The classic Route 66 roadside attractions range from interesting times capsules of the past to the weirdest of the weird. Back in the golden age of automobile touring from the late 1940s through the mid 1960s, the epitome of odd tourist attractions along the Mother Road reached a crescendo. The motor inns all had adventurous western themes, the entertainment parks had gigantic fiberglass statues and the tourist traps marketed oddities that could be found nowhere else. Even the restaurants had specialty items on the menu that reflected upon the curiosities found along the Mother Road. What this all added up to was an a fun filled journey on a long road going west that was like no other. In its heyday, Route 66 compared to driving through the world’s longest entertainment corridor, which was quite an exciting prospect for travelers back in the old days.
The old saying, “Everything is big in Texas!” does start to ring through the ears when traveling west on Route 66 through the panhandle region. Even before crossing the Oklahoma-Texas Border, billboard signs for the 72 Ounce Steak Challenge at the Big Texan Steak Ranch can be seen on nearly every hillside. Big Texans, big beef and big everything starts to become the theme along this stretch of the Mother Road. Then just as things start to settle down in the vast flat farmland of the Great Plains, a towering gigantic cross appears on the horizon! This gigantic cross stands so tall, that is appears to touch the clouds in the sky and it creates quite a mesmerizing visual effect for all those who pass through.
No matter whether you happen to be religious or not, The Cross in Groom, Texas is a Route 66 roadside attraction that simply must be checked out. The Texas panhandle is considered to be part of the bible belt and the descendants of those who survived the Dust Bowl agricultural disaster during the Great Depression will confirm why religion plays an important role in this region. Pioneers and homesteaders found out just how unforgiving this land can be and the dead silence of these flatlands haunts those who pass through to this day. In a way, the shiny bright gigantic cross acts as a guiding light for those who have lost their way in the the monotonous flatlands.
On the day that I visited the Cross Of Our Lord Jesus Christ Ministries, the southern winds were howling across the Great Plains. Steady winds of 60 miles per hour with gusts over 80 were blasting the area that afternoon, so photographing The Cross without getting knocked over was quite a challenge. Basically, I had to brace myself when snapping every photo, so I would not have to spend countless hours adjusting the digital pictures later on. In some places where there were no obstacles to break the powerful gusts, I actually was picked up off my feet by the high winds. This was a mind boggling experience when realizing the gravity of this deeply religious Route 66 roadside attraction.
The Cross Of Our Lord Jesus Christ Ministries in Groom, Texas is a religious park that welcomes anybody that passes by on Route 66. This big park has marvelously sculpted bronze statues depicting the biblical events of the last days of Jesus Christ and his resurrection. Scenes of the downtrodden bearing heavy crosses while being beaten by Roman soldiers and angels killing demons can be seen throughout the entire courtyard. The bronze depiction of the last supper is overshadowed by victims nailed to timber crosses high on the hill in the background. Even the hidden cave resting place of Jesus Christ where the resurrection occurred is depicted in great detail in this timeless place.
Intriguing, mesmerizing and overwhelming are good words to describe the feelings that are experienced when visiting The Cross in Groom, Texas, no matter whether a visitor happens to be a believer or not. The Cross may not be every Route 66 traveler’s cup of tea, but it is there and it certainly is difficult not to notice when passing through. As it is, The Cross is a Route 66 landmark like no other and it is well worth checking out!
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