Texas on Tuesday
Day 26. June 28th. Erick, OK to Groom TX 77 miles – Total Miles – 1,494
Weather: Warm, 87 – 94 degrees, sunny, slight cross and tail wind
Well we got up in Oklahoma and ended the day in Texas. Actually about ten miles into our ride we crossed into the Lone Star state – yea!!
It is really beautiful here, although we are climbing again. The views are amazing thru the open grassland. We had about 1,000 feet of elevation gain today. The ride started out flat and then started to climb.
The first town we came to in Texas was Shamrock which has one of the most iconic symbols of Route 66 – U – Drop Inn. It is a beautifully restored art deco building that now is the home of the Chamber of Commerce and tourist information center. We of course were there early before it opened. The building originally held the Tower Station – gas station and U-Drop Inn café. Check out the attached pictures to see if you recognize this iconic building – we did.
Our next stop was the Town of McLean which claims to have the “first Route 66 Museum ever”. Lots of communities have Route 66 Museums but this is the first one to claim to be the first!! We skipped the museum and had a great lunch at a small café/market in town. McLean has a population of about 800 people and offers quite a bit for such a small town. They even have the Devils Rope Museum where evidently you can learn everything you ever wanted to about barbed wire – we skipped that museum also.
Our ride today was filled with lots of climbing and wide open spaces intermixed with a few small towns. The populations of the towns was between 36 and about 2,000, so we really had to plan ahead to make sure we had enough water and food for the long stretches of open space – we did just fine.
Today for the first time we had to ride for about 6 miles on Interstate 40, it sounds scarier than it is!! The road has a nice wide shoulder- 14ft for us to ride on and the motor vehicle drivers are great and typically pull over to the left lane anyway. We especially like the professional truck drivers – they just get it and when at all possible move over a lane for us. They also are very friendly and it is not uncommon for us to receive a friendly beep, beep and a wave when they go by.
There was a rest stop on the interstate which we stopped at for a short break – people were so funny and were asking us why we were there on our bicycle. We explained that the route had us on the interstate because there was no other roads available for us to get thru this area. The rest area sat on a high hill and had amazing views. It also had some interpretative information inside about all the wind turbines which are abundant in this area.
After getting off the interstate we had another 20 miles to Groom, TX our ending point for the day. Groom is a very small town – about 600 people, they don’t offer much here but enough to get you thru. Groom is known for The Leaning Tower of Texas. Which is a water tower which was never a working water tower bought in as a marketing ploy. The owner Roger Britten bought the tower from an adjacent town and purposefully installed it with and 80 degree angle with two legs in the ground and two dangling in midair. His truck stop and restaurant were very popular with this attraction. Unfortunately there no longer is a restaurant or truck stop here but the Leaning Tower remains and got us to stop and take a look.
Tomorrow we have a short ride to Amarillo and will take the next day off – YEA we need a break.