My wife and I just returned from a week-long road-trip vacation out West. The trip was for our second anniversary, and to have one last big trip before the baby is born in a few months. After much deliberating, we decided to drive to the Grand Canyon. Caroline and had never been to the Grand Canyon before, and the one time I’d been there had been pretty rushed. After some difficulties with flights on a few recent trips, we decided it might be best to drive this time around. We’d have more time and freedom to travel at our own pace, and to see some different places. So after arranging dog-sitters and ensuring that my car could handle a cross-drive, we loaded up the car for the trip west.
It would be a lot of driving, but luckily the drive to Arizona would follow the path of old Route 66. The most famous road trip in the country, Route 66 features tons of quirky old shops, diners, tourist traps and ghost towns. So instead of just hours of boring freeway driving, we would be free to detour off the interstate and visit some stops along Route 66 whenever we pleased. It was a great way to break up the drive, and provided plenty of chances to get out and rest (and take pictures) along the way.
We left Little Rock in the morning and crossed into Oklahoma a few hours later. Starting in Oklahoma City, Interstate 40 begins to run parallel to the remains of Route 66. At the small town of El Reno, we exited and then drove along a stretch of Route 66. This drive was unique because it featured some of the original concrete that was installed way back in the 1930s. Besides for a few cracks and bumps, it was in surprisingly good condition.
When we first started driving down this stretch of Route 66, Caroline reported that she felt the baby kicking several times. So the kid was able to get his kicks on Route 66. Which means it was either a bit of luck and a quirk of timing, or we have a genius baby.
We drove over the Historic Canadian River Bridge, which was built in 1933 and is the longest bridge on Route 66. It’s a neat old truss bridge, but there was a bit of traffic and I didn’t see a safe place to pull over to get pictures. Further down the road I did stop at the ruins of this old gas station, with this rusty old truck parked in front.
We got back onto the freeway and headed towards the town of Texola, which sits right on the border of Oklahoma and Texas. The town was founded in 1901 but is all but a ghost town now. This house sat along Route 66, and was nearly obscured by thick vines.
Looking past the thick weeds, you can see this window which has been partially broken. A somewhat creepy looking Jesus was watching as we were looking around (forgive me my trespassing?).
And the view, looking into the broken window (I was a little afraid that I might see someone or something lurking inside).
Just down the road was another abandoned building, this one a small gas station or cottage. More tall weeds have grown up and around the ruins.
Further down the road is the old Magnolia Service Station, which was built in 1930.
Across the street was this abandoned building, which also looked like it had been closed for many years.
Closer to the state line was this building, which was newer but also looked to be closed. This was painted on the side:
One other old building in Texola is the old town jail. The small one room jail was built in 1908 and has been restored.
If you go through the rusty metal door there are a few history exhibits, if you dare to go inside. Luckily it didn't lock on me when I went inside.
From there we crossed the border into Texas, and headed further West.