There I am out on Route 66 having just stepped out of the Roger Miller Museum in Erick, Oklahoma. As I went to get into my car, I scanned the main strip in town and surveyed it to see what else this tiny town had to offer. It turned out to be more than I had ever imagined.
A couple of blocks down the street I saw a sign. Then another and another and, well you get the idea. There were lots of signs plastered all over an old brick building. I thought to myself, you better investigate all those funky signs. So, I rolled through the lone stop light in town and threw on the parking brake, got out and started snooping around. I soon learned that I had unwittingly landed at the Sandhills Curiosity Shop, Home of Harley & Annabelle, the Mediocre Music Makers located in The Redneck Capital of the World - It's Insanity at it's finest!
If you reread that last sentence and let it sink in, it will begin to make perfect sense as you listen to this episode of the Passport Podcast. In this show, I cross paths with Harley Russell, one of the true to life characters living along the remnants of America's Main Street.
Enjoy, as you hear Harley share his story of how life's path led him back to his hometown after journeying as a honky-tonk musician.
Harley tells of how fate brought him the love of his life, Annabelle, and together they tried to make a go of it in a town time seemed to forget. When their antiques weren't selling, they sold musical instruments and for a time even sought to sell health foods to weary travelers without much luck.
Until one day as they practiced playing guitar together a tour group happened by and joined them to create a rollicking party. Those UK tourists had such a fun time; they left a pile of cash tips on the table, and that's when Harley's lightbulb went off!
It's a great story, and Harley adds a lot of fun energy, a generous spirit and warm hospitality to the Mother Road. By welcoming everyone into his inner sanctuary, Harley enthusiastically lets visitors take as many photos as they want, he throws in a few surprises and then performs his music.
The Sandhills Curiosity Shop is a roadside attraction like none other I have ever seen. Apparently, many Americans miss out on Harley's antics, but International travelers have heard all about him as he has been featured all over European media.
I always hope and even expect to meet interesting people on any given road trip and Harley is now one of my favorites. I think you'll agree and understand why that is after listening to Episode 12: Insanity at its Finest. Enjoy another of my chance encounters from my Route 66 adventures.