Old Route 66

My folks and I used to travel US-66 (aka Route 66 aka the Mother Road) from Oklahoma City to West Texas once or twice a year to see family. When I became an adult and went back to see grandparents on my own, I-40 had come into being and I thought it was wonderful. It took two hours less time to get there; I could drive at faster speeds. It was great. I used it every single time and still use the interstate when I have business out that way. I have seen and heard journalistic pieces about old Route 66. It is advertised as a sort of tourist attraction but I hadn’t been on it since I was a kid… until yesterday.

I usually take food to eat or stop at a Loves or a Flying J. This time I wanted real food so I took the exit at mile marker one east of the Oklahoma Texas border. The town is called Texola. My family used to eat there sometimes.
Looking down the road into Texola, Oklahomaabandoned house
lived in house
Abandoned building

Did it occur to anyone what would happen to the towns once the highway bypassed them?  It certainly never occurred to me.


It saddened me to see grass growing in the middle of the old highway pavement of Highway 66.


Looking west down Route 66
Looking west down Route 66
Route 66 looking east
Looking east up Route 66




Tumbleweed Grill

If you are ever out near mile marker one on the Oklahoma side of western Oklahoma/Texas border, and you are hungry, go into Texola, to the old 66 highway, and eat at the Tumbleweed Grill. People do still travel the old route and Masel Zimmerman is there to feed them. I ordered chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, my favorite meal of all time.

She said, “It will take a few minutes, I have to mix up the egg batter.”

“Wait,” I interrupted. “I can’t eat eggs.”

“Alright. Shall I just mix up a flour and milk batter for you?”

Homemade food. I love the lady.

Masel Zimmerman
Masel Zimmerman

The walls are covered with her artwork that she also sells for the pricey prices that good art brings. She does acrylic paintings and pencil sketches. Near the ceiling, she has pinned all the different currencies that customers have brought her. The most distant currency she has is Australia.

She came here from Las Vegas nine years ago where she made her living as a portrait painter. She and her husband got tired of Las Vegas when it began to change, so they loaded up in a travel trailer and started driving east to Memphis, TN. The travel trailer broke down in Texola, Oklahoma and they never left.

I think I’ll take old 66 on the trip home.