Day Six on Route 66 — From a great museum to five buried VW Bugs

(June 29, 2016) You probably won't find it on many travel guides, but the five Volkswagen Beetle frames buried nose down in the dirt near Conway, Texas — called the "Slug Bug Ranch" — is an obvious answer to the nearby and considerably more famous Cadillac Ranch. But at the Slug Bug people are urged to bring their spray paint and add their own touch to the colorful display.

It's easy to find, just off Interstate 40 at Exit 96 in the Texas panhandle. Simply park and walk around the Bugs, as well as another old, and equally painted automotive antique. It wasn't exactly teeming with tourists when we were there, in fact we were the only people present when we stopped Tuesday afternoon.

What's it all about? Who knows. We could find no explanation on the internet or from any of the locals we talked with. It's just another in a long list of quirky attractions that dot the landscape on old Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. One thing we did discover — no one polices the area. It's littered with trash including used up spray cans. A destroyed service station is close by. But it's worth the 30 minutes it will take to look over the unusual display if you are traveling I40 in the Texas panhandle.

The MotorwayAmerica crew of editors Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman and their wives, Luci and Trudye, are making their way along the old road from Chicago to Santa Monica. The sixth day took the four in a new 2016 Dodge Durango supplied by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles from Yukon, Okla. (near Oklahoma City) to Amarillo, Texas. Day seven today will cover only about 120 miles from Amarillo to Tucumcari, N.M.

We discovered that Oklahoma, with over 400 miles of old 66, offers some of the most nostalgia sections of the road where the original pavement remains along with the unusual curbing along the edge. There are also some unique bridges. The Pony Bridge, a 38-span pony truss bridge over the South Canadian River on US 281 near Bridgeport built in 1933, is one of the most extraordinary and picturesque. The bridge reportedly has been marked for replacement because of its age. That would be a tragedy and the loss of an historic Route 66 landmark.

The most interesting visit of the day came at the Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Okla. It offers a comprehensive history of Route 66 from its inception in the early 1920s to its eventual demise in the '80s when it was decommissioned as the interstate highway system neared completion making the Mother Road obsolete.

The museum's galleries offer visitors a personal journey through the history of the nation's most revered highway. Visitors will encounter the iconic ideas, images, and myths of the Mother Road, and will learn about the dreams and the labor needed to make the road a reality.

About 25 miles down the road in Elk City, visitors can get even more information on the famous highway at the National Route 66 Museum. We didn't have time to visit the museum and other attractions on the museum property. Your can't miss it — a huge Route U.S. 66 sign sits beside the road (picture at right).

But not all goes as planned on a long trip. For instance, we were all set to visit the Roger Miller Museum in Erick, Okla., but found that it wasn't open — it operates Wednesday through Sunday. The museum, paying tribute to the life of the late musician and comedian who was a native of Erick, is housed in a former cafe and drugstore building. Also closed in Erick was the Sandhills Curiosity Shop, disappointing the wives.

And Jim loaded his socks and shoes with tenacious burrs while wandering through high weeds up to a fence to get some pictures of his "field of dreams," a field littered with dozens — perhaps hundreds — of very old rusty cars, trucks and farm equipment near Erick. Thankfully, Luci had a pair of tweezers to help clean up his socks and shoes after getting to the hotel room.

But there's always another day — in fact about 10 more on the way to the Pacific Ocean.

The MotorwayAmerica crew — Ted and Trudye Biederman and Jim and Luci Meachen — at the Route 66 Museum