Usually in the fall, Allen and I like to jump on the motorcycle and take a road trip. We seem to gravitate toward the western states, so when our friends said they wanted to go west for their first motorcycle road trip, we were more than willing.
We decided years ago, that motorcycling across blustery Oklahoma was no fun. Extreme cross winds and dust make for a tiring ride for my chauffeur and I definitely didn’t want him worn out before we got started. So, hauling the bikes to a pre-determined destination made more sense for us.
Part of our route took us along an older route. Route 66.
Before Interstate 40 was built, Route 66, or The Mother Road, was one of the first major highways going west. Sadly, most of the towns along this route are now gone, but fortunately some of the landmarks are still around.
Our first stop was Lucille’s Service Station in Hydro, OK.
Built in 1929, this porch style station is very unique in design. Lucille’s family bought the station in 1941 and named it for her. She worked here for 60 years and was so helpful to travelers, she was nicknamed the Mother of the Mother Road.
Our next stop was the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton, OK.
Not too far down the road is Elk City, OK.
Elk City is home to the National Route 66 Museum. This is a collections of buildings depicting a 2oth-century village. Included is a farm and ranch museum along with an authentic blacksmith shop.
Here is one of the original road graders used in the construction of Route 66.
It is also home to a giant Kachina doll named Myrtle. A Kachina is a spirit in the Hopi and Pueblo Indian cultures and can represent anything from sun or stars to weather and crops. Myrtle has been greeting travelers of Route 66 since 1962. There is a whole village here and we only had about an hour to explore before they closed. It’s worth a stop if you’re in the area, just give yourself a couple of hours.
Next up was the leaning water tower of Groom, TX.
There are many stories that claim to be the reason for the leaning. Earthquakes, tornadoes, and too much water in the tower are the most popular theories. In reality, the owner of the local truck stop (Mr. Britten) had the empty tower brought in and placed just like this next to his truck stop. People would pull off Route 66 to look at the tower and, while they were there, they would eat and fuel up. The truck stop is long gone but this unique marketing tactic still remains.
The next day, we left Amarillo early. Our first side trip was a visit to the Cadillac Ranch just west of Amarillo.
In 1974, an Amarillo billionaire decided he wanted to create a piece of art that would be so outrageous it would puzzle everyone. He hired a group of “hippies” from San Fransisco who had the idea of using Cadillacs for their masterpiece. The idea was to document the evolution of the Cadillac’s tail fin. Ten Cadillacs (from years 1949 to 1963) were brought to the site and buried half-way nose down. It didn’t take long for people to start defacing the cars and removing bits and pieces in the process.
Much to everyone’s surprise, the Texas billionaire encouraged the act. Today, many make the pilgrimage to the ranch to make their own statement.
Hmmm. I wonder who did that.
So much more to come….