When traveling east on I-40 into Oklahoma from Texas you should take Exit 7 and head south into the town of Erick. This former boom town was founded in 1901 but fell into trouble after WW II. The main street is filled with several nice old brick buildings that unforunately are mostly empty.
Of special interest in Erick is the relic adorned “City Meat Market” building. This brick is covered in old signs the likes of which would make any antique picker green with envy. This is the current home to the Sand Hill Curiosity Shop. We did not hit Erick on a day that the shop was open. A local shared that the shop is owned and operated by a pair of characters named Annabelle and Harley, AKA the Mediocre Musicians. They will play and sing for you if you catch them there.
Erick was the birthplace of Roger Miller who fittingly was the writer and performer of the hit song “King of the Road”. Another native son is Sheb Wooley, an actor on the TV series “Rawhide” and the artist who wrote and sang that unique hit “Purple People Eater”. If you know any of these references you are dating yourself!
A detour off of I-40 to see Erick,Oklahma is worth your effort and time.
Follow old Route 66 through Elk City, Oklahoma and you will see a huge sign with the classic Route 66 design. This is the home to the self proclaimed National Route 66 museum. The musuem is actually part of a complex of very interesting historical buildings and displays.
The Route 66 museum is a transportation and travel museum that showcases the Route 66 pathway from Illinois to California. The building houses many classic cars, trucks, motorcycles and other forms of early transportation. A vintage tiny camper trailer is sure to grab your attention.
The grounds of the complex also have several other historic buildings. Some of the buildings offer the chance to view through windows pioneer era furnisings, doctor’s office and one rooom school house. The Old Town Museum is packed with excellent examples of early Oklahoma household goods. This also houses a fascinating collection of rodeo memorabila.
The complex also offers displays of early agriculture in the farm and ranch building as well as a marvelous collection of windmills that were used to pump water to livestock. The blacksmith shop is filled with, well, things made in a blacksmith shop!
Worthy of a stop, allow for at least a couple of hours to enjoy this Route 66 roadside attraction. Hop off I-40 at either Exit 32 or Exit 41 and folllow the Route 66 signs. You can’t miss the huge sign on the north side of the road.
McLean, Texas is one of the many towns on Historic Route 66 that harken back to the pre-interstate days of cross country travel. On our way from Tucson back to Indiana we stopped at McLean. Without knowing what to expect, we just drove around this small community.
The old Avalon Theatre front caught our eye. When we stopped and looked in the chained and locked front doors we could see that the entire roof had collpased. It was easy to imagine crowds waiting to buy tickets and see a movie back in the days.
There is a really cool restored Phillips 66 gas station in town. The Devils Rope Museum celebrates the history of barbed wire. Unfortunatley it was closed the day we drove by.
According to the 2010 census the current population of McLean is 778. The town is on Business 40 at mile marker 142 on I-40 east of Amarillo.