Day 4: June 17, 2003
Into Texas



In Chandler, the Lincoln Motel appears to be going strong and the old filling station seems pretty sturdy, too. When I pulled in, the little teddy bear in the lower right corner was laying face down a few feet from where it is now. I propped him up against the curb to watch for his owner's return or to guard the station.

The familiar round barn in Arcadia and a new sign. These signs are sponsored by Hampton Motels and while I'm heading west, an RV led caravan is heading east and posting signs along the way. We crossed somewhere in or around St. Louis. The sign at Ted Drewes was only a day or so old when I saw it.

Into Oklahoma City and past the capitol. Then on to the memorial where the Murrah Building once stood. Construction was underway when I was here in 1999 and what is called the "Oklahoma City National Memorial" was dedicated on April 19, 2000. Exactly five years after the bombing. There are many different facets to the memorial and it even includes the only remaining Murrah Building wall sections. A museum is housed in the 80 year old Journal Record Building that survived its neighbor. Chalkboards are embedded in the area in front of the museum and oversized sticks of chalk are available for drawing or writing. The wall behind this area is made up of tiles drawn by school children.

Crossing the Canadian River, I made up my mind to count the many spans this time but someone had already done this and marked them, too. Not a one was missing.

The town of Canute isn't unique for having several empty motels and filling stations but they seem unusually prominent here. A drive through Canute leaves little doubt that the highway was its undoing. In the cemetery east of town is something that does set Canute a little bit apart. There you will find a life size bronze of Jesus on the cross and another full size figure in the tomb below. The WPA constructed these in the 1930s.

Just beyond Canute, there is a short drivable section of the old road that has been bypassed. Quite a bit of the old road surface exists around here but much of that remains in use.

Moore & Grauwels' 1998 "Illustrated Guidebook to the Mother Road", identifies this intersection in Erick as unique on the route in that doors on every corner faced the intersection diagonally. One building was gone when I was through in 1999 and nothing has yet replaced it. I stood there to take these pictures. The building to the left (north-east corner) has signs saying that it will soon be a museum for King of the Road and Erick favorite son Roger Miller.

A true icon, the U-Drop-Inn in Shamrock, Texas, is getting new life. Now owned by the city, it is being restored by Phoenix Restoration and Construction and will be used for city offices and a tourist center. The restoration is pretty impressive and includes brand new table tops made to look as if their surface has been worn by thousands of elbows. The restaurant won't be serving any food but it is the one section of the building that will be open to the public. Lots of information - and memories - will be available there. Jimmy, one of the Phoenix employees, said he thought they might be ready to open in a month or so.

I figured my day was nearly over and was considering stopping in Shamrock. I had spotted a motel or two but no promising places to eat. When I asked Jimmy, he suggested the Red River Steakhouse just down the road in McLean. McLean is a real triple threat with one of the best classic motels on 66, a great restaurant, and one of the more interesting museums any where. The motel is the Cactus and the restaurant is the Red River. The museum is "The Devil's Rope/Route 66 Museum" and will educate you considerably on both subjects. In 1999, I came through McLean earlier in the day and enjoyed the museum immensely but didn't eat or sleep here. I did it differently, this time around.

ADDENDUM: While checking out, I learned that the folks who run the Cactus, Jane & Gordon Sheplor, had no intention of running a motel when they first acquired the property. They fixed up a couple of rooms so that visiting offspring had a place to stay but it was strictly non-commercial. Somewhere along the line, they were talked into renting one of the rooms and for awhile they operated a one unit motel. "You had to get your reservations in early", according to Jane. Now they offer several of the nicer rooms available on Old 66. Definitely recommended - (806) 779 2346 -

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