Do you know what happens in Texas? BIG things! Especially on Route 66! It doesn’t matter if it’s a small town, like Shamrock, population: 2000, give or take. That’s what we learned in July of 2018 during the Texas Welcomes the World Festival.
The festival was about Texas, Shamrock, and of course, Route 66; what’s not to love? There was food, fun, festivities, friendships, and family. Many people worked very hard to make this small town event a huge success. I HAVE to thank a very special lady, Dora Meroney. I know lots of folks made that event happen, but Dora deserves a medal! If you don’t know Dora, stop by Texas Ivy Antiques on Route 66 in Amarillo, Texas and meet her. I’m certain you’ll love her as much as the rest of us Route 66 Roadies do!
Richard and I with Dora Meroney
You may wonder, what was so special about the Texas Welcomes the World Festival? Well, lots of things actually. We spent our nights at the Route 66 Inn; it was very clean, roomy, comfortable, and quiet. Outside, they had a gazebo of sorts, so every night, friends came over for fellowship and fun-we really enjoy our Route 66 family reunions! One evening, I was walking along Route 66 taking photos and was approached by a gentleman who introduced himself as Tye. He told me he sang and played guitar at Vern’s Steakhouse, adding he had painted many of the murals around town. (Be sure to check out the murals all around Shamrock-they’re cool!) I invited Tye to come hang out with us that evening. Soon, he joined our reunion outside, even bringing his guitar! (and beer) He sang for us while playing his guitar-it was a pretty nice treat.
“Gazebo” outside the Route 66 Inn
Murals by TYE
When people think of Shamrock, Texas, they often think about the majestic U Drop Inn, with its glorious neon illuminating the evening sky. I had been really looking forward to photographing it and apparently, so did everyone else. The stunningly beautiful neon did not disappoint! My Dad and I walked up there one evening to photograph it. Our opportunity to photograph the U Drop Inn without someone getting in the photo was almost impossible. I vowed to return during a future Route 66 adventure and photograph it.
U Drop Inn
The days were hot and of course they would be: it was July in Texas. During the day, other small businesses like mine set up our wares in a large community center (did I mention it was air conditioned?) located off Route 66. Although I had tables set up, I wandered off a few times to meet people, look as the wares of others, and I even snuck outside to see a few of the cars participating in the car show. I heard there were even long horns (cattle) nearby, but I didn’t get to see them.
A couple of the cool cars at the festival
Saturday night was a real treat when our beloved Route 66 Band, The Road Crew, performed at the community center. What a GREAT time had by all! I am 100% certain the band made several new fans that night. This amazing festival ended Sunday morning. We all met at the community center for a delicious catered breakfast. Saying goodbye to our Route 66 family is always hard. What should take 5 minutes usually ends up being 30 minutes. But that’s ok, it’s really, “Until next time…”
The Road Crew
Please join us at the Texas Welcomes the World Route 66 Festival in Shamrock, Texas! The fun kicks off on Thursday, July 12, 2018, at 9:00 am and continues throughout the weekend until around 2:00 pm on Sunday, July 15, 2018. No Route 66 festival is complete without a car show, so there will be some cool cars to view and enjoy. Do you envision a real life rodeo when you think of Texas? Don’t miss out on the rodeo and live country music! Saturday evening will be a real treat for everyone, as the amazing band, The Road Crew, will perform. They are a favorite of Route 66ers from Chicago to L.A.
One highlight of this fun festival will be helicopter rides and an air show-how cool is that!?!
The festival includes an art show, which will be a display of artists from the Unites States. And vendors…did we mention vendors? Yes! Come in out of the heat awhile and see the collector displays, crafts, art, shirts, signs, homemade soaps, hand made jewelry, and much much more. (RJ’s Route 66 will be there, so please stop by and introduce yourself, we’d love to meet you!) Some spectacular authors will be with the vendors, so be sure and meet them and pick up some excellent books! Route 66 Associations from several states will be in attendance; these associations are detrimental for the future of our beloved Route 66 and there are many great reasons to become members. *We will all be located in the Shamrock Community Center, 911 S. Main Street, Shamrock, Texas 79079.
For more information about this great event, click the link to go to the Texas Welcomes the World website. Can’t wait to see you there!
Richard, as I’ve mention before, initiated our love of Route 66. His original plan was to travel the entire Route on his motorcycle. Since he and his friend Danny had traveled the Route east of Springfield, Missouri, they formed a plan to travel the entire Route west of Springfield. Richard and Danny packed their bags onto their motorcycles the night before their trip. They even took a tent so they could camp out and save a little money.
This trip was during the month of October. I grew up on a farm and knew during that time of the year, deer went a little crazy, looking for love, sometimes, in all the wrong places, like the middle of Route 66! I made Richard and Danny promise me they would not drive after dark, which would cut down on their chances of hitting a deer. Deer vs. motorcycle accidents never end well for the deer, the motorcycle, and most of all, the driver.
Richard and Danny left early one morning and took off west. The first 24 hours of their trip was without incident. They camped at a campground just north of Stroud, Oklahoma, the first night.
The next morning, Richard and Danny packed up and continued west on Route 66. As the sun was setting, they were somewhere near Shamrock, Texas, and hadn’t located a campground. Danny suggested they find a spot just off the roadway and pitch a tent. Richard is a stickler for the rules and this made him a bit nervous. Unfortunately, it was quickly getting too dark to see and there really were no other options. They pitched the tent and spent the night.
Richard awoke in the very early hours of the next morning. He typically is not an early riser, especially if the sun isn’t up yet. However, Danny lived on the east coast at that time. He regularly woke very early and went to work. Throw in the time change factor and that probably made it seem like the middle of the night for Richard. Danny was already packing, so Richard got up and packed up his motorcycle, too. Although there was no hint of a sunrise, Richard got on his bike and drove west on Route 66, with Danny a little way behind him.
A short distance west of Shamrock, Texas, Richard rounded a corner at approximately 60 miles an hour and saw a large 7 point buck (male deer) standing sideway in the westbound lane of 66. With no time to stop or swerve, Richard tucked in tightly to his motorcycle and hung on for the inevitable. As he struck the deer, its body wrapped around Richard’s bike, leaving hoof marks on both sides of the gas tank. As the deer fell to the ground, Richard was somehow able to keep the motorcycle upright and coasted onto the shoulder of the road. Oil and other fluids from his totaled motorcycle immediately drained onto the edge of the road.
A Texas Trooper responded and investigated the wreck for an accident report. He told Richard he was very lucky, explaining a week before, a married couple on a motorcycle struck a deer on the same portion of the road. Sadly, they did not survive the wreck. Richard told Danny to continue the trip. There was nothing he could do if he would have stayed, so reluctantly, Danny continued west.
Richard called me later and told me what happened. He asked if I would grab a few things and drive his pickup to Shamrock, Texas, to get him and the motorcycle. He said he was going to the hospital to get checked, but he assured me he was alright. I grabbed the equipment he requested and headed out the door, en route to the U Drop Inn, where Richard said he’d be waiting for me.
I do believe in obeying the law, even though I sometimes catch myself driving a little too fast. However, this was an exception. My husband was just in a terrible accident, his motorcycle was totaled, and he was hundreds of miles away from home. I’m certain I broke every speed limit law all the way there. Richard was shocked to see me when I pulled up to U Drop Inn, stating he didn’t expect me for a few more hours. He suggested we drive out to the tow yard and load up his motorcycle before they closed for the day.
We went to the tow yard, paid our bill, and loaded the motorcycle into the bed of the truck. Afterward, he gathered the clothes and other belongings he once had packed onto the bike. I had just put some things into the truck when I heard a strange noise I’d never heard before. It slightly sounded like a baby rattle, but muffled and deeper. Puzzled, I looked back at Richard and saw him jumping into the air, as the noise continued. Richard said it was a rattle snake and he almost stepped on it. Honestly, I am a good wife, but the first thing I said was, “Let me get the camera!” I snapped a few photos of the devil snake before making sure Richard was alright. I told him, “Get in the truck and let’s get the hell out of here!”
I felt like I almost lost my husband twice that day, so we just needed to leave. We got in the truck and I drove home, much slower than I did on my trip to Shamrock earlier that day. No one would have ever known how fast I drove to Shamrock, if only Richard wouldn’t have checked that dang GPS on the way home. We’ve been back to Shamrock a few times since that terrible day, and loved it, but we always think about the unfortunate events of that day.