Ed and I had a slow start, and not because I had been out at Knuckle Head Reds until 1am, it was only 3.2% beer after all. It’s just that neither of us seemed to be in a rush to get on the road. If that had been Ed’s first night in a real bed for a while then perhaps he just enjoyed it too much. I was just being a lazy arse.
One of the reasons Ed had wanted to stay in Elk City was because it is home to the National Route 66 Museum, so after breakfast that is where we went.
Now, I’m not so sure about the National bit in the museum’s name, as it is small and seems to be organised entirely by the Elk City Historical Society, but it is relatively well done for a small city museum. The museum is actually 4 separate small museums, only one of which is dedicated to Route 66. The other 3 museums are a very small Transport museum, an Elk City town museum which is the biggest of the three, and a Farm and Ranch museum. It costs $5 admission to all for museums, or $3 to one individually. We paid the $5 entry to all 4.
The ladies who run the ‘drugstore’ refreshments are lovely but could talk all day, so we didn’t end up getting away from the museum until 1pm.
Elk City isn’t far from the Texas border, and it wasn’t long before I’d bagged my 7th state of this trip, but all of them are states that the Trooper and I visited before.
One of our first stops in Texas was Shamrock home of the Conoco Tower. You might recognise it if you’ve seen the animated Disney movie, Cars.
We tried following the old Route 66 as much as we could, but unexpectedly encountered several dead-ends, as well as the odd gravel road, and had to revert to the interstate for large sections. There are stretches of the old Route 66 that are gravel roads, but my aversion to them just won’t let me ride them if I have another choice.
At another stop, we came across this restored Philips 66 gas station. And that’s my riding buddy, Ed, in the photo.
And then we stumbled across the Bug Ranch at the intersection for Conway, obviously inspired by the more famous Cadillac Ranch. It’s a seemingly pointless collection of derelict VW Beetle cars with their noses embedded in the ground. Like the Cadillacs, they are covered in graffiti. While they look pretty cool, I couldn’t see what they were the bait to lure people to, but hey why not stick some graffiti covered bugs in the ground?
Western Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle are flat places, so we could see the rain for miles ahead. It had been a hot day and a little rain might have been rather pleasant, but as we rode into it, it turned out to by a heavy downpour. The amount of surface water and spray was making riding on the interstate hazardous, so we pulled off looking for shelter to wait out the storm. It didn’t take too long to pass, and then the sun was hot again and the temperature back up in the high 90s, so it didn’t take long to dry out my wet jeans.
We rode into Amarillo in the evening and where greeted at the welcome centre with a sign advising us to leave the rattlesnakes alone. As if I’d do anything but give them a wide berth.
I attempted my usual ritual of trying to locate a bar and then a hotel near it, but whilst were certainly bars in Amarillo, there didn’t seem to be any conveniently located hotels. I had booked the Trooper into Tripp’s Harley-Davidson for a service the next morning, so at Ed’s suggestion I found a hotel right next door to the H-D dealer. We had to ride to eat, which meant only one beer over dinner. After a bit of searching I found a gas station selling take out beers, so put a six-pack in the saddle bag for later consumption.
Even though I am a smoker, my preference is a no-smoking hotel room. I just don’t like sleeping in the smokey atmosphere I guess. This means I stand outside to smoke, as I do at home. Often that is opportunity to meet other people doing the same, and they were certainly a few interesting characters staying at our hotel. The two I spoke with seemed to know most of the meth-dealing gangs around Amarillo as well as half the local prison population. They were nice people to chat with, and I shared a couple of beers with them, but I’m not sure I’d want to meet all their associates. When she heard I was heading to Sturgis later in the trip, the girl (I didn’t catch her name) asked if I’d take her with me. I had to decline, the Trooper’s pillon seat was already full of my luggage.