Route 66 Road Trip: Okla. to N.M.

'GMA Weekend' anchor Kate Snow and her sister drive old Route 66 for kicks.

ByABC News via logo
May 8, 2009, 7:05 PM

May 9, 2009— -- The most striking thing about old Route 66 is how much is gone.

We came to the Mother Road, as John Steinbeck once called it, expecting a nostalgic tour of days gone by. That's what most people expect. That's why they come. They want to slow down, remember a simpler era.

In our two days' driving from Clinton, Okla., to Albuquerque, N.M., we met tourists from Italy, England, Sweden and Minnesota—travelers celebrating milestones in their lives. A birthday. A 35th wedding anniversary. Honeymooners clad in leather on motorcycles.

Check out photos from Kate Snow's road trip!

Check out part one of Kate Snow's road trip!

And if you pick and choose your stops just right, that's what you'll get—a trip down memory lane.

Start out as we did in the Elvis suite at the Tradewinds Inn. They say the King slept here four times. We're pretty sure we slept in the same bed he did. (Could that have been his hair in the tub?)

Get a bite to eat at Clinton's Dairy Best Diner, swing by the Route 66 museum, then make a beeline for the U Drop Inn in Shamrock, Tex. Don't forget to see the Devil's Rope museum (who knew there were so many kinds of barbed wire?) and the Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo. The ugly crust pie at the Midway Café in Adrian, Tex., is worth the drive too. Barb preferred the peanut butter-chocolate cream. And the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari looks like it's straight out of a postcard from 1950.

If we'd stopped only at those tourist sites, we'd probably have come away with a different impression. But we didn't do the typical Route 66 tour.

We stopped the car in Texola, Okla., and walked around that deserted ghost town. We recoiled at the sight of a dead raccoon buried in the rubble of an old gas station. We marveled at the coffee pot someone left behind in a deserted house.

We pulled over and met a couple of guys who repair windmills in McClean, Tex. We told Donny and Butch we were just trying to get a sense of who lived along old Route 66. "Poor folks," Donny said.