Sunday, April 21, 2013

Route 66 Day Five: Sandhills Curiosity Shop

Heading out of Shamrock Texas on Old 66, we anticipated our next stop, Sandhills Curiosity Shop in Erick, Oklahoma (201 S Sheb Wooley Ave, just off Highway 40). The AAA guide named Sandhills the most interesting stop on The Mother Road. As we rode down deserted Sheb Wooley, Erick’s main street, it was difficult to imagine that such a reportedly lively and fascinating stop was nearby. Then we saw the man in overalls with the big beard sitting on the porch of one of the businesses. As we exited the car with camera in hand, his voice bellowed,“Y’all that group from Weatherford? We thought you weren't coming today, after all.” As he started opening the shop, I notice that dusk was approaching, and this odd introduction made the whole thing a little scary, a bit of an adventure.

Soon we were sitting amongst the most extensive collection of 66 memorabilia I had ever seen, none of which was for sale. There were coins sprinkled on every surface and littered all over the floor. Harley and Annabelle begin to tell us their life story, sprinkling references to sex and drugs that captured my 10-year old's attention, but never crossed the line.  Harley explained how he and his wife accidentally became a singing and dancing roadside attraction one afternoon when they were goofing off with the instruments in their failed music store. After a group of French touring bikers accidentally mistook the amateurs for actual entertainers and left hundreds of dollars in tips, a show was born. They soon gave up their jobs at the Motel 8 to run the Sandhills Curiosity shop full time. Now they average 300 shows a year for groups that stop there as part of their tour of Route 66 attractions.

Harley and Annabelle and the Sandhills Curiosity shop have been immortalized in the Disney movie, Cars, and they’re are featured on a Route 66 ride at Disney's California Adventure Park in Anaheim, CA. They are also featured at the end of a video that we created about family adventures on Route 66:

Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Williams, Arizona

Williams, AZ  In the charming, Frontier-town buildings, you can watch a Wild West gunfight before taking an old steam train into the Grand Canyon. We’ve even camped in one of the Williams KOA Kamping Kabins, and relived the adventures of the day by a warm fire while the fall night fell and the temperature dipped below freezing. If you get tired of drinking your Sapphire and Tonics from cold stainless steel camping cups, I heartily recommend a drink at the Grand Canyon Lodge Lobby Bar, close to where you’ll disembark the Grand Canyon Railway.

Even less of a detour, planning your overnight stop to occur at the Hampton Inn Flagstaff, and you can see the beauty of Coconino National Forest from your room.
If you decided to bunk in Kingman after your first day of travel, there’s plenty to see as you head east on Old 66 from downtown Kingman. Follow the Mother Road across the rugged desert, 30 miles to the old-fashioned gas pumps and weather-beatensign collection at the Hackberry General Store. Continue 40 miles to the cement Dinosaur in front of Grand Canyon Caverns, a nostalgic and interesting stop on Route 66.

30 miles south of Flagstaff is our family’s favorite Arizona 66 side trip, Sedona. We usually stay at the Hampton Inn and then hike up to the Vortex at Red Rock (you can find out at a crystal shop, but don’t pay for a map or a tour; their easy to get to) to meditate on things that we want to happen in our lives. We’ve done it a couple of times and our “wishes” have all come tree. It’s the kind of place that takes hold of you and transports you. I remember my 4-yr-old hiking back to the car for 45 minutes in complete silence, transformed by a meditative state induced by one of the vortexes in Sedona. It seems crazy, but take a sidetrip to Sedona, and watch your dreams come true. Even if I’m wrong, you’ll still enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the red rocks.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day Four, Route 66 Family Tour: First Stop, Shamrock, Texas

As we leave Amarillo and cross Texas on I-40, running parallel to Old 66, the next stop is Shamrock, Texas, home of one of the most carefully-preserved relics from Route 66' heyday, the Tower Conoco and U-Drop Inn. Built in 1936, these fabulous examples of art deco architecture is right off the I-40 and definitely worth a stop.

Before crossing into Oklahoma, check out the ghost town of Texola. In the next post, we'll visit the wacky Sandhills Curiosity Shop, one of the most interesting stops on the Mother Road.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Route 66 oil paintings show retro neon signs in unusual light

While most depictions of neon signs show them glowing at night, I discovered this view of some of these retro roadside beauties in the iconic Tucumcari, New Mexico sunlight. These original oil paintings were made to celebrate the beautiful imagery found during a Route 66 road trip. In any event, the first one, shown above, “Del's Route 66 Retro Neon Sign, Tucumcari”, rather small at 14" X 11", sold as soon as it was dry. I am currently working up some new ones; here's the latest, still available in my online store. “Apache Motel, Route 66 Retro Road Sign” is an 18" x 24" oil on canvas-wrapped panel.