Route 66 - Humped-back Ghost & The Clinton Museum

Map of Route 66 - displayed in the Route 66
Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma
Leaving Hydro and Lucille's, even though it was in the early afternoon, we kept our eyes peeled just in case we saw an elderly humped back man walking along the road. There has been a persistent rumor  for years that this portion of the Mother Road is haunted by just such a man. Said to appear in a brown trench coat wearing a Bogie-style hat pulled down over his eyes, he supposedly has been spotted walking along the old highway, especially on foggy or rainy nights. One story is that one of the locals picked him up one wet night, but the eerie little man wouldn't talk to him. Just a short distance down the road from where he had been picked up, the man tried to jump out of the moving car. The good Samaritan pulled over to the side, let him out and drove away. Two miles and only 3 minutes later, the driver passed the same man walking beside the road again! Another driver reported seeing the vagabond who suddenly appeared out of nowhere right in front of his car. He was so startled he failed to pull over far enough and hit the man. The driver slammed on his brakes and came to a stop, but when he went back to check on the poor victim, there was nobody there!

From Bridgeport, east of Hydro, to Clinton, the road has a number of dips and there are stretches of gravel, but most of it is concrete with little half-curbs that at one time were very innovative. The highway engineers claimed they would improve drainage, but in reality, they could turn a small hill into a solid sheet of water during a hard rain. If you got between two hills with these half-curbs on the road, you would be stuck there until the weather cleared. Worse yet, other cars would often come sliding to the bottom too, making it even more dangerous to your health and well-being. A 2nd purpose of these curbs was to redirect errant vehicles back onto the road. They did manage to do that, but many cars were flipped over in the process. Not surprisingly, you don't often see these kinds of curbs anymore.

The Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma
under threatening skies.
So we made it to Clinton without running up against a curb and flipping over or spotting an eerie, hunched-back little man in a Bogie hat, but clouds had started to build up while we dinked around at Lucille's and by the time we stopped at the Route 66 Museum, the wind had come up and it looked like a nasty storm was headed our way. There were a few cars in the parking lot as we arrived, but as we pulled in, a car that was parked in the first slot next to the door pulled out and we grabbed it. Feeling lucky today! Well, actually, "grabbed" may not be the right word as there wasn't anyone else pulling in at the same time so there wasn't exactly a lot of competition for it and also, the 3rd slot from the  door was vacant, but still...

Old truck from the Dust Bowl era complete with
the desert water bag for overheated radiators.
The Route 66 Museum in Clinton is definitely worth a stop and is probably one of the best museums on the whole route. The displays are well done and take you on an historical journey from the beginning of the route to present. Youngest-daughter and I walked through it together, looking at the pictures and artifacts, reading the informational signs and I told her a few personal stories of how things were in the 60's & 70's. We both enjoyed it a lot and it certainly brought back memories for me. The gift shop was most impressive - big and clean with a lot of items for sale at a reasonable price. The two ladies working the check-out were friendly and charming; asking where we were from and other small talk. Youngest-daughter and I both made several small purchases, things we couldn't possibly live without and left with smiles on our faces.

Now there's a Dr. Pepper of just
about the right size!

The perfect car for traveling Route 66!

Youngest-daughter shopping for something
she just can't live without.
The Trade Winds Inn - an old Elvis hang-out.
It hadn't rained yet when we emerged, but the clouds were still dark and angry.  I strolled to the end of the parking lot and took a couple of pictures of the Trade Winds Best Western Inn across the street. Definitely showing its age. At one time though, it actually was "THE" place to stay in this area. As a matter of fact, Elvis Presley used to stay there every time he was going through on one of his concert tours and everywhere Elvis stayed, other famous musicians stayed. There wasn't any tour buses in the parking lot and there probably haven't been for a good long while.

It was time to put Clinton in our rear view mirror and that's just what we did. We were headed to Sayre, more Grapes of Wrath history and an amusing story about the Great Indian Uprising of 1959.

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