Snortin' "66" Norton

Snortin' "66" Norton
"Humpin' to Please!"

Sunday, May 13

Day 8: Oklahoma is OK, cont.

After leaving Afton, we were now so far behind schedule that we breezed through the small towns of Vinita and Chelsea and stopped in for our "morning snack" (I think it was about two in the afternoon) at the Top Hat Dairy Bar in Foyil. We had passed it but not stopped in last year, because we were in such a rush to get to Ed Galloway's Totem Pole Park and the world's tallest totem pole (it's 90 feet!). All of the totems there are made from concrete by one man (Ed) and it was by far one of the oddest places we've seen. We opted for ice cream this year - we'd had enough of the totems. At the Top Hat, we were a bit confused about how to order, so after we sat at a table for about 5 minutes, the 'helpful' cook told us we could come back there and order if we wanted something. We did not feel the need to tip, but our sundaes were good! The best part about the Top Hat was the community bulletin board, where we read about a stolen tractor (big one) that was last seen heading west on Highway 20. We are pretty sure Towmater got him.

I neglected to mention before that our National Geographic moment of the day involved me getting up close and personal with a BIG snapping turtle (a live one!) we saw on the road in between Baxter Springs and Riverton. Kim was hoping I would be able to outrun it, but there was no need. I scared him. Still way behind schedule, we flew past some of our favorite places from last year - Claremore, home of Will Rogers; Verdigris, where the Nut House (no, not for people like us) is; and Catoosa, home of the Blue Whale (one of our very favorite spots last year - it's a giant at 80 feet long) AND the largest inland seaport in the US (no kidding - and WHERE is the closest ocean to Oklahoma???) It is part of the McClellan-Kerr River system, and the answer to the trivia question is it's 445 miles to the Gulf of Mexico from here. Who knew?

Roaring into Tulsa with a list of things a mile long that we wanted to see and do, we could hardly wait to see if Elvis would be eating with us at the Metro Diner. We drove right past Tally's Cafe with plans just to stop in for a coke and a pit stop at the Metro but when we got to the driveway of one of the best diners in the country, it was being turned into APARTMENTS. Oh, the travesty of it all! Returning to Tally's, we discovered that the Metro was owned by the University of Tulsa, which evidently has no sense of history, architecture, or Americana. Money talks, I guess. Since we were so sad, we needed a plate of fried okra to cheer us up. And it did, 'cause it was nice and fresh and hot. Keep in mind, it's now almost 4:30 and we have not officially had never know when your next meal is coming!

Once fortified, we continued on our giant search in Tulsa, and boy, did we hit paydirt! We found the Golden Driller, who was TITANIC!! He dwarfed the building he was in front of at the expo center. We loved seeing some of Tulsa's fabulous Art Deco architecture (of which the Metro Diner had been a prime example) and we fumbled our way to the Blue Dome Gulf Station and Garage (1924). Sometimes I long for the days of Art Deco gas stations instead of the ones that look like they are all built from the same design, just with different decals applied. On our way out of town, we passed the mother of all Goodwill buildings - it looked like a Costco or something.

On the road again, we had a bead on the Rock Cafe in Stroud, but first we saw the Happy Burger in Sapulpa (which also has one of the last brick-decked bridges around) and we passed our funniest surprise from last year - a house on the road near Kellyville that has one very large and one small boat sticking out from it. In Bristow we found a neat old Chrysler Plymouth sign, a brick-lined street and a quaint depot. We didn't take our funny detour to Depew this time and finally we made it to the Rock Cafe, where we were to have LUNCH (it was six o'clock!). Were we ever in luck - it was Catfish Fryday, so of course we had catfish. You gotta love a place where the small plate has three huge pieces of very lightly breaded and very tasty catfish! We were stuffed when we left. I am not supposed to tell that Kim had more fried okra, but it was Fryday, after all. The Rock Cafe is where the guys who wrote and animated Cars hung out and got lots of their ideas and inspiration. Last year there was a "Sally" blue Porsche cutout under the Roadside Attraction sign, and this year there was also a Lightning McQueen and the Hudson Hornet. We may have forgotten to mention that in Indiana, we passed two vintage Hudson Hornets on the interstate... Read all about the Rock at and you'll see why we love it. People watching is one of the best things about traveling, and we loved the local woman who came into the Rock carrying a metal bucket for her purse.

Heading for Oklahoma City we pretty much decided we did not have time to make any more stops, as it would be getting dark soon and Stroud is 63 miles from where we were spending the night, so we amused ourselves with sights like the three horses who were "mowing the yard" in someone's very small front yard and the bright red hearth and chimney out in the middle of someone else's front yard. We did stop to see a neat little old (1933) Texaco station in Davenport and to see how much work had been done to an old (1930) Phillips 66 station we saw last year in Chandler. The Seaba Station at Warwick was a Roadside Attraction so we had to stop there... we are not very good about minding even our own rules, so you know our mom had her hands full. Kim would tell you that was only with me, as she was the good one. I can't argue, and I'm the one who's driving and therefore stopping...

Then we read about an intriguing little detour we could take between Luther and Arcadia, and since I was feeling guilty, I did not stop when we passed a house with several cars sticking out of it and other Route 66 memorabilia in the yard. What restraint. After a few missed turns, we found the detour, took it, and lo and behold, we ended up in front of that same funny house again. I can only be good for so long, so I stopped, even though Kim was yelling that there was a man in the yard watching us. I said that was fine and I'd ask him if we could look around. What a treasure we had uncovered! John Hargrove has got to be one of the most interesting and talented people we have met along the way. He is single-handedly making his own museum/monument to Route 66. An ex-pilot, he can flat do anything. He builds cars, welds, can make anything, upholsters, and has incredible vision. I cannot begin to describe all of the things we saw (he let us go in for a full tour!) in his workshop and building. Suffice it to say that I got to sit in the VW bug that was sticking out of the house while Kim stood on a deck and took my picture. John's goal is to have models of all of the famous Route 66 icons, and he must have 75% of them already!

You can read about John at (and see some giants, too.) He also told us that the person who lives in the house we took the detour to see is Jim Ross, who drew the maps that we used on the Route last year! Wish we had known that and I would have knocked on his door, too! He (Jim) also takes incredible photographs of Route 66. We are glad we used his maps for our first trip, since they were very true to the old road alignments. This year's EZ 66 Guide for Travelers, by Jerry McClanahan, has been perfect this time as we are playing catch up and see what we missed. And Jerry loves roadside giants, too!

So now it's pitch dark and we still have to drive 25 more miles, so we semi-followed our "no Rt. 66 after dark" rule and tried to take the interstate. At any rate, we got to Yukon, OK, at about 9:30 PM after putting 304 miles on the car - about par for the course for us. We were so far behind on our blogs and emails that we stayed up til 3 AM working on them, and we needed to get an early start the next day! Our alarm was set for 7 AM. Will the Sassy Sisters even hear the phone ring? If so, will they actually get out of bed? For the answers to these burning questions, tune in tomorrow!

Jan (the bad one)

1 comment:

Kim said...

Dear mom,
You ARE the bad one. And you wonder why your kids turned out like they did. I can't believe you talked to another stranger! I'm gonna tell on y'all.
Kim (your daughter, the bad one now that David has decided to be all responsible and stuff)