It’s amazing that only a week ago we were all fully occupied with our work and families and now, after only three days on the road, we’re old hands at 6 am wake-up calls and 7.30 am starts.

We left Oklahoma City, revisiting the open prairies. First stop, after an early coffee to warm us up (mornings are surprisingly chilly, especially on the bikes, where the wind lowers temperatures sharply), was the Route 66 Museum in Clinton. There we met a Brazilian, accompanied by a film crew who were recording his trip, who was doing Route 66 in a pristine original Chevrolet Corvette – red and white, it got the small boy in all of us going!

A Chevrolet crovette at the Route 66 Museum, Clinton OK

A Chevrolet Corvette at the Route 66 Museum, Clinton OK - Joe on the left

The Route 66 Museum at Clinton OK

The Route 66 Museum at Clinton OK

Moving on, we crossed into Texas, passing the “towns” of Erick and Texola – the two of them would fit in a handbag! It’s scary to see towns – and we saw more later on that day in Texas and, apparently will see more further along Route 66 – so devoid of any form of activity, closed up and almost tumbledown buildings, and no people on the street.

If I thought Illinois was flat, it’s positively Alpine compared to the Texas Panhandle – vast stretches in all directions, with nothing more than the odd grain silo between where you stand and the horizon.

We stopped for lunch in Shamrock, where the Irish connection was lost on the people we met, despite an annual St Patrick’s Day parade and a Blarney Bar – no, we didn’t visit it, not even in the name of authentic research! Shamrock is a once-thriving, now virtually a ghost, town, struggling to make a comeback.

The restored Conoco Tower in Shamrock TX

The restored Conoco Tower in Shamrock TX

Groom is another such town, where religious fervour overcomes such adversities as lack of facilities – an invitation from the town to visit its business district (how could one ignore such an invitation, even when on holidays) leads to three grain solos and the Blessed Mary restaurant! Just outside Groom is the cross – it doesn’t need a name – “the cross at Groom” is sufficient for a structure that stands several hundred feet tall and first can be seen five miles off. The cross also has a well-depicted sculptured layout of The Stations of the Cross.

Irish 66ers arrive in the business district, Groom TX - note the camera crew on left
Irish 66ers arrive in the business district, Groom TX – note the camera crew on left
The Cross at Groom, TX

The Cross at Groom, TX

The Stations of the Cross, Groom TX

The Stations of the Cross, Groom TX

A final run into Amarillo was spoilt by having to ask for police guidance – “show me the way to our hotel” doesn’t quite have the same ring as the Tony Christie original. In fairness, it was one of the other teams who, having got lost, looked for directions and then graciously shared their escort – no flashing lights, sirens or roadblocks, just follow me!

So, what would have been an early arrival at the hotel was a little later than planned but time enough to change for dinner (some standards must be preserved, even among bikers) at the Big Texan Steak Ranch, where 72oz steaks (a normal steak is between 8 and 12oz) are free, provided you eat it – with all the trimmings – within an hour. Sensibly, none of the 66ers tried it but, while we were eating, a young man had a go – he topped out at 49oz at the end of the hour – a good try, but no cigar!

And after a good meal, bed – ready for the morrow – Amarillo to Albuquerque.

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