Entrepreneurs Cyrus Avery of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and John Woodruff of Springfield, Missouri deserve most of the credit for promoting the idea of an inter regional link between Chicago and Los Angeles, their lobbying efforts were not realized until their dreams merged with the national program of highway and road development.
In Texas, US 66 slices through the center of the Texas Panhandle, east to west, crossing the High Plains through a region once occupied by great herds of buffalo and bands of Kiowas and Comanches. As you cross the 178 miles across the Panhandle, remember those who have gone before you, many times in broken-down cars and trucks, always hoping for an easier life somewhere down the road. About 91% of the Route 66 in Texas is still in use!
Amarillo, may be the only Texas city mentioned in the famous song, but the smaller towns of Adrian, Alanreed, Lela and McLean are certainly doing their bit for preservation. More than half the world's supply of helium has been recovered and processed in the United States Helium Plant.
Shamrock, Texas is in the eastern part of the Panhandle gas field, one of the largest known gas reservoirs in the world. It maintains a neat appearance despite the heavy clouds
of black smoke that rise from the stacks of the nearby carbon black plants. Shamrock also has several gasoline extraction plants. Wells flowing as much as 100 million cubic feet of gas daily have been discovered in the surrounding field.
Today this level expanse is rich, producing oil, gas, wheat, small grain crops, and fine Herefords. The land, once believed to be suitable only for ranching, is generally fertile, and tractors have furrowed it mile upon mile. Approximately 2,000 feet below the surface, an
underground extension of the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma contains enormous oil reserves.
Texas has a rather small portion of the old Route 66, but it is well worth exploring. Stop in at the small town coffee shops to relive some of the old stories of the road.