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Grapes of Wrath

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Amarillo, Texas

sunny 101 °F
View Route 66 on klemmes's travel map.

Leaving Oklahoma City, we came across "Pony Bridge" in Hydro. A 1933 bridge using 38 ponies (or small trusses) for support. We also stopped by "Lucille's," an old Route 66 gas station ran by Lucille Hamons for several decades. We then made our way into Weatherford, OK and stopped for lunch at the Cherokee Trading Post. Here, Ginine and I both sampled buffalo burgers. No wonder they are endangered...Tasty!
After lunch, we visited two Route 66 museums in Clinton and Elk City. In front of us in the museum tour we met up with the small group of Scandinavians. Later down the road we decided to check out the Sand Hills Curiosity Shop, only to find the entire gang of the Scandinavian Riders Across America crowded inside the small shop, listening to "Harley and Annabelle, the Mediocre Music Makers." Just before we could turn around, we found ourselves standing shoulder to shoulder with the motorcyle tour gang from Scandinavia. Being past a tamborine and lyrics (in case we didn't know them in English) and singing along to "Get Your Kicks On Route 66" with some fifty strangers. A truly unique and entertaining coincidence for the memory bank. Our last stop before the Texas State line was Texalo, Oklahoma. Considered to be a ghost town, we found only a few buildings. One of these being an old one cell territorial jail. Throughout the older sections of 66, most of Oklahoma had the original road bed with it's rhythmic "thump, thump" as you rolled over the Portland Cement slabs from 1927.
After crossing into Texas, we came into the town of Shamrock. Here we found the 1936 "U Drop Inn/Tower Cononco." As an iconic art deco masterpiece, some might recognize its architecture as "Ramones" from the Disney/Pixar movie Cars. We then continued on to McLean to find a perfectly restored Phillips 66 station. As we proceeded down the road we attempted to follow the old road until enventually we hit our first bit of rough terrain. Known as the beginning of "Jericho Gap," its marks the last 18 mile section of paved 66 in this area in the 1930s. We were driving along as normal before being launched into a dirt road filled with uneven terrain and potholes. Remembering the book the Grapes of Wrath, the rough terrain caused early travellers to keep their cars literally wired together to prevent the cars from falling apart. Since one of our guide books mentioned it was on private property, we only went about a mile before turning back around. Although difficult to drive, the view of the landscape and surrounding ranches was truly majestic.
Before making it to Amarillo, we first passed by the leaning water tower in Groom. Followed by the giant cross in Groom. The "Cross of our lord, Jesus Christ" stands 190 feet tall and can be seen throughout the whole town. After entering Amarillo, we stopped to have dinner at the Big Texan. The Big Texan is home of the original 72 oz steak challenge. Started in 1960, due to a wager a group of men made to see who could eat the most steak. One man put away 4 and 1/2 pounds of steak.

  • "Beginning in the mid-1960s signs began cropping up along the Mother Road inviting travelers to come in for a 72-oz. steak dinner that was FREE if it could be eaten in one hour. Thousands of road-weary youngsters practiced their ciphering as they converted 72 ounces into four and one-half pounds. Those Big Texan signs became as much of the nation’s culture as the old Burma Shave signs. One company has long-since disappeared with the dust of the old road, but the other still flourishes. Big Texan Steak Ranch billboards can still be seen to the east and west of Amarillo along Interstate 40 and on major north-south routes that run through the Panhandle." - Big Texan

Facts: - in 1963, Klondike Bill - professional wrestler- downed 2 meals in one hour
- the youngest to ever complete the challenge was an 11 year old boy
- the oldest, a 69 year old grandmother
- and the record is held by the World Hot Dog Eating Champ, Joey Chestnut. In 2008, he ate the meal in 8
minutes and 52 seconds
We decided against ordering the "special" and instead shared a smaller steak. But if you care to watch others attempt the slab, you can watch live at http://www.bigtexan.com/ . We then called in a night and headed back to the hotel.

P.S. a shout out goes to the Texas Klemmes in Lubbock. Sorry we didn't have time to visit : (

Song of the day: "Our Town" by James Taylor

Posted by klemmes 16:24 Archived in USA Tagged tourist_sites

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