Erick, OK is in the Oklahoma panhandle, just across the border from the Texas. I bet Oklahoma’s petite panhandle feels inferior to Texas’s giant one, and Oklahoma is like, Hey ya’ll! We’ve got a panhandle, too! And it even looks like an actual panhandle, not like Texas’s where you have to turn your head sideways to see it!
And then Oklahoma sighs a weary sigh and pours itself a big glass of whiskey, makes an obscene gesture in Texas’s general direction, and mutters something like, Lone Star this, Big Man.
I went to Erick because I wanted to see the Roger Miller Museum, but it was closed. I tried crooning King of the Road to the door like an Open Sesame, but it resisted my efforts.
Then I wandered down the street and found this:
The Sandhills Curiosity Shop (“The Redneck Capitol of the World”) is owned by the delightful Harley and Annabelle Russell. If sexual innuendo makes you squirm, you may not love the place as much as I did, because Harley flings it at you faster than you can say “inappropriate behavior.” (The tow truck in the animated movie Cars was partly based on Harley, though I’m guessing Disney cleaned up the language.)
The shop is a regular stop on bus tours, not only for all the roadside memorabilia, but Harley as a host is particularly exuberant. If by exuberant, you mean crazy.
Ha ha! Not really. Well maybe, I don’t know. But seriously, they’re both totally charming and fun. Harley used to be a professional musician, and he and Annabelle did a lively version of “Get Your Kicks (on Route 66)” complete with dance moves and harmony:
They took me on a tour of the shop and their house behind it:
Though there were many, many references to pot smoking and, as I said, sex, Harley never crossed the line into creepy. Even when he asked me to step into the bedroom, it was not the least bit awkward. Even when Harley referenced what he and Annabelle had done the night before in that very room. Not even then.
Or maybe I felt so comfortable because I myself am destined to open my home to strangers and give impromptu concerts and drink beer for lunch:
At the end of the tour I was expecting a pitch for a “donation,” or at the very least, a homemade pamphlet inviting me to join their “church.” But they don’t sell anything, and Harley proudly explained they don’t get welfare. Honestly, I’m not sure how they pay the bills, unless there’s something more to all those pot references.
P.S. I’ve been getting questions about the Scamp and road travel, so do feel free to email if there’s something you’re curious about that isn’t addressed on the blog. I heart mail from readers.
UPDATE: As astute reader Sherry C pointed out, Erick isn’t actually in the Oklahoma panhandle. So if you got lost, driving around the panhandle looking for Erick, feel free to curse me with vigor. (Do I get points for getting the state right? No?)