Welcome to TULSA. (not Oklahoma City)

20 Dec

I am not sure why I had in my head that today we were going to make it all the way to Oklahoma City. The destination all along for the day was Tulsa, and thank goodness because there is no way we could have made it any further without skipping sights, and there were many wonderful sights to see today despite being dogged by rain for all but an hour or two.

We left St. Louis bright and early and headed out on the route. As we wound our way west through Missouri I was pleasantly surprised by how pretty the countryside is. I lived in Missouri for a few years when I was very young but that area of the state was all flat farmland, nothing like the rolling hills we encountered. We passed through many small towns, most of which had at least one great hotel or gas station sign. In Lebanon, we also found the Bell Restaurant, which unfortunately is about to be demolished. We got great photos of the building and sign, and a few through the window of the great old diner interior. It’s possible that we may be the last people to photograph the site before it’s gone forever.

We had a great lunch in Springfield, MO, which was much larger than I expected and had a very charming downtown area. Not long after that we crossed the state line for the extremely short 13 mile stretch of Route 66 through Kansas. Though it was raining pretty hard and was slow going on a narrow road, it was well worth it to see the Rainbow Bridge, the only remaining Marsh arch bridge on Route 66 (named for their designer; there used to be three but the others were demolished).

Soon we were on our way to Oklahoma, where the scenery was beautiful – especially the clouds. We were alternating between rain and clear skies but the cloud formations were some of the most unusual I have ever seen, including the coloration. You could see for miles, and it was interesting to see the patterns of the storms as they moved across the area.

We made it to the outskirts of Tulsa just before sundown in time to see the famous Catoosa blue whale. He sits on the edge of a swimming hole (where there are numerous signs that say “no swimming”) surrounded by a small picnic area and a soda stand that is closed for the season. Dark was fully upon us as we entered Tulsa but we passed several more neon motel signs that we had to photograph.

Tomorrow we head to Amarillo, Texas (through Oklahoma City), where we will be putting the graffiti on Cadillac Ranch. Weather looks clear but cold for our trip tomorrow, which suits me just fine.


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