BRIDGEPORT, OKLAHOMA -- Family roots run deep at the old 'Bridgeport Y' on Route 66, at least that's how Carol McCain feels.
"We just keep looking," she says while shuffling in the recently turned dirt." "We've found so much metal on this place, junk iron. It's awesome."
In the days when Route 66 was the major east west highway, long before interstates sped things up, buses stopped at the Harvey House on this spot.
You could get a little gas at the Texaco or stay in the motor courts out back.
"The motor court was down here," she points, "with the cabins that we rented out."
Carol, her four brothers, mom and dad lived in one of those cabins for a few years, then moved into the tiny house that had been the diner and service station.
"Somehow we fit," she smiles.
Her first memories include climbing these cottonwoods and sitting on her father's lap right about here.
She recalls, "He had this big chair and I would sit on his lap after he came home from his truck route."
She moved away to go to nursing school.
Her mom moved out in the early 80's and the place started to sag.
McCain says, "The house was actually here until about 4 years ago when it burned down."
But McCain still wanted to do something here other than grow weeds.
"It means something to me that it's even present because it's a sign that people lived here. There was life here once, and, now, we're rebuilding it. It's so exciting."
Late last fall she hired a crew to start clearing the brush and leveling the ground.
Scraping those layers revealed more memories than she expected.
"I was amazed," she says. "I could not believe it."
A lot of it is still junk.
But an old Double Cola bottle proved worth cleaning up.
Then last week this cubic crystal gem surfaced, an old salt shaker from the diner days, not a scratch on it.
"I guess, somehow, they just scraped back the right amount and there it was. That was a great find."
Carol's ideas for the 'Bridgeport Y' are still taking shape.
But she'd like to see people stopping again, bringing some life back to this section of the Route, where the 'salt of the earth' so deeply ingrained in who she is, was here the whole time right below the surface.
McCain has taken to calling her property on the old 'Y' Territory Route 66.
Among her ideas for rehabilitating the property are a motor court or even rebuilding some of the structures that were here before.