When traveling on Route 66 west through the panhandle of Texas, Adrian is the last live town to be found before crossing the New Mexico border. After Adrian, there is only the remnants of the Glenrio ghost town, where the bright glow of neon lights in Tucumcari can be seen glowing in the distance after dark. The old Route 66 towns of Vega, Adrian and Glenrio have always resigned to living in the economic shadows of the two neighboring big city destinations of Amarillo and Tucumcari, so to speak. By not having powerful economic drivers, the small towns of Vega, Adrian and Glenrio suffered the fate of many Route 66 communities after the Mother Road was bypassed by a modern high speed freeway. The economic disparity is still evident in this modern age, even though interest in Route 66 tourism has been steadily increasing in recent years.
Glenrio is a ghost town, while Vega and Adrian have living ghost town status, thanks to the steadfast determination of local entrepreneurs. However, Adrian does have one asset in its favor that Vega cannot lay claim to, which happens to be the Route 66 Midpoint Line! This landmark has been a blessing for the local Route 66 businesses that try so hard to stay afloat.
Adrian, Texas is the official Route 66 midway point between Chicago and Santa Monica. Back in the golden age of automobile touring, when a carload full of vacationers traveling west finally reached midway, it was like a sigh of relief, because America’s vacation land was within reach. The official Midpoint Line painted across the two lane highway created a photo opportunity like no other back in those days. For those undertaking the long journey, conquering midway certainly was a minor victory.
The Midpoint Line in Adrian, Texas still offers a chance for tourists to take a once in a lifetime selfie photo while soaking up the nostalgic past. Not much has changed in Adrian ever since this Route 66 town was bypassed back in the 1960s, but the economic disparity is clearly evident. Rusty antique cars, abandoned buildings and historic gas stations that ran out of fuel decades ago is what can be seen while passing through. All of these civic features demonstrate the apocalyptic nature of the Route 66 bypass. For Mother Road tourists passing through, the sight is enough to bring a tear to the eye, as feelings of melancholic nostalgia flow through the mind while the cold reality is realized.
No matter how depressing the Route 66 bypass may be, there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are a few people that show so much pride and love for the Route 66 cultural heritage, that they are willing to invest in the nostalgic past, while knowing full well that the return on investment will not happen overnight. These kind of entrepreneurs purchase the old decrepit Route 66 businesses with goals of attaining historic landmark preservation and hopefully catching a wave of refreshed Route 66 tourism in the future. For some, the business venture pays off, while for others the ambition becomes a struggle that may seem insurmountable at times.
In Adrian, there are a handful of Route 66 businesses that have been there for at least four generations of tourists and these places are etched in the memories of anybody that passed through during the last 60 years. “Do you remember that time that we stopped at that gas station at the Midpoint Line that had that funny looking bent door?” ... This is a question that an old veteran of the Mother Road might ask a fellow passenger that shared the trip long ago. It is the unique landmarks along Route 66 that made the trip going west so special way back in the day. In modern times, many of these old landmarks still inspire nostalgic memories of Route 66 travel ventures from long ago and when the buildings are preserved, the iconic culture that created those nostalgic memories is preserved as well.
Touring Adrian is as easy as getting off the Interstate Highway and driving through town to the next freeway entrance ramp. There really is not much more to Adrian than a few remaining old businesses on the Route 66 strip, so do not blink an eye or you may miss something special! The historic Midpoint Café & Gift Shop is open for business like it always was in the old days, while a couple of the other noteworthy landmarks are currently being restored. The historic Bent Door Phillips 66 Gas Station has been an ongoing restoration project for a few years, so this landmark will likely be there in the future for visitors to see. One of the old local Route 66 motor inns is also making its way back into the limelight as well, so things are looking up for those who wish to experience nostalgic lodging when cruising this section of the Mother Road.
For a Mother Road nostalgia buff going west to America’s vacation land, taking the time to get off the freeway to celebrate at the official Midpoint Line is well worth doing! For those who care about Route 66 cultural preservation, spending a few dollars at the local businesses will help to keep the town of Adrian on the map. Donations are accepted at the historic Route 66 preservation projects and the much needed funding is greatly appreciated, even if the gratuities from passers by amount to only nickels and dimes. In this town where maintaining a painted white stripe across the road can make or break the community budget, the spirit of Route 66 is still alive and well. Prior to arrival, be sure to prime the camera for celebratory selfies before the Midpoint Line comes into view!
Leave no trace!
Destination West YouTube channel! https://www.youtube.com/@DestinationWestOrg
Donations help the Destinaton West project continue into the future!
Go Fund Me!
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies