Sunday, June 18, 2006

Cars, Shamrock, and Route 66

What a great movie! What a treat! My girls treated me to a pre-Father's Day movie yesterday. Cars. I loved it, it was terrific. Too many blogs and websites have already done reviews. If you want a good one go here.

For me the movie brought back all sorts of nostalgiac memories both real and imagined. A longing for a world that sort of exists on the surface but scratch down deep and reality sets in. The main character of the movie, Lightning Mcqueen becomes stranded in the backwards town of Radiator Springs. A near ghost town lost in time on historic route 66. Like so many small cities it was cut off when the interstate was built and withered into obsurity. The town is so slow night time entertainment is deciding if the town's flashing yellow light is off on it's middle flash.

Ahh the venerable route 66 the magical path that winds its way from Chicago to La. It was the first highway that connected east and west. Now interstate super highways get us from here to there in speed and efficiency.

My wife and I have always loved road trips. We were married in August of 98 in Vegas. We drove there from Houston taking primarily state highways. Watching the film really got us longing for one. It will be a while though. I can't drive for another week and the thought of my spine in a car for more than 30 minutes is not a pleasant thought. However my pining for the open road won't go away.

My father's side of the family for the last 100 years have all come out of the Panhandle of Texas. They settled in Wheeler County, Texas around 1890. Wheeler County is home to the town of Shamrock located on, you guessed it historic route 66.

Many of the towns on route 66 were competing with each other for travelers. All kinds of gimmicks were used to attract drivers who needed gas, lodging and food. One of the ways this manifested was in the architecture of gas stations, restaurants and hotels. The buildings in little Radiator Springs were modeled on the art-deco designs that littered towns all over route 66. There are several buildings of this type in Shamrock.

This is the U-Drop In Diner and Gas station. My great uncle Leon was a cook here when he finished serving in the military.

Shamrock is a step back in time. It stirs a longing in my soul of a more relaxed, easier, genteel place. My Uncle Tobe has a non working farm there, and we get to visit when we like. Most recently we were up there for my Aunt Jodie-girls funeral. She had just celebrated her 100 year birthday when she passed.

My dream is to one day be able to live in a place like that. Where I can hear the grass grow and watch the yellow light flash on mainstreet at midnight.

If I'm up that late.



Mandylea said...

Great post Larry. I think so many of us long for a Route 66 lifestyle, even the younger of us! :) I think this is especially true of those of us with stress adn mood disorders, aka mental illenss (I HATE that term..YUCK) Sometimes our minds get to going so fast and we feel we just cannot control it that a lifestyle that allows us to "hear the grass grow" and ponder the flashing yellow light is so appealing.
Happy be-lated father's day.


Larry said...

Thank you... Mandy. One of these days I am going to fly to Chicago, buy a convertable and drive to LA on Route 66. How cool would that be?


Helen Losse said...


Route 66 goes through Joplin, MO as the song tells us. I wrote a piece about it a while back. I'll post it on my blog, if I can find it.

ellen said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I love road trips too. Some of my husband's and my best times have been those off the beaten path and not scheduled. We stumble in a small diner and order what the locals would have and it is a sort of bliss!

Peace Larry - your blog has taught me a lot this week!

route66news said...

Is that picture of the Magnolia station in Shamrock, too, Larry? I don't recall it being on the main drag through town (Route 66). Maybe it's on U.S. 83.

Anonymous said...

Im south of route 66 in Oklahoma and where did they find this stuff.
It goes north of me 80 miles and then drops toward oklahoma city.
Where would radiator springs be if it excisted?

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