*VIDEO: Camping on Route 66

Posted In: RV Lifestyle, Texas, Video
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America is replete with privately owned RV parks. Some of these parks have been in operation for decades. The best deliver not only a pleasant camping environment, but also a sense of history. It’s more than a good night’s rest. It’s a cultural experience.

It’s always a good sign when your campground hosts also own the property. That’s the case at West 40 RV Park in Shamrock, Texas. Norbert and Jaye Nell Schlegel are excellent campground hosts. There’s a tangible element of Southern hospitality here. The campground is located along Route 66 in “the crossroads of America” — where Route 66 and Highway 83 interect.

With our Good Sam discount, the price of this campground was around $25. But if you’ll forgive the cliché, the experience was priceless. If some parts of this town seem familiar, it’s because you’ve seen them recreated by Disney in the movie Cars. There’s a famous tire shop in town that was used as a model for Hollywood’s animated tribute to Route 66.

But what we really enjoyed at this campground was getting to spend time with the Schlegels. RV camping is really about people; the Schlegels are people we will always remember. Having operated their campground for more than four decades, they’ve seen a lot of change. They’ve celebrated good times and endured bad times. Their RV park has hosted celebrities like Ernest Borgnine and Dick Butkis, not to mention travelers from Australia, Asia, and Europe.

For the most part, everything remains in its original state as it was back in 1967. “If you take care of the park, the RVers will take care of it too,” the Schlegels said. They only accept cash and personal checks. In over 40 years, they’ve only received one bad check.

The Schlegels have a chalkboard that serves as a unique guest book. Guests leaves their messages written on the board in colorful chalk. The Schegels take photos of the messages, and hang them on the wall for posterity.

We’ve documented the phenomenon of Wal-Mart camping in this space. And yes, we’ve been known to spend the occasional night parked atop a sea of retail asphalt. Sometimes it’s a matter of convenience, and sometimes it’s a matter of saving a buck. But here’s a glimpse at what you’re missing when you park at Wally World.