Airstream RV Blog #77 – Camping on Route 66 from Sean Michael on

America is replete with family owned RV campgrounds. 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. You get more than a good night’s rest. You get a cultural experience.

That’s the case at West 40 RV Park in Shamrock, Texas. Owners Norbert and Jaye Nell Schlegel are excellent campground hosts. There’s a tangible element of Southern hospitality here. The campground is located on family land in “the crossroads of America” — Shamrock, Texas, where Route 66 and Highway 83 intersect. The Schlegel family has occupied this land for over 100 years, and operated the RV park for over 40.

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 Shamrock 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 spending 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 campground 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.

Leave your plastic at home; 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 Schlegels 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.

We’re back on the road. For the latest videos and updates, check out!

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  3. George, thanks for your comment. As you can see in our winter video, our water supply hose did indeed freeze! The filter was destroyed. That’s a good idea about the insulation tubes. Come to think of it, I’m a little surprised that someone doesn’t make an insulated water hose for those of us who like to winter camp.

  4. George Alexanderson

    Regarding your article camping in winter time, we have done this for some seasons and the only thing to care about is how to avoid freezing the water supply hose. We do this up to a limit with some a/c insulation tubes bought at any hardware store and using it to insulate this hose. It will work fine if you have sun but if outside temp drops below 20’s then you can use an electric AC blanket to help keep warm the insulation.

  5. Joe & Kathy, thanks for sharing your experience. We stopped by to see the Schlegels again on our way home. It’s a treat to stay at their family owned and operated campground. It just feels warm and welcoming.

  6. Had a great experience at a nice RV park along Route 66 in Missouri. Our space was next to a newly planted corn field and this section of Route 66 was still the old concrete surface. We could visualize the thousands of old cars and trucks heading to California and the possibility that families camped in this corn field many, many years age.

  7. Joe & Kathy Janson

    Just wanted to say we were also at the 40 West RV Campground around last October 2007. It is every bit like what you describe and filmed. The sites at the camp were expecially large and all pull thru’s We were thrilled to be camping right next to Route 66 which we traveled almost 50 years ago by car. We also went through Shamrock and took pics of the famous gas station from “CARS”. It revived great memories!
    This was just one small stop on our way home from an almost 3 mo. jog to the great northwest. Joe & Kathy Clarence, NY (Suburb of Buffalo)

  8. David, yes, that was us in Farmington. We enjoyed our time in your town. We were passing through, traveling from Santa Fe to Delores, Colorado. We were impressed by the selection of shops and restaurants, and had a nice lunch at a local BBQ place.

    Thanks Jim! Yes, the RV lifestyle is a special one. We have been fortunate to meet many memorable people on this trip.

  9. Thanks for the nice post about the family-owned campground in Shamrock, Texas. It was a nice reminder about some of the things that make the RV lifestyle a special one.


  10. David H. Milam

    Good Morning,
    I love to read your RV blogs …I live in Farmington, NM and drive a city transit bus.On Wednesday I noticed your white F250 & Siverstream travel trailer as it traveled down E. Main and then again pulling out of that Giant service station and again as it set in the Safeway parking lot. Hope your having a fantastic time and hope to possibly read some great things about our area.


    Life is fantastic &
    gettin better everyday

  11. Thanks to everyone for the comments.

    Vic & Kathy, the one FL campground that pops to my mind is the Tampa RV resort that’s located near Bates RV. It is a nice, large campground with several swimming pools, long term RV storage, etc.

    Jon, that’s good to know about a military discount. My sister is a Navy doc!

    Thanks Brad, we had a great time in Texas. As for a road map, that would be a fun project. We haven’t kept detailed records, but I think we remember all 20,000 miles of our travels pretty well! And the trip keeps on unfolding. We will also post some info on our rig in a future article. Ours is a 25′ Airstream being towed by a F250 diesel. It has worked well for us. The truck has been ALMOST trouble free (until last week when we had an A/C problem). The Airstream has been an excellent fit for us. It’s just right for two people, and pretty easy to maneuver and tow.

    Marie, the more time we spend in campgrounds, the more convinced I am that campers are “top quality people” as Mr. Schlegel puts it.

    Charlie, thanks for sharing your story! Really great stuff… Maybe someday we will get teh chance to interview you! 😀

  12. Rockin" R Ranch

    Enjoyed your “Route 66” article…I traveled highyway 66 before it became known as a tourist Route . I traveled it back in the early 50’s as a teenager. I spent many a night under the stars parked out back of one of the old gas stations on my way to Calif. We used to spell out our names with rocks along the slopes next to the road, there would be miles of names in some areas. Good clean stuff not like what you might see spelled out nowadays. Not much left of the old highway but good memories now. Essex and Amboy were amoung my favorite stops, and some of the old buildings are still around including Roy’s place there in Amboy. I spent many a night up in Oatman before it became a tourist gost town.Thats’s back when gas was 14cents a gal at the old “Whitting Brothers” stations. My camper back then was the trunk of a 1940 Ford coupe. Well I hope you get to enjoy the Route as I did, as I said there is not much left of the “original” route, but good memories..I still live out in no where, in the S.W. Texas desert on the Mexican Boarder, land very simular to much of what old Route 66 passed through.

  13. Marie

    This article points up what we have always said, “Campers are good people.” We have been camping for over 40 years and have never missed anything out of our campsites-honesty is a big part of being “good.” Marie

  14. TXBrad

    Sean & Kristy: Again geart stuff & great presentation !
    Being a “car Guy”, we have traveled some of Rt. 66 west & part of the reason to buy a “good motor home” is to do more on Rt. 66. The RV will let us enjoy , see & do more. Also, being seniors, RT 66 is a “time wrap” Just added this Rv park to our 2008 plans.
    Suggestion: Like to see the roadshighways you all travel on these great trips.
    Also, some time, info on your rig & how it fits your travels. It looks like a real nice set up.
    Welcome to Texas ! TX Brad

  15. Jon A Anderson

    We had a very nice experience on Route 66, at a campground that advertised its services as being “free to active duty military.” We left big tips, because true to their word, they didn’t charge us for anything, not even the meals at their chuckwagon restaurant. I do not remember the name of the proprietor, but he was a vet and very nice. Our Navy active duty son presented his ID and signed us in, and our party of three adults and a child was treated royally!
    The campground is on the right-hand side of Rt. 66 as you head east through Gallup, New Mexico from Arizona.

  16. Vic Kraw

    Looking for a nice campground in FLA for the winter months, nice weather not to pricey. we just retired and looking forward to some R&R. any help would be great.thank you

    Vic & Kathy