We left Lawton behind and took some backroads up toward Route 40 and what would become Route 66. What’s left of the old highway is a 2-lane strip that runs along the interstate most of the way. You can jump on and off the old route at regular intervals to drive through the very colorful towns lining the way east or west.
Our first stop was Elk City, home of the National Route 66 Museum, and the Old Town Museum. I was expecting more patina in the first, and a ghost town at the second. But both attractions were glitzed and glossed for maximum tourist dollars. I enjoyed the Route 66 museum anyway, for all of it’s hokiness.
Next, we landed in Erick, which houses the Sand Hills Curiosity Shop, a jumbled collection of old road signs and other memorabilia- very striking visually. The town is exactly what you might expect off the beaten path in Oklahoma, and I got busy photographing this trip back through time. Sadly, the camera malfunctioned and I lost many of my favorite images from Erick. But we’ll pass through again on the way back, and I’ll re-shoot.
We found a much better museum in McLean, Texas, just over the border. This was a mom and pop collection of artifacts including the original (really bad) 3-D rendering of a rattlesnake from the defunct Rattlesnake Ranch. There’s also the gigantic “Devil’s Rope” Museum with everything you would ever want to know (and more!) about barbed wire.
So we wound up in Amarillo around 5pm, rested a bit, then headed off to the Cadillac Ranch, a collaboration between the San Francisco artist collective Ant Farm, and helium millionaire Stanley March III. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this monument to public art for years, and it did not disappoint. Words fail me, so you’ll have to look at the photo!