June 19 - Oklahoma Route 66 - Texas Route 66 to Amarillo - Palo Duro Canyon S.P.
I survived the night at Foss Lake State Park, no problem. It was cloudy and raining when I woke up in the morning.

I had breakfast and drove to the ranger station to pay. I guess I could have just as easily just driven off, nobody had seen me there, a ranger never drove by, I didn't even think about that really. A woman in the ranger station thanked me for me honesty and accepted my $7.00....about the cheapest I've found yet. As she was making change for my $10 bill I noticed a picture on the wall, a photograph of an albino doe with its mother right next to it. A piece of paper in the frame read "Snowball - Born April 1992 died July 1998". I asked the lady about the picture.
"Awe, yeeaa. That was Snowball. She was hit by a car a few years ago. See we had a feedin' station out by the road and she just got to be so tame 'cause people were so interested in her that she wasn't 'fraid a cars any more, she got hit."
I didn't think "next to the road" was a good place for a feeding station.
"She's stuffed over at the Elk's lodge right now, but we're bildin' a new park office and we'll put her in there when it's finished. She'll be back with us then." she said looking at the photo.
I've never seen an albino deer, but I have heard about them...very rare.

I set off towards the Texas panhandle. I stopped at a little town named Sayre, OK to take a picture of the old abandoned as station. You can see that it was still cloudy and grey...all the way through Oklahoma.

The last town on Oklahoma Route 66 before the Texas state line is Texola. About all there was in Texola were a few bars. "Water Hole #2", where you have to leave your dog in the back of your truck while you're inside. The other bar was a place called "Jim's Hitchin' Place", I guess that's where you go to get "hitched up" on a weekend night. In any event there was a catchy little saying on the side of the place. I never did find "Water Hole #1" though.
Not a hundred yards from "The Place" was the Texas State Line...I took a picture as I was crossing into Texas too.....the rain had stopped for now and I saw the blue sky for the first time in a while.

Shamrock was the first town I came upon once in Texas. It apparently has quite an Irish population...or did back when the oil was really flowing. The land was changing, as was the architecture, I could feel that I was really reaching West now. I saw the first adobe building on the trip so far. It was abandoned. Shamrock is home to a great example of Art Deco architecture and a famous Route 66 landmark, "The U Drop Inn Cafe". It still operates today...it really was a spectacular building. It probably really stood proudly in the 30's and 40's. Today it's a little run down, but still charming.

I took a wrong turn somewhere past Shamrock. I was supposed to follow state route 70 South for a little while, then pick up Route 66 again, but I missed the turn, so I rode it out for a little while, South. I'm glad I did too, because the sky out there was just amazing. Big, big ranches now in Texas, bigger than those in Oklahoma. You can just barely make out a windmill on the horizon.

I got pointed in the right direction and moved on, past McLean, through Alanreed and Jericho for lunch in Groom. Right near Groom is the little town of Britten, TX. There is such a thing as "The Leaning Tower of Britten", classic roadside marketing. Just there to spark your curiosity in hopes you'll stop in town and spend some money wherever you stop to ask, "What's the deal with the leaning water tower?" It's empty....just a big billboard really, typical Route 66.

I stopped at Groom for lunch at the Golden Spread Grill. The walls were decorated with family photos of the owners, their kid's high school graduation pictures, etc. The times of listening to Ozark miners sitting around talking about getting a new truck are gone....I'm in Texas now.There were Texas cowboys in this little diner talking about running a new water line out the road to the back field for the cattle this Summer. Big white cowboy hats...I thought of the man with the ten gallon hat from the Curious George books. They scratched their heads and picked their teeth.....I'm really out here seeing it.

Just West of Groom Route 66 veered away from the highway...out into the middle of nowhere. The road was straight and empty. I was surrounded by ranch land, cows everywhere and an occasional windmill. I stopped the van in the middle of the road and got out to take that picture of the cows. As I stopped they all stopped eating and looked up. I tried to tell them that I didn't want them to pose...I just wanted a candid shot of them eating grass....but no cooperation whatsoever! That was just East of Amarillo.

At Amarillo I turned South towards Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Palo Duro Canyon is know as "The Grand Canyon of Texas", so now I've been to "The Grand Canyon of Texas" as well as "The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania."

I stopped at the ranger station and got the scoop. This was the first place I had been to where you had to tell them what site you wanted before they let you enter....no driving around and coming back...probably because the place was so big. I simply asked for a rather secluded site, not close to any RV's with their generators running all night. The lady gave me the very last campsite on the camp road...8 miles into the canyon from the ranger station. As I made my way into the canyon I looked around and knew I was really getting into the West now. The landscape looked like a John Wayne movie. The campsite turned out to be great, plenty secluded. As I ate dinner I heard chewing...and not my chewing. I looked around and believe it or not it was a rabbit outside chewing on grass. I saw a road runner too, running from bush to bush making the unique sound that they make, didn't get a picture though.

I went to bed after looking at the stars for a while through the pop top window, a nice breeze was blowing, it was a great night.


Old gas station along Oklahoma Route 66.


Water Hole #2, Texola, Oklahoma

Jim's Hitchin' Post, Texola, OK.

Oklahoma -Texas Border

Adobe building ruin.

The famous Art Deco architecture of the U Drop In Cafe.

The U Drop In Cafe from across the street.

Desolate Texas road, windmill on horizon.
 
The "Leaning Tower of Britten"


Lunch at the "Golden Spread Grill".
 
Texas Route 66, remote and straight to the horizon.
 
Curious cows.
 
 
The "Grand Canyon of Texas" at Palo Duro State Park.
 
Rabbit eating... just visible in foreground.
 
Waiting for "The Duke" to ride out from behind the hill.
 
The Westy, camping another night.
 

 
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