Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 16_July 20-->Shamrock, TX

Remember to click on the pix if you want to zoom in.

Amarillo--> Shamrock today. In 2006 when I rode this route we had a 40 mph tail wind. Today we had about a 25 mph cross wind which never let up, but the temperature did go up, up to 103.

Today and the next two days we'll be on and off Route 66. This time on The Mother Road I find myself much more sensitized and sensitive to what it must have been like for folks in the 1920's--1940's to live in such expanse; be constrained to their acreage, or mileage.(A couple of days ago when riding on the Interstate we passed 4 exits, a mile in between each, all for a particular individual's ranch. Can't even imagine that much property, let alone what to do with it if I had it!) And then, for Route 66 to open up the country to both those living on this frontier as well as others who wanted to get out and see our country. So much of this area's identity is wrapped up in Route 66--even the rest stop on I-40 is bedecked in Route 66 lore.

BR mosaic
Mosaic on the bathroom wall at the rest stop on I-40

Warning outside the rest room at the I-40 rest stop. If you can't read the sign, the warning is about staying on the path to avoid the rattlesnakes. Now that's not a Chicago hazard.

Breaks your heart to see these tiny little towns like Conway and Groom that were once booming and that are now nearly ghosted with population in the 2-300's. I wonder, too, as I ride through the emptiness, what it would be like, who I would be, if I had grown up and lived in a place such as Conway. I say that not as a "one up" statement, simply a musing; there are always gifts and debits to everyone's culture.

Lunch was in McClean, TX, population 500ish, about twice the size of Canning where we lunched with the flies yesterday. Seems the biggest "industry" in McClean is the Route 66 Museum. Spent a few minutes inside and came out with 3 take-aways: first, no clue what the significance of barbed wire was back in those days, but it apparently was HUGE. The Museum entrance is even flanked by two huge balls of barbed wire; books on barbed wire fill the shelves; and evidence on the walls that each state on The Mother Road has a Barbed Wire Association. Second, the devastation of the Dust Bowl, back in an era when there was no federal aid for disasters; and 3rd actually cost me $1.08--a Don't Mess With Texas decal for Daniel who has been wanting one for some time.

Devil's Rope Museum
Devil's Rope Museum in McClean

Barbed Wire decoration
Barbed Wire balls flanking the entrance to the museum

Barbed Wire Hx
One of many books on the history of Barbed Wire

Barbed Wire Association
Barbed Wire Collectors Association plaques.

1st Phillips 66 Station in TX
The 1st Phillips 66 station in Texas built in 1920 which operated for 50 years.

Another scorcher of a day, but the mileage was only 93 so not quite so debilitating.

Tonight we're in the Irish Inn in Shamrock. Our hotels could be rated by the towels. There are three grades of hotels/towels: Plush (lots of heft and absorbency and actually big enough to wrap around your body), See Through (no explanation needed), and Exfoliating, (so coarse you'd think you were drying with a spa-grade lufa). The Shamrock is of the third ilk.

Conoco in Shamrock
Route 66 icon. Russell is a rider, not an icon :)


Anonymous said...

Hello Susan,
So enjoying your writings and sense of humor! I remember something way back in my brain about barbed wire from high school history class. Barbed wire was a genius invention in the 19th century that helped keep the livestock in and the predators out. Perhaps that explains the Museum’s celebration of barbed wire -- a curiosity none the less!?

Continued good health and fun on your journey.


Susan said...

Thanks, Andrea. Do you suppose that has something to do with the song in Oklahoma about the cowboys and the farmers should be friends?