Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Route 66: Afton to El Reno Oklahoma

Day 2 of our Journey through an American Legend

Route 66 Motel,
Afton, Oklahoma
- 2012/04/28 Saturday 02:19:50
Each room in this motel has taken on Route 66 cliche's as themes.  We stayed in the Elvis room.  I'm not sure wether Elvis had much to do with the route.  I know he was a truck driver before he made it big as a singer, but I'm not sure if he made it this far.  By the time he was a recognized star a lot of performers of his stature flew to their gigs.  However, maybe he toured around by bus.  Somebody who is more interested in that part of history might be able to give an answer on that.  We settled into our room which was fairly confortable, and I worked on all my tecno shtuff waay to late while Suyen slept.
- 2012/04/28 Saturday 02:20:02
- 2012/04/28 Saturday 07:33:14
We got up to a grey florescent morning.  The severe weather yesterday petered out for the most part.  A couple of lucky storm chasers were there to document the brief rain-wrapped tornado that touched down in north central Kansas, but most of the hundreds of chasers drove many hours to just look at clouds, as usual.  I've tried to turn my chasing trips into day trips just to get something out of it other than a long drive.  Today I walked around a bit with the video camera to get some shots of the motel, the cafe next door and the road.  I heard the train last night and hoped to get some railZEN video, but you can't see it from our location.  Train tracks parallel most of route 66 as the main roads were built along areas surveyed by the railroads.  I went to the cafe next door and got us coffee and toast for breakfast.  It is a typical small town cafe with a large breakfast croud made up mainly of people over 55 and some truckers.
When I look outside my doorway, first thing was my priority for the day.... cawfeeeee....
 Breakfast of champions!

Tima is darkening the doorway of this Route 66 Cafe Checking Out

Silliness with the large buffalo statue...

 Suyen, for some reason decided to head butt the buffalo just as I was clicking the shutter.  She said she didn't realize there were some ridges on the head of the buffalo statue.  I wonder how many other tourists get silly with this statue.

 Tima and the buffalo

 Driving on into Afton, Oklahoma

 Abandoned court motel on the old route...

Vinita, Oklahoma
- 2012/04/28 Saturday 11:37:00
305 South Wilson Street, Vinita, OK 74301
Suyen just went in to get some beef jerky for "rent" for using the facilities.  She came out with the whole menu, I think.  I've even heard a comparison to Oklahoma Joes in Kansas City.... now that's saying something.  There goes our diet..... again.

Shout and Sack, Vinita Oklahoma

- 2012/04/28 Saturday 11:50:11
White Oak, Oklahoma

- 2012/04/28 Saturday 12:04:08
Chelsea, Oklahoma

- 2012/04/28 Saturday 12:15:25
Passed through Bushyhead and Foyil, Oklahoma
- 2012/04/28 Saturday 12:27:40
Claremore, Oklahoma

- 2012/04/28 Saturday 12:57:23
Cherokee Nation Welcome Center
Bosselman Travel Center
16141 East Skelly Drive, Tulsa, OK 74116
As we came into Tulsa, for the first time we were routed onto innerstate highway.  Route 66 in many areas became a part of the new highway.  Often it can be found in glances across to the outer road if you are looking, or sometimes it is the lane you are on as it was upgraded and buried under another anonymous asphault ribbon.  More often the road is the two lane off to the right or left of the highway, as the quality of the original concrete construction is incongruent with the new asphault grade -- concrete and asphault do not mix, much like the two Americas divided by pace and mindset.  Tulsa becomes tricky.  Signs that say 66 often are not, and will lead you straight to the highway like a bad asumption that everyone wants to be homogenized into a huge migrating mass intent only on getting somewhere else fast.  We are somewhere else, and that somewhere else is here and now as our journey has become our destination.  Too many places have become fly-over with fly-over mentalities and fly-over lives.  How nice it is to be able to slow down and meet people.  The old road was bypassed because it was too slow, and because people didn't want to stop at every crossroads in the US, so the process of elimination began almost as soon as the road had begun to be dreamed up, and all the byways and driveways and motor courts and lives became surplus as the cars stacked up in traffic jams.  Larger towns on the route are not as apt to put up signage, and so it is easy to get turned around and mired and mixed into the anonymous ribbon that is the modern thourougfare -- bland blurs of trucks, cars, asphault and expedience.  Expediency is not always efficient, it just depends on where you are going.
We found ourselves on the highway in eastern Tulsa.  We needed to stop and find our route.  I saw a sign for the Cherokee Welcome Center at the last exit and decided it would be a great place to stop, learn something, and to get back on our track.  The center was full of interesting history of the Cherokee people and the trail of tears.  It was full of books, t-shirts, artwork, souvenirs and other items.  We got our bearings, some refrigerator magnets, a pee break, some coffee and back on the highway to the next exit, which, after some confusion as to weather we needed to go left or right, we made the right choice and drove into downtown Tulsa.
- 2012/04/28 Saturday 13:16:56
Cherokee Nation Welcome Center




April 28, 2012 at 12.26pm CDT


April 28, 2012 at 12.34pm CDT

April 28, 2012 at 12.35pm CDT
April 28, 2012 at 12.36pm CDT 

April 28, 2012 at 12.38pm CDT 
April 28, 2012 at 12.38pm CDT
April 28, 2012 at 12.39pm CDT

April 28, 2012 at 12.41pm CDT
April 28, 2012 at 12.41pm CDT
April 28, 2012 at 12.41pm CDT
April 28, 2012 at 12.42pm CDT
April 28, 2012 at 12.42pm CDT
2012:04:28 12:42
2012:04:28 13:42
2012:04:28 12:45
2012:04:28 12:46



- 2012/04/28 Saturday 13:40:57
Downtown Tulsa
The street downtown was mainly straight through.  I was admiring many great examples of the signage.  Many of the areas had seen better days, and testament to Americans addiction to the automobile was seen the the many outlets for buying used cars.  Every so often there would be a re-assuring "historic 66" sign letting us know we were still on the right road, however, they were often sparse in the city.  We sometimes felt as though we were connecting the dots.  The dots disappeared downtown though.  Our only guide was an online description of the route, which, thankfully was working in the populated area.  Anything online becomes iffy in areas with poor cell service.  We detoured downtown to get some pictures with the dash cam. then found ourselves on what we hoped was our intended path out of downtown.  Tulsa seems typical of many midwestern cities where there is not much going on in town on the weekends.  There looked to be some high school kids touring around and one area that had some cafes with people in them, but not much else.  There is an interesting church on the south side of downtown that really drew our attention effectively -- it looked like a small art deco sky scraper.  Driving out of town we found ourselves on a bridge next to a bridge.  I think when they bypassed the old route, the built another bridge next to it.  Then we were in an industrial area where we had to make a choice of which alignment to take.  We somehow chose the older one.

Boston Avenue Methodist Church

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia





- 2012/04/28 Saturday
Sapulpa, Oklahoma
It is a shame we didn't stop here to walk around downtown.  This seems like a gorgeous little town with a nice shade tree lined main street which route 66 passes right through.  There was a cafe on a corner with a diner theme going and I think it had route 66 in the neon signage, which is common all along the route.  We lost time when the road split west of Tulsa into an old alignment and newer one.  Many of the old alignments are so old, and their time period before being bypassed by a new route so brief that you would hardly see any signs of the old route.  Such was the case with the alignment we took.  The old Frankhoma pottery factory is still there, but it looked to be out of business.  I think it was a destination on the old route for tourists.  We  had to stop and consult the online guide, which was slowed up by lack of data in the area.  When we got to Frankhoma, we knew we were on the right route as it was mentioned in the guide.  As  as we got there, a "historic 66" sign appeard as if we needed it by then.




- 2012/04/28 Saturday
Bristow, Oklahoma
Route 66 seems to dance with the interstate that bypassed it.  I learned later that the interstate here actually was one of the first in the country, having been built before Eisenhower created the nationwide system of highways that became known as the interstates.  It is a toll road, and I have found out painfully that it uses the old system of collecting tolls which will only accept coins.  The Kansas Turnpike is much more modern and better.  Coming into town we started seeing many signs advertising a motorcycle rally trip on route 66. 


- 2012/04/28 Saturday
Depew, Oklahoma
A very interesting thing happened here.  We were driving route 66, when a "hitoric 66" sign appeared with an arrow pointing to the left.  Not wanting to get routed off the road again, after our previous mis-adventures, we dutifully followed the sign after cramming the breaks pretty hard to make the turn.  This route put us on a several block long detour into downtown Depew, which was a part of the old route a long time before the whole road was bypassed by the highway in the fifties.  There must be a strong tourist lobby here to get this re-route of the signage.  When we got back on the road several blocks later, we were rather amused.  It was fascinating to see this small towns downtown area.
- 2012/04/28 Saturday
Stroud, Oklahoma
We saw the rock cafe on the way into down, and should have stopped, but didn't.  If we had, we might have met the real person who the character Sally in Pixar's Cars was based on.  We came to the main crossroads in Stroud, and saw a sign that said road closed 8 miles ahead, local traffic only.  We should have ignored it.



Davenport, Oklahoma


- 2012/04/28 Saturday
Walmart Supercenter
3100 East 1st Street, Chandler, OK 74834
We are here to use the restroom after taking the worlds most infuriating abd uneccesary detour.  The sign said rt66 closed 8 miles ahead, do we followed tge detour signs.  10 miles out of our way later and past a casino I decided to tur. Around.  The turnpike was hopeless as there was no sign of another exit.  So we detoured 2.5 miles north and I don't know how mant miles west but it was no good as we still found ourselves 3 miles on the wrong side of tge construction which turned out to be work on a rail road bridge.  However, we saw a lot of local traffic taking a detour.  We followed rhem, and wala, in less than three miles we had our detour.


- 2012/04/28 Saturday
Route 66 Interpretive Center
400 East 1st Street, Chandler, OK 74834
Tima looking through the mail slot at the Route 66 Interpretive Center in Chandler, Oklahoma
Not a museum -- an interpretive center of Route 66.  Interpretive centers are more interactive preferring to let you experience the subject rather than passively read about it and look at artifacts.
The gift shop is pretty complete.  We got tired of no data letting us down just when the road turned and there were no signs, so we bought an old fashioned map -- this one was a set by Jerry McClanahan.





Arcadia, Oklahoma
660 West Highway 66, Arcadia, OK 73007

After reading that article clipping our friend gave us, we knew we had to try Pop's.  Pop's is a unique oasis.  When so much history is weed choked and forgotten, it is nice to see a real and unique revival.  This place brings you back to what was good about a time without the retro sentimenatlity that only see's everything in an unsustainable day dream.  Pop's IS a working gas station.  It is also a diner and a store and a rest stop.  This rest stop, however, brings people way out of their way, off of the interstate just to come here.  Pop's is a vision of the future and a blue print for success.  Suyen counted this as the highlight of our day.  It was worth making it here.  There were kids dressed up for their prom and a group of antique car people out for a cruise came by and made the visit perfect.  A lot of families were having fun here without the imbibement of intoxicants.  Imagine that.  You don't have to, just go!




I'm surrounded by smart asses!
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


- 2012/04/28 Saturday 
Walgreens Pharmacies
2400 North May Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73107
Suyen had to use the facilities at the Walgreens, which is the only stop we made in OK City.  I guess this Walgreens is in not such a great neighborhood as the security guard eyed Suyen suspicously and the bathroom was locked and required an employee with a key card to get in.  Suyen said a lot of the patrons looked very drugged up and threadbare.  I saw some of that walking in and out as I sat in the car and waited.
- 2012/04/28 Saturday 21:48:12
Best Western Hensley's
2701 South Country Club Road, El Reno, OK 73036
- 2012/04/28 Saturday

The parking lot of the animal hospital where we checked out our room on the internets.
The only motel in El Reno that seemed passable at this late hour was the Best Western on the south side of the interstate.  We stopped at a pet hospital in an old a frame drive in to check yelp and google for rooms.  When we got to the Hensley's we found that its history goes back to one family who got their start on route 66 in El Reno.  When we got into our room, I turned on the tv to find that severe weather had followed us, and there was hail heading our way.  So we got the rental car and found a nearby awning and documented the storm with our camera.  
2703 South Country Club Road, El Reno, OK 73036
After the hail, we went to Denny's for a late dinner.  I believe that it is tied to the hotel and the restaurant that preceeded it....

Hensley's Consumers Cafe and Oil Company El Reno OK

Riding out the hail storm


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