This work work was "borrowed" from,
Texas Route 66 Association
Updated February 25, 2001
Known as the Panhandle because of the way it juts north from the rest of Texas, this part of the route is a nearly 200-mile stretch of pancake-flat plains. Almost devoid of trees or other features, the western half, stretching into New Mexico, is also known as the Llano Estacado or "Staked Plains," possibly because early travelers marked their route by driving stakes into the earth.
The Texas Panhandle was the southern extent of the buffalo-rich grasslands of the Great Plains, populated by roving bands of Kiowa and Comanche Indians as recently as 100 years ago. Now oil, gas, and helium production, as well as trucking and Route 66 tourism, have joined ranching as the region's economic basis.
The only sections of original Route 66 not available are between Glenrio (Texas-New Mexico border) to Adrian and between Jericho and Alanreed. Otherwise, Route 66 still exists even with original concrete paving.
Of the 178 miles of Old Route 66 across Texas, approximately 150 miles remain. From Texola to Amarillo, Old 66 lies on the south side of I-40 except at McLean. From Amarillo west to Glenrio, Old 66 lies on the north side of I-40.
Starting your journey at Texola, take the south service road into Shamrock, Texas, staying on Business 66. Enjoy the vintage motel district and the famous U-Drop Inn.
Leaving Shamrock, stay on the south frontage road and enjoy the most authentic stretch of Old Route 66 in existence. At Exit 143, you will enter cross under I-40 and enter McLean, Texas on Westbound Business 66. Please observe one-way traffic while driving in the city.
While in McLean, visit the Devil's Rope Museum/Texas Route 66 Exhibit complex and watch for great murals on the buildings. Main Street, houses the Avalon Theater and The McLean/Alanreed Area Museum showing area history including The McLean P.0.W. Camp Exhibit.
Westbound 66 also passes the First Phillips 66 Service Station in Texas. Pull in to this restored Icon and video your car and family "fillin' up".
Leaving McLean, continue on the south service road to Alanreed, which contains the oldest cemetery, and the oldest Baptist Church on Texas Route 66. Also see the 66 Super Service Station. Sadly, the Regal Reptile Ranch had been totally destroyed. Stay on the south service road to Exit 132 and enter I-40 to Highway 70 at Jericho. The Old Route turns into dirt roads, missing segments, and private property in this area. Watch for the Lake McClellan Exit as the Lake offers excellent camping, RV spaces, lots of trees, and wildlife.
Turn south on Highway 70 to Jericho. This segment of the Route was famous for the sticky, gumbo mud that stalled travelers in the rainy season. Back to the south service road, you come to Groom and the Leaning Water Tower, Ruby and her Golden Spread Café, and the tallest Cross in the Western Hemisphere. Leave Groom on the south service road and travel to Conway. From Conway to the I-40 rest stop is another open stretch of original 66 complete with "thumpety-thump" road joints.
Two eras of Route 66 history are represented in Amarillo. Old Third Street and Sixth Street are favorite journeys. Later, Amarillo Boulevard became a favorite. Both contain many vintage 66 sites for the travelers. Contact the Historic Route 66 Association of Amarillo for further guidance.
Leave Amarillo on the north service road. Watch for the Cadillac Ranch, as you will have to cross I-40 to see it. From Amarillo west visit Bushland and Wildorado. Many of the early buildings were torn down during I-40 construction.
The old route jogged in Vega. Many great vintage buildings can be seen in the town with Dot's Mini-Museum a "must see" for tourists. One of the original service stations is standing near the beautiful Court House Square. The Vega Motel, of 66 vintage, is still operating.
As you travel west to Adrian, watch to the north for two old Route 66 bridges. In Adrian, be sure to stop at the Mid-way Cafe for the best burger in Texas and a slice of homemade pie. The service road will dead-end at the Caprock west of Adrian. The old route completely disappears under the I-40 alignment until a mile before you reach Glenrio. It re-appears as the south service road into town. Although Glenrio is now a ghost town, many original buildings still stand.
If you would like to join our group and help support the history and revival of Old Route 66, print out the membership application, enclose your dues, and mail it to:
Route 66 Association
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