Route 66 - Erick & The Mediocre Music Makers

Coming into Erick, Oklahoma
Putting Sayre and the site of The Great Indian Uprising of 1959 behind us, we cruised a few more miles west on Route 66 to Erick, Oklahoma, just seven miles east of the Texas state line and site of numerous interesting stories and people. 

Erick is the boyhood home of Roger Miller, Mr. "King of the Road" himself. Roger used nearby Texas as a source for his first guitar - he borrowed it from a pawn shop while the place was closed. This incident led to Roger's stint in the military in the early 1950s. The stretch of Route 66 entering Erick from Sayre has been named the Roger Miller Memorial Highway and the road through town is named Roger Miller Boulevard. This is also home to the Roger Miller Museum. We had plans to visit the museum and I would like to tell you all about it, but it is only open Wednesday through Saturday and we didn't come through on one of those days so, here's the outside pictures and if you tour it, let me know how it is!

Roger Miller Memorial Highway
Erick is also the birth place of Sheb Wooley, related to Roger Miller by marriage. The name "Sheb Wooley" may be familiar, but likely you just can't place him or figure out why the name is kind of familiar. Well, Sheb Wooley was the real deal - cowboy, rodeo rider, country & western singer, songwriter, actor and comedian. Perhaps he is most famous though for a little ditty he wrote and recorded in 1958 - One Eyed, One Horned, Flying Purple People Eater. Now that one most folks remember! Some of his movies included High Noon and The Outlaw Josey Wales. Appearances on TV included Rawhide, The Cisco Kid, Kit Carson, and repeat performances on Hee-Haw. The town also has named a street after him and yes, there is an intersection of Sheb Wooley and Roger Miller - and if you go to that intersection on a Wednesday through Saturday, you can visit the Roger Miller Museum and tell me all about it.
The 100th Meridian is close to Erick. Except for Erick being the location of the 100th Meridian Museum, that fact doesn't mean anything today, but it certainly did in the 1800's. Back then, the 100th Meridian was designated as where the American desert started and banks would not lend money for farms beyond this line because you can't farm in a desert!

Erick used to be one of the most notorious speed traps in America. Officer Elmer had a very fast, black V-8 Ford that enabled him to catch most anybody he wanted to catch. Bob Hope drove through Erick just a couple of miles per hour over the speed limit one time and he was busted by Officer Elmer. During his next national TV show, Mr. Hope said the only way he would go through Erick again would be on a donkey. Eventually, the tourist business dropped off so drastically that the town's business owners rose up in protest, threatened to close their stores and leave town. The town council soon put an end to the traffic ticket terror by Officer Elmer. To this day however, stories continue to be heard about an old black Ford mysteriously appearing in the rear-view mirrors of those who speed through Erick in the dark of night.
Downtown Erick on a busy weekday afternoon

Mural in downtown Erick


Entrance to the Sandhills Curio Shop
No place along the length of The Mother Road exemplifies the uniqueness of Route 66 businesses better than the Sandhills Curio Shop (201 South Sheb Wooley) and nobody exemplifies the uniqueness of the interesting people who make their home along the route than its owners, Harley and Annabelle Russell. We were lucky enough to stop at just the right time for a small musical performance by Harley and Annabelle, the self-proclaimed Mediocre Music Makers. Interesting, funny, very outgoing and unique in the extreme, meeting them was a true experience and browsing their shop crammed from floor to ceiling with thousands of   Route 66 memorabilia, signs, and, well, tons of junk, was fun as well. By all means, this is a must stop on your trip!

Harley &Annabelle Russell - owners of the
Sandhills Curio Shop
 



The Mediocre Music Makers in action!
 
The totality of the "stuff" within the
Sandhills Curio Shop is truly astounding!
It was getting on in the day when we finally pulled ourselves away from the Sandhills Curio Shop, but there was still some light left and we had a couple of more stops we wanted to make before looking for a place to park our heads for the night. Our next stop would be our last stop along Oklahoma's section of Route 66.

Harley & Annabelle with Lil Dude, our traveling
troll. Check out the pics at "Where My Troll Goes"

Go to the first Route 66 entry here.
Or go to the first entry of each state: