We got on the road at about 1:00 PM and resumed our journey on Southwest Boulevard and began to retrace the original Route 66. The old route 66 is still there but in places it has been covered by the interstate or crosses the newer roads as it goes from town to town. If we were to drive on Interstate 44 it would take about 90 minutes to get from Tulsa to Oklahoma City. By following the old route it took us 4 hours. Of course that includes stops for pictures and an hour break for lunch but if we had not stopped it would still have been a 3 hour drive. I have to admit that in spite of having lived here my whole life, I saw some things for the first time today and we had a great time.
Now I have a minor dilemma. I took a lot of photos today and will be taking more every day for a week. Now I either dribble them out over a long time, or post more material than you may want to see at one time. Well, I guess it is now or never. Please be patient and I hope you enjoy coming along on our trip. If it is too much then I invite you to come back and digest it over time. Please enjoy.
As we pass through West Tulsa the dominant feature on the west side of the Arkansas River is the maze of oil refineries and storage tanks. Tulsa came into being as an oil town and still produces and refines a lot of petroleum products. Granted that this is not the most scenic part of town and occasionally gives off an odor resembling rotten eggs. Long term residents will just laugh and tell you that it's the smell of money.
As we pass through the area known as Red Fork most of the old motels and attractions have disappeared but Ollie's is still here, and still serves great diner food. We have been here before and enjoyed the model trains that move around on tracks suspended from the ceiling.
Just west of Tulsa is Sapulpa, a town of about 20,000. Known for its conservative politics, the Sapulpa Daily Herald gained national media attention in early November 2008 for not reporting the election of Barack Obama as President, instead only writing that John McCain had won Creek County. For many years Sapulpa has been known as the home of Frankoma Pottery.
We stopped at the Sapulpa Trolley and Rail Museum. It is closed on Sunday but we still took a few photos.
I remember that every train had a caboose. Now very few do.
We passed through Bristow and noted that it has a number of elegant Victorian homes. Some have been Restored like this one. It is the office of a Home Health organization.
Others are less fortunate and are looking for someone to love them.
This is Stroud, Oklahoma. The downtown area is very typical of small Oklahoma towns. The prosperity of the 1920s looks frozen in time. These towns derived income from traffic of route 66 passing through. Now they are just exits off of the interstate.
The Skyliner Motel with its elaborate neon sign is typical of busier times.
The stone Rock Cafe was opened in May of 1939 and was a landmark on old highway 66. It burned to the ground in May 2008. The proprietor Dawn Welch rebuilt the cafe with the help of her family and it was reopened in May of 2009.
We enjoyed a very nice lunch there this afternoon and enjoyed meeting Dawn and her daughter Elexa. They are typical of a lot of the good people who live in Oklahoma.
In Chandler is the massive 1937 stone armory built by the WPA during the depression. It is now the Route 66 Interpretive Center with videos and exhibits.
It was not open on Sunday but we may come back another time. The cut stone is native sandstone and is an amazing example of the stone cutter's art. Many towns have these stone armories still standing, although to my knowledge none this large. I want to see the inside.
In Arcadia, Oklahoma is this great Round Barn. Constructed in 1898, it originally served of course, as a home for livestock and also as a place where dances were held for the local townspeople. As traffic slowly declined down Old Route 66, the town of Arcadia declined with it and after suffering decades of neglect, in 1988 the barn's immense 60' diameter roof finally collapsed. A group of local retirees who called themselves the "Over the Hill Gang" raised the money and recruited volunteers who lovingly restored the barn. There is a museum on the bottom floor and the upper "loft" is available for events. They have a website at Arcadia Round Barn.
As the only truly "round" barn (most are actually hexagonal or octagonal), the Barn is 60' in diameter, 45' in height and is two stories high. The upstairs loft has a wooden floor and an architecturally impressive ceiling. The structure was designed with the notion that being round would help it withstand Oklahoma's tornadic conditions. Who knows if it is scientifically accurate, but the barn is still standing after more than 107 years.
Just down route 66 from the round barn is Pops, a service station and restaurant that sells over 400 flavors of soda. In front is a 66 foot (20.1 Meters) statue of a soda bottle that is illuminated at night.
We tried the Peach Soda (fair) and the Vanilla Cream (excellent). It would take some time to try them all.
Well, that is it for the first day. We are hoping for some sunshine tomorrow. It was cloudy and rainy today although we had a very enjoyable day in spite of that. Smokey says he had a good time too. To be continued tomorrow.
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