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!
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.
Bridge #2 was a 3/4-mile long Pony Bridge that spanned the South Canadian River near Bridgeport, OK.
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.
The rest of the road was peaceful and lovely. We’re getting spoiled with the lack of traffic and the wide expanses of prairie!
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.
There were a couple of kachinas outside by artist Wanda Queenan. Kind of cool!
Tom particularly liked the Farm exhibit. I wonder why…
The Transportation building had some great vintage cars and motorcycles, including this Indian.
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.
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!