Amidst the wide-open plains, Route 66 enters Texas, where everything is big – except for Route 66's mileage through the state. It's actually the second shortest of any Route 66 state, behind Kansas. Here, Route 66 cuts across the Texas Panhandle, a vast, windswept area of ranches dotted with small towns here and there.
Route 66 parallels Interstate 40 closely throughout its roughly 180-mile Texas run, and to save time you can often shift to Interstate 40 when there aren't any towns to check out. You'll still see things of interest along its roadsides.
The city of Shamrock is home to one of the largest St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Texas – it uses the four-leaf clover in its city symbol, has a tradition where all the men in Shamrock dye their beards green on the Saturday closest to St. Patrick's Day, and features a piece of the Blarney Stone in Elmore Park, too. Shamrock embraces its connection to the Mother Road with the annual Miss Texas Route 66 Pageant, hosted since 2011.
In Shamrock, you'll want to check out the Pioneer West Museum located in the former Reynolds Hotel. The museum features a variety of exhibits across 25 rooms, including artifacts from the local Native Americans, the Apollo 12 moon mission, cowboy and ranching exhibits, and a display of old buildings from Shamrock's earlier days. Nearby is Big Vern's Steakhouse, a tasty place to sample Texas' legendary huge steaks – or just the corn muffins, which will elevate your opinion of corn muffins forever.
Another must-see for road trip buffs is the U-Drop Inn, also known as the Tower Station & Café. This 1936 Art Deco creation combined a Conoco gas station and restaurant in what at the time was considered a whole new way of doing things. Today, it's essentially a museum of itself. From June through August, it hosts "Thursdays Under the Neon", where bands play during the evening hours.
From Shamrock, Route 66 goes west past its intersection with U.S. 83 at the U-Drop Inn. I-40 shows up and you have the choice of re-joining I-40 for a faster ride or staying on the original road, which parallels the interstate closely.
Best Western PLUS Shamrock Inn & Suites
1802 N. Main Street
Shamrock, TX 79079-1603