Is it storm chasing when there are not actually storms to chase? I say yes. Especially when we wander around traditional chase territory in between the storms.On May 22, we built our day around a visit to the U Drop Inn – the 1936 Conoco gas station that’s been beautifully restored in Shamrock, Texas. It’s a Route 66 landmark and inspired the garage in the movie “Cars.” In fact, we arrived the night before and got a few photos then. But when we planned to visit, it was Sunday, and Texas is closed on Sunday, apparently. I’ve been before but really wanted to visit the cafe, which is actually operating now.
Still, we saw a few other outdoor attractions in Shamrock (see the photos) before moving on. I had no idea an alleged piece of the Blarney Stone was here.
Moving on, we had a nice lunch in Wheeler, then went on to find the remote and desolate intersection in the Texas Panhandle where the last scene of “Cast Away” was filmed. This is where Tom Hanks’s character delivers the package he kept unopened while stranded on the desert island – a symbol of dedication and hope that leads him to promise for his future.
We did our best to channel Tom Hanks, and Alethea created a mini “Wilson” out of a rock, since no volleyballs were at hand. She left it there. If you find it, let us know! (Where is the “Cast Away” intersection? Near Mobeetie, Texas. Program 35°38’2.18″ N 100°27’4.99″ W into your map app.)
We also headed to Groom, Texas, perhaps best known for its giant cross. We focused on the leaning tower of Texas, aka the Britten water tower, which leans and balances on two legs thanks to the perfect amount of water in its tank. It was positioned this way to attract visitors to a truck stop that burned down long ago. You can read more on the excellent Atlas Obscura website.
Then it was on to The Big Texan in Amarillo, where we did not eat a “free” 72-ounce steak* … *dinner if eaten in one hour. That asterisk is on all the billboards. Look for it!
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