famous for the Tony Christie song - we certainly made use of the sign posts for them to "show us the way".
The first place that you want to head to is The Big Texas Steak Ranch & Brewery. This is the home of the 72oz steak challenge. If you manage to eat the whole steak in the space of an hour then you get the steak free! The "Big Texan" is also a great place to spend the evening. There are lots of other things to see on the site, plus also lots of arcade type games to take part in. The Big Texas also has a hotel and this would be one of the hotels to stay at on the route. This would allow you to stager your way after you've done the steak challenge!
Moving into Amarillo there are a number old buildings to see. One of those is the old Paramount Theatre. This building is no longer a theatre but an office block - however its Art Deco frontage is something to look at.
In the 6th Street Historic District area of the city there are lots of diverse shops, restaurants, and galleries along the original Route 66 Texas that's well worth a stop.
As you start to make your way out of Amarillo you go past the imposing Herring Hotel. I think that this hotel highlights how some of these cities have changed over the time. This was once a bustling 600 room hotel - but now sit's dormant. We saw so much dereliction and dormant buildings on our journey but probably not anywhere close on this scale!
We also made 2 slight de-tours on our Route 66 Journey as we left Amarillo. First stop was to Cavenders. Cavenders is a fantastic store if you want to pick up some authentic Texan clothing. Cowboy Boots and hats everywhere. Sure you can't miss it! We also went to the Amarillo Shooting Complex. Didn't feel that we could go through Texas without shooting a gun! We had to pass a test to be allowed onto the range but after that it was 50 rounds against a target. Never having shot anything more than a clay pidgeon shoot - it was great fun to do it!
Back on the Route 66 journey the next stop is the Cadillac RV park and hotel and the 2nd Amendment Cowboy. The 2nd Amendment Cowboy is along the lines of the other large statutes that can be found around the route. He's next door to 3 lovely old Cadillacs sitting on podiums.
No here is where opinion is divided. For me Cadillac ranch was probably the single most disappointing point of the whole Route 66 Journey. It's an art installation by the side of the main road. The installation consists of ten Cadillacs (1949-1963) buried nose-first in the ground. Installed in 1974, the cars were either older running, used or junk cars — together spanning the successive generations of the car line.
It's free to enter. You just need to park up by the side of the road, hop over a fence and walk about 200 yards. It's a "tradition" to then spray the cars with a message or similar.
There are some beautiful pictures of the ranch. However the day we went the whole site was flooded, full of discarded spray cans where people hadn't been bothered to cleared up and just looked a mess. So much more could be done to clear the site and keep it looking good but it's not like that. I walked away really disappointed.
Adrian and Glenrio
Adrian is coming to the end of Route 66 Texas but it's exactly the middle (in distance) of Route 66. At this point is the Mid Way Cafe which is certainly worth a stop at. Not only is it a great place for some souvenirs it's also a place for a mean cake and pie! Opposite the Cafe is a sign which lets you know that you are half way. Certainly worth a photo op here!!
The final stop in Texas is more a drive through. The derelict town of Glenrio is a testament to how things have changed over the period of time. The wide main road with decaying buildings and buildings being overgrown with trees and bushes. You can imagine in the hayday of Route 66 that this was a bustling road. Now with the Interstate the Road goes to nowhere.
We leave Route 66 Texas having some definite highlights but also the low lights reminding you of how the Route has been affected by the changes to society.
Onwards to New Mexico!