One of the great things about road trips is that if you miss out on seeing places on the first leg of the journey, one has the option of visiting them on the way back. When we rode out to Arizona, we missed out on several Route 66 sites in Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas and our journey back home provided ample opportunity to explore them.
We left Amarillo in the morning and cruised through sunny skies to our first stop at a trading post along Route 66 in Alanreed, Texas. This place served as the town’s post office, convenience store, souvenir shop and gas station. Yes, Alanreed is a very small town indeed.
After Alanreed, I decided to make a stop in McLean, Texas, which is another small Route 66 town. Although there is not much to see, there is the historic Avalon movie theater and we also needed to cool down and re-hydrate.
We then rode eastbound to Oklahoma and stopped at a border town appropriately called Texola. I stumbled upon this great little cafe called the Tumbleweed Grill and Water Hole #2. It is a relatively new business run by a fascinating free spirited lady who is also a local artist. Her story is a classic Route 66 tale: she came out to Oklahoma on a road trip, her vehicle broke down and never looked back. She fell in love with the area and soon opened up this great little place.
Elaine and I ordered lunch and we struck up a conversation with three ladies from Alabama who were also doing a Route 66 trip across America. The trio consisted of a mother, her daughter and a friend. It was their first time exploring the Mother Road and I happily shared some recommendations of towns and sites worth visiting. They all rode in a rented SUV that was heavily peppered with dead locusts.
The next stopover was Erick, OK, a town seemingly frozen in time since the 1950’s. Although most of the old buildings are well maintained, the streets were eerily vacant, it was if one had stepped into the aftermath of a recent apocalypse. The absence of people is readily explained by the mid-day heat which had already surpassed 110F.
We put down another 140 miles before making a final stop in Oklahoma City. For years I had wanted to see the famous Braum’s Milk Bottle and finally got the chance. The Braum’s Milk bottle is one of those iconic images one sees in all Route 66 books, somehow it would just seem like a sin to ignore it.
At one time, the Braum’s Milk building housed an ice-cream shop and a dairy. Thankfully it is preserved as a historic site and the giant bottle is staying put. Today, it is a Vietnamese cafe in the “little Vietnam” area of the city.
This was a nice leisurely day covering only 260 miles on the road. Perfect weather all along the way and we got to meet some great people. If only each day could be like this.