The following account was submitted by Bob Swengrosh.
“Last week I had the privilege to be the driver for Gary Turner, caretaker of Gay Parita, Sinclair Station on a Whirl-Wind trip out West on the Mother Road to the border town of Glenrio, Texas.
On a short trip two months ago, we motored west to Tulsa, OK. On that drive, special stops were standouts for Gary, Eisler Brothers – Scott Nelson, Marsh Arch Bridge – Dean Walker, Visitor Center, Café on the Route, Angles on the Route – Baxter Springs, the Coleman Theatre Tour, the Sidewalk Highway, the always special stop at Afton Station – Laurel Kane, Totem Pole Park, Molly’s (the new bridge entrance) and the Blue Whale – Gary wanted to go skinny dipping (I was glad it was to cold) I want to Thank everyone for the warm welcome that we received.
So this trip started west of Tulsa on both the 1926 and later Route in Sapulpa passing the closed Frankoma Pottery, with the drive on the Ozark Trail, Gary told a number of stories about when he was a young back seat driver in his parents’ ’50 Chevrolet going west on Route 66 to California. We stopped to walk around the wonderful old gas station in Depew, it is sad that most road warriors miss this town. In Stroud at the Rock Café, Dawn Welch had a nice talk with Gary, then on to a warm welcome by McJerry at his gallery and home in Chandler, we took the time to site seeing in Chandler, then on to the great motor cycles at Seaba Station with the 1920′s restroom building, this is a must stop.
On the drive down the private Portland Concrete west of Deep Fork we found one of Rich Dinkela painted Route 66 shields, a stop at Johns Oklahoma County 66 east of Arcadia should not be missed, the Round Barn was closed, but Pop’s was busy with customers. Gary knew how Lucille must have felt when the super highway passed her by. We toured the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, then on to the “WOW” stop – the Sand hill’s Curiosity Shop, Harley and Annabelle put on a show for Gary, it was a great stop.
Entering the State of Texas, we found rain and heavy fog, we did stop in Shamrock to view the complete town, because of the weather we motored slowly to Amarillo to meet up with Bob Lile and have dinner with Rich Dinkela – Bob Lile hospitality was over the top, Thank You Bob. Bob got into the Tahoe and the three of us motored west on to Vega for a tour of the town, Adrain was next and Fran Houser was at the Midpoint Café, Gary enjoyed talking to her and looking at her gift shop. Our next stop was the ghost town of Glenrio, TX and GlenRio, NM. I had the joy to once again talk to Roxann Travis; she has had a hard life being the only one living in the ghost town of Glenrio. She is now working at the new welcome center on I-40 west bound in New Mexico. The stories that she can tell about her ghost town.
On the return trip east, we stopped in Groom, I took special interest in the old Phillips 66 gas station that Jack and Bettye West owned. The gas station and the Golden Spread motel across the street were in the movie “Leap of Faith” with Steve Martin. Our next stop was Mclean, Texas for a wonderful dinner at the “Red River Steak House”. Gary enjoyed talking to “WILL” and his mom and dad. The Red Mud, Bar-B-Q sauce is to die for.
Now, back to my opening statement “Whirl Wind Trip” around Amarillo, the wind was blowing about fifty miles per hour – plus – we drove thru two dust storms so bad we could not even see the front of the Tahoe hood; this was a true “Grapes of Wrath” experience.
I was able to return Gary back to his beloved wife in one piece, he was tired, but he enjoyed every minute of the trip. I took pictures of Gary all along the way and will be putting together a photo album for him. As Gary always states: ” Travelin’ Main Street USA, the Dream of His Life.“