Motor Thru Texas, the Lone Star State! Route 66 has a rich history in Texas and I’ll show you a few spots that I have loved on the road.
** I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. This is to help support my blog and does not have any impact on my recommendations. **
Driving into Shamrock, Texas the first place you come to is Tower Station and U-Drop Inn. The station was constructed in 1936 using Art Deco architecture to grab your attention. It was designed to amaze travelers and encourage them to stop in. It offered a nice break from the flat plains of Oklahoma and welcomed you to Texas in a big way. The Tower Station/ U-Drop Inn was one of the first commercial businesses along Route 66.
McClean, Texas holds the title of first Phillips 66 gas station in Texas. The gas station fell into disrepair after many years, and a group of volunteers worked to restore the building. There’s not a lot to see in McClean but it is worth a stop for a quick photo op.
Originally Groom Texas was known for Route 66 service stations and the leaning water tower. More recently Groom has become the home of Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The land hosts a 190-foot tall steel cross, that’s a 20 story building! I told you everything is bigger in Texas! The site started as just the cross and a small building. It has grown to include the 12 stations of the cross and several other attractions. The cross does draw tourists, but the grounds are a sacred place that brings the power of the Gospel to life.
West of Amarillo is Cadillac Ranch. Created by San Francisco artists, who called themselves The Ant Farm, as a shrine to America’s love of the open road. Amarillo billionaire Stanley Marsh was a silent partner in the Ant Farm.
There are between ten and twelve Cadillacs planted in the field, and it has become popular to tag the Caddies with spray paint. The “ranch” is open year-round so feel free to stop anytime and tag your favorite Caddy, but get out there and enjoy it while you can. Over the years the obscure attraction has grown into a place for food trucks to gather and a souvenir shop.
After tagging some cars and working up an appetite, your next stop has to be Amarillo. The Big Texan Steak Ranch is the place to go! Like any good attraction, there’s something for everyone, and if you think you’re hungry enough take the 72-ounce steak dinner challenge. Eat a 72-ounce steak and all the fixings (baked potato, salad, and dessert) in an hour and your meal is free! Good Luck! If you eat too much there’s a motel on the property too, so you can stay the night and recover.
When you arrive in Adrian, Texas you will have made it to the halfway point of Route 66. Stop at the Midpoint Cafe and grab a snack and a souvenir and gear up for the second half of Route 66. The Café was built in 1928 and expanded in 1947. During the heyday of Route 66 the cafe stayed open 24 hours a day, and is the oldest operating café between Amarillo and Tucumcari, New Mexico. The Cafe’s slogan is “when you’re here, you’re halfway there!” Clever don’t ya think?!
Glenrio, Texas is the last Route 66 town in Texas and it was formally called Rock Island. Now abandoned Glenrio original Glenrio was a railroad town that had motels and restaurants and was thriving in the early days of Route 66. In 1955 the train depot closed and then later in 1975 I-40 opened and diverted traffic away from the town. That was the final blow for Glenrio. The remains can still be seen of an old motel, café, service station, the post office, and a few other buildings, as well as the old Route 66 roadbed. The alert I-40 traveler can still see the old Route 66 bridges from the highway.
Now keep reading, we’re motoring to New Mexico.