California 2021:
Day 4 - Route 66: Oklahoma


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California 2021: [Day 1 - Chicago] [Day 2 - Route 66: IL] [Day 3 - Route 66: MO] [Day 4 - Route 66: OK] [Day 5 - Route 66: TX] [Day 6 - Route 66: NM] [Day 7 - Route 66: AZ] [Day 8 - Route 66: CA] [Day 9 - Route 66: CA] [Day 10 - Los Angeles] [Day 11 - Los Angeles] [Day 12 - Palm Springs] [Day 13 - Joshua Tree NP] [Day 14 - Death Valley NP] [Day 15 - Las Vegas] [Day 16 - Zion NP] [Day 17 - Grand Canyon North Rim] [Day 18 - Toroweap, Grand Canyon] [Day 19 - Page, AZ] [Day 20 - Durango, CO] [Day 21 - Great Bend, KS] [Day 22 - St. Louis, MO] [Day 23 - Heading Home]

Wednesday, November 3, 2021: Today was going to be our longest driving day yet, so we left before sunrise. Luckily, that meant that some of the neon signs were still on, like the sign for Boots Court.
The neon on the front of the building was off, but the building itself looked to be in fantastic shape.
The 66 Drive-In Theatre was looking spooky in the pre-dawn darkness.
It was light out when we got to Joplin, Missouri, so we got great views of this mural, titled American Ribbon.
It features the route map, but what is unique to this mural is that a red 1964 Corvette has been cut in half and is sticking out of the wall.
Buh, bye, Missouri Route 66 Historic Byway.
What's this? At the state line between Missouri and Kansas is a strip of yellow bricks. This is an original section of the bricks used to pave parts of Route 66, painted yellow for Dorothy's way back to Kansas in the Wizard of Oz (follow the yellow brick road).
Hello, Kansas Route 66 Historic Byway!
We immediately noticed the Kansas Route 66 shield emblem painted on the roadway, and Tom wondered how long it would last. "They can't do this the entire route, can they?" Then he remembered that Route 66 is only thirteen miles long in Kansas, so yeah, they probably can.
This section of the road was feeling pretty authentic. It had no lines painted on it, was paved with concrete, and was pretty narrow.
Just before we entered Galena, Kansas, we saw this police car on a stand. It is a replica of the character of Sheriff from the Pixar movie "Cars."
The banners hanging from the lightpoles on the main drag in Galena depicted photos of the street during the heyday of Route 66.
This restored service station, a Kan-O-Tex station, was the Cars on the Route display, which featured other characters from the movie "Cars," including the tow truck named Tow Mater.
Debbie noticed the vintage Pepsi ad on the side of this building, but it was the vintage Mountain Dew ad that caused us to circle back around to get a better photo.
There were several nice murals, including this one depicting downtown Galena.
This sculpture was built from scrap steel from previous bridge projects in Kansas, and was constructed by Riverton High School students.
The route took us over the Rainbow Curve Bridge, which was constructed in 1923. It is the only remaining Marsh Arch Bridge on Route 66 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
The Kansas Route 66 Visitor Center in Baxter Springs, Kansas, is in this restored Phillips 66 service station.
Two blocks south of the visitor center is the Ritz Movie Theatre which was advertising an upcoming cornhole competition.
As we left Kansas, we discovered that we were also traveling on the Frontier Military Historic Byway, which was a military trail built to move soldiers and supplies throughout Kansas.
Welcome to Oklahoma!
We were greeted immediately with Oklahoma's version of the Historic Route 66 sign.
Commerce, Oklahoma, let us know that we were in the home of Mickey Mantle, a New York Yankee baseball player who was nicknamed the Commerce Comet.
This restored service station was a Marathon station, and advertised Route 66 Cookies as "Sold Anywhere."
Just down the road was this restored Conoco station. No cookies here.
In Miami, Oklahoma, we passed Waylan's Ku-Ku Burger, which used to be a chain but now only has this site remaining. We tried to imagine how great that sign looked lit up.
The Coleman Theatre looked beautiful and like it had just been freshly painted rather than being 92 years old.
This historical marker tells us that the Coleman Theatre still has its original pipe organ, a Mighty Wurlitzer.
Apparently there are city-specific versions of the Route 66 shield.
Check out the tall yellow gas pump at this restored Marathon service station.
We watched a deer running through a field along the side of the road and slowed down when we realized that he might try to cross. Sure enough, he leaped the fence, ran right across the road, and hopped the fence on the other side, disappearing into the trees on that side. We were glad that we had seen him in plenty of time, otherwise we surely would have hit him.
Oklahoma was making it easy to follow the route, with clearly visible signs marking the way.
Vinita's banners had their town name in the Route 66 shield. It was fun to try to figure out how each town's banners were different.
Clanton's Cafe was short and to the point with their neon sign: EAT.
A short while before this picture was taken, Debbie remarked that she would like to get a photo of a Maersk container on Route 66, and then this train crossed in front of us. Wish granted.
Vinita also had city-specific Route 66 shields painted on the roadway.
Check out this Art Deco sign for the Route 66 Inn.
Chelsea, Oklahoma, had a mileage post at their Pedestrian Underpass attraction.
This pedestrian tunnel was built to allow people to safely get from one side of Route 66 to the other. One wall of the tunnel features murals and the other wall is for travelers to sign their names. Sadly, the underpass was closed for maintenance, so this is all the farther we got.
We had been seeing lots of cannibis dispensaries and had been amused at the various names. This one was named Mother Road Medicines, which was pretty good.
In Claremore, Oklahoma, we drove down Patti Page Boulevard, ...
... which is apparently part of the Oklahoma Fishing Trail.
On nearby Will Rogers Boulevard, there was a sculpture of him reading a newspaper, ...
... and on Route 66 there was this sculpture of him riding a horse. Oklahoma is very proud of Will Rogers.
Look at the shape of the arrows on this mileage post. Can you guess where we are?
That's right! The Blue Whale in Catoosa, Oklahoma. Built as an anniversary gift for his wife, this gigantic blue whale sculpture is in a pond that serves as a local swimming hole in the summer months.
Let's go in! There are slides on both sides of the whale, ...
... and there are ladders to get out of the pond.
Debbie climbed the ladder at the whale's tail to get a look on top, ...
... and she also climbed the ladder in the whale's center section to see what was upstairs.
As we entered the outskirts of Tulsa, we passed the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
This guitar sculpture stood by the entrance, ...
... but it was the 65-foot tall neon guitar standing outside between the buildings that stole the show.
So far, this over-the-road Route 66 display (that we had also seen in 2017) was the best we had seen so far, ...
... but these banners were probably cheaper and easier to install.
There were lots of really pretty motel signs, like this Art Deco one on the Oasis Motel, ...
... and this one on the Desert Hills Motel, ...
... and this one on the Coney I-lander. Ooh. That's sounds delicious. Let's stop here for lunch!
Debbie ordered a Regular Coney, hold the mustard, while Tom had a Regular Coney and a Cheese Coney.
Back to the signs. There was this one at Rancho Grande, ...
... and this one at Buck's on 66. The Muffler Man statue, named Buck Atoms, next to the building was holding a rocket and wearing a Frankenstein mask.
This Meadow Gold sign was built in 1934 and now stands over Route 66 on top of a dedicated platform.
This way, please.
This sculpture at Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza is titled East Meets West and depicts a two-horse team pulling a wagon being spooked by an automobile.
There are neon signs from Tulsa-area motels at the end of the bridge, including ...
... Will Rogers Motor Court, ...
... the Oil Capital Motel, ...
... and the Tulsa Auto Court.
These cool planters and banners were nice markers to help us stay on the route.
At Howard Park, there were these three monolithic stones carved with a variety of interesting things along Route 66 from trains and trolleys to Burma-Shave.
We were surprised when we encountered this Goodwill Industries complex a little further down the road.
They had completely embraced the Route 66 theme for their store signs and building fa├žade. Way to go, Goodwill!
There was love for Route 66 everywhere.
Tulsa has had everything Route 66-y: neon, Art Deco, good signage, ...
... and the Route 66 shield painted on the road.
This sculpture, titled "Tribute to Sapulpa Industry and Workers," celebrates the brick, pottery, and glass industries in and around Sapulpa.
Sapulpa bills itself as the "Crossroads of America," sitting at the crossing of US Route 66, running from east to west, and US Route 75, which runs from north to south.
The Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum has the world's tallest replica antique gas pump. The brightly painted 66 foot tall pump makes the museum visible from quite a distance.
There were portions of what appeared to be the original Route 66 roadway off to the side of road. You can see it in this photo as the gray line just in front of the trees on the right side of the picture.
The Rock Cafe, in Stroud, Oklahoma, had two characters from the Pixar movie "Cars" out in front. The character Sally Carrera was based on the owner, Dawn Welch.
Stroud also had this gigantic concrete mileage post showing that we were just about one-third of the way across Route 66, with 738 miles down and 1385 to go.
Check out the Skyliner Motel sign.
Welcome to Davenport, Oklahoma.
Don't you just want to knock down some pins at the 66 Bowl in Chandler, OK?
Or stay at the Lincoln Motel?
Check out the orange, green, and blue roof tiles on this antique Phillips 66 service station.
Chandler, Oklahoma. Main Street USA.
We were both feeling hungry, so we stopped for second lunch at Taco Mayo. Tom got a grilled chicken burrito and Debbie got two soft tacos with ground beef.
This was the Lawless Gas Station outside Arcadia. Rumor has it that there was a secret room where counterfeit 10 dollar bills were printed.
We passed John Hargrove's property on which he has built mini-replicas of many Route 66 attractions. Hey! We recognize this from this morning. It's the Blue Whale!
His property had lots of adorable tiny Route 66 attractions everywhere, including restored gas stations and mileage posts.
We didn't recognize everything, but we probably will when we've completed the route. Maybe we'll even see Love Bugs half-buried in the ground and twin arrows somewhere.
We had to circle back to get a better look at this beautiful sign for Happy Cow Ranch. The cows definitely look happy.
This round barn in Arcadia was built in 1898 and touts itself as the only wooden round barn on Route 66. We'd seen other round barns on the road, but this one was definitely closest to the road, and we couldn't tell you what the others were made of.
Debbie started to get very excited when the big bottle at Pop's 66 came into view. The 66-foot tall neon soda bottle marks the entrance to ...
... a combination gas station, cafe, and craft soda superstore.
Look at all of those bottles of craft soda!
There are so many to choose from, but we were strong and limited ourselves to building one six pack.
We took it very seriously, and examined all of the choices very carefully.
Here's what we ended up with, from left to right, back row: Boots Beverages Dewberry Soda, Kiddy Cocktail Shirley Temple, and Pikes Peak Prickly Pear. From left to right, front row: Jackson Hole Orange Cream, W.T. Heck Marshmallow Soda, and Route 66 Lime.
In Edmond, Oklahoma, we encountered this giant cross statue that was 138 feet high made from concrete, similar to those we would see in Groom, Texas and Effingham, Illinois later in the trip.
Outside the Oklahoma County Courthouse, we ran across yet another Statue of Liberty replica placed by the Boy Scouts in the 1950s.
We were driving on the 1959 alignment down Lincoln Boulevard when we saw a tragic sight, ...
... a closed Grandy's Restaurant. The number of Grandy's locations are dwindling.
The route took us straight to the Oklahoma State Capitol Building.
From there, we headed west past the Tower Theatre, which looked lovely.
We followed the original 1926 route to ...
... the giant Braum's milk bottle statue on the edge of Chinatown, ...
... and then past Neptune Submarine Sandwiches with the very cool roof, ...
... the Boom-a-Rang Diner, ...
... a giant globe, ...
... and the Western Motel.
As we entered Yukon, Oklahoma, we passed this giant building advertising Yukon's Best Flour. The sign on top probably looks great at night.
We passed the famous Sid's Diner, ...
... in El Reno, Oklahoma, ...
... the Crossroads of America.
This part of Route 66 followed the Chisholm Trail, which was used to drive cattle overland from ranches in Texas to the railheads in Kansas for shipment to more lucrative markets in the eastern US.
The Centre Theatre was showing "Karate Kid." Wax on. Wax off.
We were really enjoying all of the different signs that said we were on Route 66.
As we drove out of El Reno, the road was flat and looked very much like what Route 66 probably looked like for hundreds of miles back in the day.
We passed these wooden figures from behind, ...
... which turned out to be 18-foot tall cutouts of two Muffler Men and one Uniroyal Gal.
At the Cherokee Trading Post, we saw this Bison statue, ...
... and this one. These matched and may have been part of Oklahoma City's "Spirit of the Buffalo" street art in 2004, but we're not sure.
Bonus! One live bison was hanging out as well ...
... just up the road from the El Reno West KOA Journey, our destination for the night.
We had reserved this wonderful cabin, ...
... which had a nice lake view.
Inside the cabin off the main room was a separate room with two bunk beds.
Back in the main room, there was a queen size bed, ...
... a table for two, a TV, ...
... and a kitchenette with microwave and a refrigerator.
We had an appetizer of yummy tomato basil broth, followed by a dinner of freeze-dried mushroom risotto. 

Day 5 >


California 2021: [Day 1 - Chicago] [Day 2 - Route 66: IL] [Day 3 - Route 66: MO] [Day 4 - Route 66: OK] [Day 5 - Route 66: TX] [Day 6 - Route 66: NM] [Day 7 - Route 66: AZ] [Day 8 - Route 66: CA] [Day 9 - Route 66: CA] [Day 10 - Los Angeles] [Day 11 - Los Angeles] [Day 12 - Palm Springs] [Day 13 - Joshua Tree NP] [Day 14 - Death Valley NP] [Day 15 - Las Vegas] [Day 16 - Zion NP] [Day 17 - Grand Canyon North Rim] [Day 18 - Toroweap, Grand Canyon] [Day 19 - Page, AZ] [Day 20 - Durango, CO] [Day 21 - Great Bend, KS] [Day 22 - St. Louis, MO] [Day 23 - Heading Home]

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