“The traffic through our visitor center has been huge ever since we reopened in the spring. Do you see these maps on the wall? They are loaded with pins."
“The traffic through our visitor center has been huge ever since we reopened in the spring. We usually get a lot of traffic because Shamrock is an iconic stop on Old Route 66, but I was so surprised at how many people have been coming through this year even with the pandemic. Families who were going to Europe or on cruises have been taking road trips instead. And Old Route 66 is the ultimate American road trip, with the historic hotels and diners and pump stations, like we have here at the U Drop Inn.
Do you see these maps on the wall? They are loaded with pins that people have put there to show where they are from. We take all the pins out each January and start each year anew. So all these pins you see are from this year. The U.S. map is covered with pins, as you can see. And even the Europe map is covered with pins. There were a lot of foreign students who stayed in the U.S. when international travel stopped and they got bored in their empty dorms. So they started traveling.
This job at the U Drop Inn Visitors Center is the best job I’ve had in my life. I really enjoy meeting people, especially people from all over the world. There is something special to people about Old Route 66 and Shamrock is a part of that history. One older gentleman came here all the way from China just to travel along Old Route 66.
I grew up in Wheeler, about 15 miles north of Shamrock. As a teenager, I came over here to Shamrock quite a bit because there were two movie theaters. It was a big deal. Shamrock had a population of about 5,000 at the time, so it was a bigger town than Wheeler. When we were in high school, we could come over here to the U Drop Inn diner. Miss Bebe, who ran the restaurant, would let us dance to the jukebox in the room over there, where we now sell our merchandise. She would let us dance and then she'd run us off, you know, by about 9:30.
After graduating from high school, I went to work for Merrill Lynch. I then got married in 1958 and we moved back to Shamrock. I’ve been here ever since. Shamrock is a nice place to live. It's quiet. We don’t have to rush around. We don't have a Walmart, which shocks people. But you know, we can go to Walmarts. It’s 50 miles, no matter which Walmart you choose. I think a lot of people are really surprised when they see how friendly and how, you know, receiving we really are and how helpful we are to one another."
-- Patsy, U Drop Inn Visitors Center (October 2020).