Route 66: Joplin, MO to Tulsa, OK

Day 13: Sunday, May 12, 2013
Start: Joplin, MO
End: Tulsa, OK
Miles Driven Today: 166 (including 33 miles in Tulsa)
Total Miles: 2,284

Today was a three-state day. Given that we were only in Missouri for about five minutes after we left the hotel and that Route 66 only traverses 15 miles within Kansas, it wasn’t a great feat. But hey, three states are three states! We started off with our first state-line crossing into Galena, Kansas. We had planned to stop at the “4 Women on The Route” restored O-Tex gas station, but it was closed. Sunday (and Mother’s Day) means empty streets and closed shops and restaurants in these parts!

Welcome to Kansas

Welcome to Kansas

We drove down the road towards Baxter Springs and encountered the Rainbow Curve Bridge. This is the last of three “Marsh Arch” bridges (named for the designer) that were on Route 66 in Kansas.

Rainbow Curve Bridge

Rainbow Curve Bridge near Baxter Springs

Rainbow Curve Bridge Sign

Rainbow Curve Bridge

We really liked the road stamps all across the short stint of Route 66 in Kansas. We saw these everywhere across the 15-ish miles of road across the state.

Route 66 Kansas

Marking the way across Route 66 Kansas

After a few minutes, whoooooosh…we were in Oklahoma!

Into Oklahoma

After a blink of an eye, we were in Oklahoma

We drove through Quawpaw, Commerce, Miami and Narcissa, OK before we made our first stop at the Afton Station and Route 66 Packard Museum in Afton, Oklahoma. Laurel Kane (owner) and Ron (a volunteer) greeted us warmly as we walked into the museum and gift shop. Laurel has acquired and restored quite an impressive collection of Packards (and one odd vehicle). My very favorite was the 1917 Packard Twin Six–what I call the “Original RV.” I also loved the simple but graceful hood ornaments. Laurel had around twenty cars in her collection–all in mint condition! We were encouraged to spend time looking at both garages to view these vintage treasures!

After some time, we went back to chat with Laurel and Ron. She took our picture with the girls, talked about Jay Leno’s interest in her vehicles (she emailed him and invited him to visit when he was touring the area; he received the email too late and called her personally to chat with her about the cars!). It was a worthwhile stop and an incredible collection!

1953 Packard

Afton Station – Route 66 Packards – 1953 Packard

1950 Studebaker

1950 Studebaker – Tom said that his family had one of these when he was growing up!

Hood Ornament

Love the hood ornaments!

Maserati

What’s a Maserati doing here?

1917 Packard Twin Six

1917 Packard Twin Six – The first off the line, according to Laurel! This is the true original RV!

Off we went down the open road, once again enjoying a beautiful day.

Fine day

A fine day

Open Road

Another day across open road. I could get real used to this!

We decided to take a side trip off Route 66 near the town of Foyil to visit the Totm Pole Park, home of the World’s LARGEST Totem Pole. Built by Ed Galloway between 1937 and 1948, Galloway built this and a number of other concrete totems in this little park. The park also houses the 11-sided Fiddle House that once housed over 400 hand-carved violins. A collection of about 100 of them still resides in the museum/gift shop.

Tallest Totem Pole

World’s Largest Totem Pole – Ed Galloway built the totem pole over 11 years (1937-1948). Over 90 feet tall!

Another Ed Galloway Totem

Another Ed Galloway Totem

After we got back on Route 66, we had to stop and visit the Blue Whale. A remnant of an old amusement park, this whale now resides at a pond and is open to the public. When we visited, a couple of families with kids were fishing off the tail of the whale. There were squeals of excitement as one of the little girls caught a fish! Whee! Okay, it was kitschy, but cute.

The Blue Whale Catoosa OK

The Blue Whale in Catoosa, OK

The Blue Whale

Isn’t he cute?

The Catoosa Blue Whale

Tom in the belly of the whale! EEK!

We made it to Tulsa today, We settled into our dog-friendly room at a La Quinta, and then drove around town. We saw Oral Roberts University, more churches than we could count, and had dinner at the traditional Tulsa Vietnamese Pho house. But seriously, we did have dinner at Pho Da Cao (FABULOUS) and then followed that up with frozen custard at Freckles.

Tomorrow, we plan on reaching Oklahoma City and Amarillo, TX the following day. That is, unless we see something/someplace that pushes us in a different direction or makes us want to stay in a different place! That’s how we roll!

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5 thoughts on “Route 66: Joplin, MO to Tulsa, OK

  1. It was so nice to meet you and Jasmine and Julia at Afton Station on Sunday. It sounds like your trip is going well. You are always welcome to come back for a visit if you decide to “do” Route 66 again.

    Laurel
    Afton Station, OK

  2. Glad to see you guys are having fun. Keep the updates coming.

    ps. Your lawn has been cut for the first time along with ours.

  3. Pingback: Nothing to Fear, for Texas is Here – and Enjoy the God’s World | Shy Woman: Master of Observation

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