Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Route 66 - The State of Texas

Route 66 – The State of Texas

As everyone knows, things are bigger in Texas. Texas itself is the largest state of the 48 connected states. Its land covers more territory than the combination of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and all of New England. Yet, despite it’s size, and its reputation of having the largest of whatever, when it comes to Route 66, it’s second in line to Kansas (which had 13 miles of Route 66). Going west from Texola, Oklahoma, across the Panhandle to Glenrio, Texas, the Mother Road only covers about 178 miles. Those miles are rough miles in many places. Texas has a lot of Route 66 that are dirt roads, not recommended for travel, especially in the rainy season.

The Texas terrain across the Panhandle is mostly flat land and agricultural. To break up the monotony there are plenty of grain elevators, water towers, windmills, and the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere. A game for the travelers going along for the ride…divide the teams between the south and the north of the highway, and see who can count the most windmills.

Here are a few things Texas is noted for:

  • Armadillos, scorpions, spiders, and rattle snakes. (Oh, yes! Let’s hurry up and get on down there and stay a while!!)
  • It is the state of the nation that produces the most oil. Oil was discovered in 1901 near Beaumont, Texas.
  • Texas has a highly Hispanic culture, in that about one fourth of the population in the state is Hispanic.
  • The pickup truck is the vehicle of choice by a majority of Texans.
  • Galveston, Texas, had the deadliest tornado in the history of the United States. In 1900 over 6,000 people lost their lives in the wicked storm.
  • Houston is the home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which opened in 1962. Houston is also known for the largest bankruptcy in the history of our nation, that of Enron in 2001.
  • Two presidents are connected with Texas. George W. Bush, the former governor of Texas, was elected for two terms, 2001-2009. President John F. Kennedy, one of our nation’s most popular presidents, met his untimely death by an assassin in 1963, a year before he completed his first term.
  • Amarillo, Texas, is the Helium Capital of the World, about 90% of the world’s supply is produced here.

There’s a lot to see and do in the state of Texas, and the Panhandle is just one small portion of the Lone Star State. I’ve added a list of places to checkout as we roll through this territory. New Mexico lies just ahead, current home of our oldest son and his wife. At least we’ll have some guides in that part of country!!

Places to Visit:


  • U Drop Inn (Route 66 and 83), center of town Art Deco masterpiece, dating from 1936, lots of neon tubing, spectacular at night
  • Water tower, the tallest in the state of this type


  • Phillips 66 Station, classic tiny cottage-style, has been restored (First and Gray)
  • Giant Alert – Route 66 Exhibit has a giant cobra and a bug bull, gift shop
  • Trivia question: What is Devil’s Rope (see the Devil’s Rope Museum – Route 66 and Kingsley St)? And what are the 2 huge balls on display on the museum made from? T-F, 10-4, donations, 806-779-2225


  • Eastbound I-40 – “Donley County Texas Route 66 Safety Rest Area” – Art Deco style and neon signs, exhibits, travel info, TORNADO SHELTER, playground, Route 66 History Walk – sidewalks are mini highways leading past brass historic info plaques (double back at Exit 128 if going west)


  • Leaning Water Tower, first Groom exit off I-40, built that way on purpose to generate discussion
  • Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, the largest in the western hemisphere, 190’ tall (19 stories), built in 1995, south of I-40 at exit 112 on Hwy 295, has complex with “Stations of the Cross”; cross can be seen up to 20 miles away; 24 hours, donations
  • Lots of gas stations, cafes and motels from the roadside past


  • Bug Ranch, a spoof of the famous Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, consists of VW Beetles buried nose-first in the earth, (exit 96 of I-40)


  • Cadillac Ranch, built in 1974, in field along side of I-40, where Route 66 used to be (between exits 60-62)
  • Big Texan Steak Ranch, along I-40 (north side west of Lakeside exit), serves 72 ounce steak free if you can eat it in an hour, live rattlesnakes in display case
  • American Quarter Horse Assn Heritage Center and Museum, world’s largest horse breed registry, here since the 1940’s
  • Madame Queen, “Texas Type” Baldwin locomotive, dating from 1930 (E. Second and S. Lincoln near downtown)
  • Historic Route 66 One Mile shopping along SW 6th Ave west of downtown


  • South of Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon, bright red cliffs cut by the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River, 12 miles e on SR217, $5
  • West of town, Tex Randall…giant cowboy statue built in 1959, 47’ high and seven tons in weight


  • Midpoint of Route 66, according to some, to others it is Adrian, further west
  • 1920’s Magnolia Gas Station near courthouse, W Main at 12th


  • Midpoint of Route 66, according to some, Midpoint Café, has slogan “When you are here, you are halfway there”, has gift shop and good food and great hospitality

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