Route 66

If you want a quick flashback to the dark days of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, turn north off I-40 into sleepy Sayre (pop. 4,603). The landmark Beckham County Courthouse, which looms over the east end of Main Street, was prominently featured in the movie version as Henry Fonda and the rest of the Joads rattled down Route 66 toward California. The Depression era also lives on in the cool and pleasant WPA-era swimming pool in Sayre City Park, in between the old Route 66 alignments. Just off the old road, take a look in the ever-expanding Shortgrass Country Museum (106 E. Poplar Ave., 580/928-5757, Tues.-Fri. 9am-noon, free), housed in the old Rock Island Line railroad depot, with changing displays documenting regional history from Cheyenne times to the arrival of homesteading settlers during the great Land Rush of 1892. East of the museum stands a giant grain elevator that has rusted into a gorgeous orange glow.