Route 66: Oklahoma City to Elk City, OK

Day 15: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Start: Oklahoma City
End: Elk City, OK
Miles Driven Today: 116
Total Miles: 2,540

The travel today was special. Much of old Route 66–with its concrete roadway–is now covered with asphalt or gone altogether. But certain parts of 66 have the old concrete pavers, with the whomp whomp of the tires across the expansion joints, singing as you drive along. The route between OKC and Elk City was mostly this type of road…a favorite for Route 66 fans.

We drove this road today, mainly as frontage that zig-zagged under, over and next to I-40. But our road was empty, and the pretty green plain flew by just a little slower than going the Interstate.

Right outside of OKC, we encountered our first bridge. It marked the entrance to Lake Overholder and a spectacular neighborhood of tony homes. There was a walking path along the lake…this would be a great place to live in the OKC area!

Lake Overholser bridge

Iron bridge to Lake Overholser

We got out of town and reached the town of El Reno and stopped at Fort Reno. Fort Reno was a remount depot where troops came and exchanged their horses for fresh stock. Troops from the Fort also supervised the first Land Run for settlers and helped the “orderly transition” of Indian Territory to individual farms. The most interesting artifacts were from the last remaining Buffalo Soldier from Oklahoma…he passed away earlier this year and left his memorabilia to the museum.

Fort Reno

Fort Reno

Bridge #2 was a 3/4-mile long Pony Bridge that spanned the South Canadian River near Bridgeport, OK.

Pony Bridge

Cool Pony Bridge

Motoring on, we drove our whomp-whomp road and stopped at the Cherokee Trading Post. While the shop was a bit cheesy, we did get to see a Longhorn steer and a Buffalo in the pen outside. Jasmine and Juliet were not impressed.

Longhorn

Howdy Longhorn!

Buffalo

Baby Buffalo

The rest of the road was peaceful and lovely. We’re getting spoiled with the lack of traffic and the wide expanses of prairie!

Open Road

Today’s open road on the concrete pavers. Whomp Whomp!

We reached Elk City in early afternoon, checked into the hotel and headed for the Route 66 National Museum in downtown Elk City. The museum is a complex of staged vignettes (buildings and scenes) plus museum exhibits. There were four main exhibits–Transportation, Route 66, Old Town and Farm & Ranch. Each of these buildings held artifacts. The Old Town building was fascinating with its collection of Rodeo memorabilia from the Buetler family–Rodeo riders and promoters famous in the area. The statue outside was created to depict one of the more famous riders in a Buetler rodeo.

Rode rider

Rodeo rider statue at the Route 66 National Museum

There were a couple of kachinas outside by artist Wanda Queenan. Kind of cool!

Wanda Queenan Kachina

Wanda Queenan Kachina

Wanda Queenan kachina

Another kachina

Tom particularly liked the Farm exhibit. I wonder why…

Tractor Envy

Tom has tractor envy

The Transportation building had some great vintage cars and motorcycles, including this Indian.

1948 Indian Chief

1948 Indian Chief

We’ve been having some great meals on the road. Yesterday, we had lunch at the Rock Cafe in Stroud, OK. Great fried dill pickles and a really flavorful chicken salad as well as great burgers. Tom’s description of the burger was mmmmmmfrlmmmmmm. 🙂 We met a young bus-boy, Wyatt, who kept us company as we ate and was happy to sign my Route 66 book. This 9-year-old kid was curious, funny and the epitome of the friendly nature of people we’ve met on the road.

Tonight, we had dinner at Prairiefire in Elk City. While it’s seen as a burger joint, they also serve a great assortment of steaks and a really really delicious salmon salad. YUM!

We’re in for the night, enjoying the company of our two travel companions. Of course, they’ve already commandeered the bed.

Bed hogs!

Bed hogs!

We’ve planned a bit out to ensure that we’d have reservations and some of our stops. Tomorrow, we’ll stay in Amarillo, TX. Thursday, we’ll stop in Tucumcari, NM. Friday night through Sunday night, we’ll stay in Santa Fe at a swanky spa hotel. Then we’ll most likely do a side trip to Taos before resuming the Route 66 trek. Stay tuned for more fun Lost in America posts!

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5 thoughts on “Route 66: Oklahoma City to Elk City, OK

  1. Love this trip and a great blog! Just planning ahead, you will need to take one whole day to visit Taos, the gorge bridge, and the pueblo if it is open. Check in at the Tourist Information Center when you arrive in Taos re: peublo schedule (not always open to public). There are two routes to Taos from Santa Fe: Recommend going up rte 84 to Pojoaque, then 503 to rte 76. Very scenic and little traffic. After Taos, return on rte 68 to 84; it is a bit faster and you’ll be tired by then. .

    • Thanks for the tips, John and Barb!! We’re staying one night in Taos, but seeing the sights (pueblo, Rio Grande Gorge, Earthships) on our way up. Thanks for the route info. We’ll definitely check it out!

  2. Sounds like you are having a wonderful time and the girls are being so good!! Wake up every morning and hop on the computer to read about your day!! Now that my dad is only farming 40 acres, he is restoring old tractors…Tom would love it!! Funny seeing different colored tractors at the farm because growing up they all like the one Tom is leaning on!

  3. hahahaha!! Not sure where the woman with the wires/curlers on her head went, but I saw it on my email!!! LOL!! That is one brave woman. Imagine if there was a power surge!

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