Category Archives: Route 66 Museum

Was this the way to Amarillo?

The temperature this afternoon crept up to 98 degrees Farenheit which, coupled with a strong wind, made the car journey in its air conditioned comfort a pleasure, despite the distance.  Of course, I did the Peter Kay walk and sang happily as we loaded up the car and it must have been the right way as we reached Amarillo late this afternoon.  Needless to say, there was an adventure along the way.

We both agreed that a visit to the highly recommended National Route 66 Museum in Elk City was a ‘must’. Our optimism was justified and the transportation element was great fun with the chance to sit in a Cadillac, climb aboard a fire engine and ogle the motorbikes provided many a giggle. The funniest moment might have been Carolyn’s determination to come down the firemen’s pole – which she did with aplomb!

The Old Town element showed us a two storey Victorian house, the top of which was devoted to early cowboy and rodeo way of life. There was an Opera House, a Livery stable, Railroad depot, drug store, a church and, of course, the jail.

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We had found some quirky 66 stuff shown in one of our books in a place called Erick. Oh boy, was that a story.  I will forever think of it as “Revenge of the Sat Nav” after we had decided to do our own thing in Oklahoma yesterday.  We thought we were being clever when we put in a rather obscure but very precise address.  After turning off onto  smaller and smaller roads, we realised we were really in the heart of nowhere. We came upon Erick Cemetery and reasoned we were not too far away, so reprogrammed and, at that point, you could almost sense, “You have to be kidding me”, from the sat nav.  We went from narrow country lanes (without a building or vehicle in sight), to narrower dirt lanes, to ones where the grass growing in the middle was rattling the car’s undercarriage.  All I could think was, “Please don’t let me break down”. Eventually we made it into “town” to find the exhibit which we were looking for was both delapidated and closed. Thinking about it, the town seemed closed too. Nowhere for a coffee, not that I was remotely interested in lingering longer and was just itching to get back to the highway.  We found said road in just about a mile, which is when I knew the sat nav had been having a laugh.  This was real redneck country and not for the faint  hearted!

Because we were in Texas, it had to be steak for lunch.  By this time, we were in Shamrock, saw more Route 66 antiquities but were seduced by Big Vern’s Steakhouse for a sirloin and a salad.  Time was moving on, so onwards to another hotel. Because it is a Holiday Inn and same chain as last night, we are instantly at home. We were invited to Happy Hour in the lobby with snacks, beer and wine, all free. Amazing.

Tired now and 300 miles tomorrow but still looking for “Sweet Marie who waits for me”. Come on, sing the song!!

Carolyn’s Curios

When we look at modern day America with Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric (and some in the UK!), we may forget that all Europeans in the US were immigrants. More than that, they were invaders! Recently, we’ve driven through ‘homelands’ of Cheyenne, Navajo and Shawnee. Deprived of their ancestral birthrights, I can only imagine how they may feel as Native Americans.

As we could needed the miles we’d set ourselves for today, we noticed that the land had changed. The brown and grey of the soil had given way to take on a red hue.

Reminding us of the flatness, likelihood of high winds and, of course, tornados, it was salutary to see roadside billboards broken but still advertising ‘Camping’ with clean rest rooms and… storm shelters

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A few interesting road signs have caused me to smile. Wrong way signs on one way streets, Yield, instead of Give Way, and, the best of all, for me, the speed sign in redneck mid-America pronouncing firmly ‘No tolerance’!

Wild life isn’t too evident here. Black Angus cattle, a few horses and a couple of squirrels but today I saw a coyote.

I’ve commented elsewhere about my experience of music -especially ‘popular’ – so the Roger Miller Museum prompted slightly off key versions of ‘King of the Road’ and, of course, ‘England Swings’.

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So, we hit Texas and the Purple Heart Trail. Suddenly, for me, we now seem a long way from the UK. However, the journey continues… more exploring, more sights, more music, more fun!

Again, to end, as Kath misses out in the main blog her part in the posing for photos, a few here…

Oklahoma City does, indeed, look mighty pretty

The day began with bright blue cloudless skies in Tulsa and remained thus for the whole of our 250 mile journey.  Once again, we elected to take the fastest route to the first of our agreed points of interest, which meant we took the turnpike for 90 miles before turning off onto Route 66. We continue to be fascinated by the vastness of the scenery, which today took us through horse breeding country, cattle ranches and vast pasturelands. Equally there were plenty of “empty miles”, with fields, trees, lakes, and simple ponds.

Our first stopping point was a tiny gas station in Arcadia where we were clearly items of curiosity for a couple of good ol’ boys working on a nearby fence.  From there it was just a few yards to ‘The Round Barn’, which is a much photographed Route 66 icon. Looking around the gift shop/memorabilia exhibits on the ground floor was interesting but the vast upper floor was a jaw dropping moment. The huge expanse of ceiling was a work of art, as was the wooden floor.  They were preparing for a wedding later in the day, so, after enjoying listening to a “fiddler” warming up, we moved on up the road to “Pop’s”.

Just as the barn was quaint and old, Pop’s was an almost futuristic gas station/shop/restaurant with a modern sculpture of a bottle of pop declaring its speciality. For Pop’s sells just about every flavour of soda known throughout North America.  What an array.  People were streaming in for meals but also to buy carriers full of their favourite sodas.  Carolyn bought a vanilla one, so we will see what she thinks in due course.

An additional attraction was the long, long line of motorcycles and tricycles parked up. We talked to a guy driving a fabulous yellow tricycle to find that he was leading a long line of motorcyclists who were having a weekend fund raising trip for a colleague suffering from cancer.  It was quite a sight, and quite a noise too!

As we left, still on the old road, we agreed that whatever the lady in the sat nav said, we were going through and not around Oklahoma City.  Carolyn defied all instructions for turning around and executing U-turns and we had a lovely drive around the very quiet city on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  Great buildings, friendly folks who waved as I took endless photographs and we enjoyed ‘beating the sat nav’ as we slid quietly back onto the route provided.  Chuckles.

We took another slight diversion to see two things: another ever so slightly rundown little town with historic landmarks and finally the rather wonderful Route 66 Museum at Clinton. This was full of exhibits from the various decades, all with music to match the era.  Just wonderful.

I said this morning that it felt a long way from the sea…and so it is. We are about half way across America and won’t see the Pacific until the end of the trip. Bizarrely, even knowing that, it doesn’t stop you scanning the vast horizon as you crest the brow of the hill. You can see for miles and miles, but not quite that many!!!

Carolyn’s Curios

The mile after mile of usually straight rolling road is often punctuated with churches. Today’s two most unusual ones were ‘Rock of the Resurrection’ and the ‘Infant Jesus of Prague’.  Interesting.

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Today started with another first for me… I made my own waffle for breakfast. Waffle is one of my specialities but that’s when I talk off subject!  My breakfast waffle wasn’t bad “who says it as shouldn’t”.

Food later at Pop’s had a very different flavour.

As Kath writes, I have a penchant for defying the Sat. Nav. and answering it back!  It didn’t help yesterday when she told us to go down a road which the police had blocked off; nor today when there was a road closed for repairs. However, most times it is simply we don’t want to go the quickest route – we want the most interesting. Armed with a good sense of direction, we try to outthink the algorithm – usually with success  We found the hotel last night that way and we found most of our Historic Route 66 highspots today… plus a few potholes! One of our finds was the Route 66 Museum – my favourite of the day in many ways.

Yesterday, we noted ‘Carolyn’s Cafe’ on a mural and today a sign to Carolyn Inn. A popular name but the latter, I found, was the scene of a double murder last year  maybe ‘CAROLYN’ will be less popular!

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Confession time: yesterday I committed a felony, apparently. Having purchased a Toll Pass for turnpikes when we hired the car, we drove through the Pass Lanes at speed in Oklahoma doing a realistic impression of Smokey and the Bandit or the Gumball Rally. However, we have found that our Pass applies here in almost all States… except Oklahoma! Whoops! Their website says doing that is a felony. I’ve written an email to them and am awaiting the reply! Update when available. My email was written in the first person singular so Kath can ‘post the bail money’ if needed  #onlykidding

Talking of Kath – laid back or upright – the Rainbow smile is consistent!