Friday, 23 October 2009

Not even 24 hours in Tulsa...

The last part of the drive out of Missouri ended up being a bit like Groundhog Day (the movie that is...). We had already crossed the Oklahoma state line when I realised that I had left my wallet in the motel in Monette. Fortunately it was only 50 miles down the road so we drove back, retrieved the wallet and then started the drive out of Missouri again. The advantage is that I knew what was coming so in drive two I got a few pics I wouldn't otherwise have had like Granby - the oldest mining town in the south west.
For the second time we noticed how bad the roads got as we crossed into Oklahoma and this continued until the other side of Tulsa. I don’t know what OK State spends its money on but it certainly isn't highway upkeep. Ironic really given that a road - Route 66 - is at the heart of the Oklahoma tourist industry.

We ended up taking Route 66 out of Tulsa faster than expected because we couldn't actually find the things we wanted to see. None of the maps we got from the info office were detailed enough to get a sense of where things really were and in some cases they didn't even correspond. Useful signs around the city itself were notable by their absence and there didn't seem to be central downtown area like most US cities. The last straw was a wrong turn into a one way street after which we fled Tulsa. It didn't help that we'd had a crap night's sleep in a very big motel, with very small rooms, a very uncomfortable bed and very noisy plumbing.

We headed to Chandler and enjoyed the few old Route 66 signs along the way and had a great lunch at the Rock Cafe. Ended up staying in Chandler's old Motel Lincoln  but that wasn't a great night's sleep either and at this point of the trip it was decision time. Did we detour south to Austin, Texas which had been highly recommended by several people, or did we go up north through Kansas and get to the next friend stop in Denver with plenty of time to spare for the Rockies and National parks in Utah.
After a good look at the map we decided that Austin was just too far a detour south and so Kansas it was... but not before checking out the Route 66 Interpretive Centre where you can lay on beds and watch short videos on subjects relevant to the 'Mother Road'. 

The idea and design of the centre are great and there are some superb photographs but the videos seemed a bit limited. The centre is new and they have the technology but they just need more content. Hopefully as they get more organised (and get more funding) they can bring in more history of the time and the importance of the road to the internal migration west. It would be great if they could do a video about the changing styles of US cars over the years and maybe even get a few more rela ones like the police car in the is a museum dedicated to a road after all.

The final stop in Oklahoma was the uber modern 'Pops' which is surely the coolest gas station in the world. Dedicated to the fizzy drink it has hundreds of different flavours, types and colours of bottled soda and they also provide the internal decor....

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