Thursday, July 3, 2008

Oklahoma, Where Route 66 Rushes Across the Plain

The Blue Whale of Catoosa

After getting a late start we made for our first stop of the day, the Blue Whale of Catoosa. The concrete grinning whale was the star of a former swimming hole and is now renovated as a park though no swimming is allowed. You enter its mouth and there are slides where its fins are and its tail is a diving platform.

Next we stopped in Tulsa, OK. We went to the fairgrounds to see the Golden Driller. The Golden Driller is a 76 foot tall statue of an oilman leaning on an actual oil derrick. In 1979 he was selected as Oklahoma's official state monument.

The Golden Driller

Ned and Joe Could Fit in His Boot

Between Tulsa and Oklahoma City there are some classic Route 66 sights. Sapulpa, OK is the home of Frankoma Pottery. Stroud, OK is the site of the Rock Cafe which had an unfortunate fire a few weeks ago. In Arcadia, OK we stopped at the Round Barn, a beloved Route 66 icon. Down the road from the Round Barn we stopped for gas at a place called Pops. It is a shrine to soda pop with a 66 foot tall soda bottle out front and glass walls lined with pop bottles

A Tribute to Sapulpa Industry and Workers Includes Frankoma Pottery

The Rock Cafe After the Fire

The Round Barn of Arcadia

The Walls at Pops are Lined with Bottles

The 66 Foot Tall Bottle on Route 66

Now we were in Oklahoma City, the capital of Oklahoma. The alignment of Route 66 we drove took us right passed the capitol building with an oil derrick on the grounds. Downtown we made a sobering stop at the Oklahoma City National Memorial which honors the 168 victims of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in 1995.

The memorial consists of a lawn, where the building stood, with chairs representing those that lost their lives. Where the road was is a reflecting pool. At either end are the Gates of Time with 9:01 at one end and 9:03 at the other. One minute before the act and the innocence of the city and one minute after when we were changed forever. It is a very moving memorial.

The Oklahoma State Capitol Building

The Oklahoma City National Memorial

This part of Oklahoma has some of the longest stretches of original curbed concrete Route 66 and a long Pony Bridge using 38 "pony" trusses. After Oklahoma City we started to look for a place to stay the night. Red Rock Canyon State Park seemed like the spot. When we got to Red Rock Canyon State Park we found a campsite and started to set up the tent when a woman informed us that the site was "reserved" by her family. There was no park official around to confirm it so we left. After a quick meal in Weatherford, OK we went south a bit to Crowder Lake University Park and found a campsite there.

A Great Stretch of Route 66 Rolls Into the Horizon

The Long Pony Bridge From the Backseat

Claremore, OK to Crowder Lake University Park, OK, 256 miles 10 hrs 25 min

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