|Martin's Route 66 Photo Gallery 2|
I decided to enhance my Route 66 Web content with a second gallery of pictures that I took on a trip in 1999. The trip is documented farther below. It is not a full account of Route 66 sights along the way but merely a description of our travel route and where we elected to stop. Enjoy!
Hint: Click on the photos to see an enlargement and enter the photo gallery tour.
Photo Gallery 2
|Villa De Cubero Motel and Trading Post
|Budville Trading Company
|KiMo Theatre, Albuquerque, NM||U-Drop-Inn Cafe, Shamrock, TX|
|Whiting Bros Station
Cont. Divide, NM
|Ranch House Cafe
|Pop Hicks' Restaurant
|First In Texas/Last In Texas Motel
|Bradley Kiser's 1930 Gas Station
|Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, TX|
|The Round Barn, Arcadia, OK||Remains of a gas station near Arcadia, OK|
|Big Blue Whale
|Sandi and Alfa Romeo at
the Whiting Bros motel
|Rock Creek Bridge
|Lucille's Gas Station, Hydro, OK||Will Rogers Memorial, Claremore, OK|
near McLean, TX
|Route 66 Midpoint
All pictures are copyright © 1999 by Martin Mathis
In August 1999 my wife Sandi and I finally went on a Route 66 road trip again. We had a week for the roughly 3000 mile roundtrip to Shell Knob, Missouri, a small town in the Southwest of the state. A sister-in-law and family run a golf course there so the vacation was to be part visit and part road trip, a balance between getting distance behind us and allowing enough time to explore Route 66 in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, especially sights that we had not seen before. To add to the fun we now had a 1992 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce. It made up for the Mustang that I lost in an accident in late 1998 and the road trip memories that were embedded in it. For navigation we packed "Route 66 - A Guidebook To The Mother Road" by Bob Moore, Patrick Grauwels and Yannis Argyropoulos, a well illustrated book with mile-by-mile instructions from 'zero odometer' points.
We left for Flagstaff, Arizona on a Friday night where we intended to spend the night but we were energized and restless enough to push on to Holbrook, Arizona. That headstart would allow more time the next day for the sights in New Mexico. The first stop was Gallup where a festival caused quite a traffic jam and we only visited the El Rancho Hotel. On the way to Grants we stopped at the Continental Divide and examined the abandoned Whiting Bros. gas station and motel. Grants itself had mainly motels and their signs to offer. We followed I-40 to SR-124 which took us through San Fidel, Cubero, Budville and Laguna, a beautiful stretch of old 66. Along the way we encountered some overgrown pavement that once must have been an older alignment. It lead up to the Interstate and disappeared in the grass. We continued on to Albuquerque for a stroll downtown and to Santa Rosa. Sadly, the Club Cafe there is vacated and the neon sign is dumped on the ground at the back of the lot. After we had dinner there wasn't much of a point sightseeing in the dark and we proceeded to Amarillo non-stop at slightly excess speeds. We stopped for coffee and to wipe gigantic grasshoppers off the windshield and headlights. We dismissed Amarillo as the obvious choice for a motel and proceeded to Groom. It made for an interesting 66 night cruise, sleepy and secluded yet with an impressive main street: double one-way lanes in each direction, one block apart. We drove yet a little farther until a red neon glow along I-40 finally enticed us to rest for another night. It was almost midnight.
In the morning we discovered that our accommodation - having evoked joking references to Bates and Roach - had been the Alanreed Motel. Down the road we found the remains of the gas station built by Bradley Kiser in 1930 and made conversation with a father who was en route from Chicago to L.A. to show his 10-year old Route 66 in a rental. Next was a photo stop in McLean and along the frontage road towards Shamrock. I always wanted to take a picture of the "Rattlesnakes - Exit Here" sign along there. Here it was but conditions didn't permit a satisfying exposure. The U-Drop-Inn in Shamrock was closed or no longer in operation. Taking pictures I made this mental note to be inserted at this point: Other visitors, please do not park your SUV right in front and chat there with another group for over half an hour...
Enter Oklahoma, first stop Sayre: Our book informed that Main Street and the Courthouse had been used in the Grapes Of
Wrath movie. I must verify that sometime. We also found an underground pedestrian crossing built by the WPA in 1939
so people could get across once busy 66. In Elk City we admired the tallest non-working oil rig in the world. It measures
179 feet. A brief stop in Foss revealed that there is life there after all. Our guide book described it as a ghost town.
There's an outdoor jail on a piece of land, a simple steel cage with four bunks. A sign read "1918 1964".
The next destination was Lucille's Historic Store & Station in Hydro. Inspite directions it took us a long time
to locate it along the frontage road. We had circled just about everything else in and around town twice. We blamed it
on the guide book being written for westbound travel. Lucille wasn't home and after paying homage to the
house alone we made our way into Oklahoma City. We visited the site of the former Murrah Building but otherwise just
cruised through town and took I-35 North to the I-44 toll road to Tulsa. The toll road was everything that Route 66 was not
and we were desperate to get off at the nearest exit, which was Warwick. Amazingly and unbeknownst to us it is possible
to get from Oklahoma City to Tulsa almost entirely on a continuous stretch of 66. We passed Chandler and Davenport and
had refreshments at the Rock Cafe in Stroud. Outside Sapulpa we paused for the historic Rock Creek Bridge and continued
on to Tulsa where we tried to follow parts of what used to be 66 along 11th Street.
A nice time was had by all during the visit but it was time for the return trip. We had a small list of 66 sights
to check out on the way back, either because we had missed them or passed them while it was dark. We left Shell Knob
to the North and took twisty-turny SRs 76 and 112 back into Arkansas and eventually rejoined 412 to backtrack most of
the way to Tulsa, Oklahoma. We exited at Inola for a detour to the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore and to track
down the waterpark with the blue whale in Catoosa. I couldn't help trespassing for a better photo inspite signs...
The next day, of course, we had to spend some time out on Cadillac Ranch and check out the most recent "paint job" before we hit the road again. An impromptu stop was made in Adrian, Texas. I bought some souvenirs at the Route 66 Midpoint Cafe and had a friendly chat with the proprietors. The restaurant is named so because Adrian is indeed halfway between Chicago and L.A., 1139 miles in each direction. The next planned stop was in Glenrio, the roadside attraction the First In Texas/Last In Texas Motel, or what's left of it. Assorted other ruins abounded, as well. New Mexico again: a daylight look at Tucumcari and on to Santa Rosa where we had to say good-bye to Route 66.
We had planned an alternate return route from this point on and proceeded southwest to Vaughn where we could pick up
US 60. We yet had to cross half each of New Mexico and Arizona but 60 would eventually take us almost to our doorstep.
The drive was scenic and wonderful with lots of historic markers, salt lakes, plains, high plateaus, Santa Fe trains and
mountainous stretches between towns such as Mountainair, Magdalena, Datil, Quemado and Springerville on the Arizona side.
We originally wanted to spend a night in Springerville but the town lacked appeal. We had dinner and decided we wanted
to be home and that we could do it. After a day's worth of driving, what's another 220 miles at night across Arizona's
most adventurous mountain roads... The drive at first was exhilarating. It called for endurance, concentration, the
real stuff, heh! And then somewhere between Show Low and Globe it started to rain. And then it started to pour. And
then we came to the twisted uphill part in the middle of nowhere with rock on one side and cliffs on the other. And the
visibility turned zero, the headlights swallowed by the downpour. At least every once in a while the monstrous lightning
around us rendered the surroundings for a couple of seconds at a time, what a soothing source of much needed light...
We were crawling at 10-15mph in a steady stream of water merely guessing the next turn in the road. We saw ourselves
being washed down the side of the mountain by a flash flood or waterfall. Of course, in the end everything went well and
via Miami and Apache Junction we returned home close to midnight, exhausted but safe and sound.
Martin Mathis, March 2000
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