Category: Oklahoma-2016

Random Odds and Ends from Kansas and Missouri

Random Odds and Ends from Kansas and Missouri

My route back home to Long Island from Catoosa, Oklahoma in October of 2016 bumbled along Route 66.

At the time I remember feeling like I was moving too fast, that I wasn’t taking enough time to linger. I don’t know why that happens but it does. You long for time away and then while you’re in the midst of it, you won’t slow down to savor it.

Looking through my limited selection of photos through Kansas and Missouri, hindsight tells me that I did it wrong. I hurried too much.

While traveling along ’66 in Illinois, I saw a vibrant blue Selz shoe wall adย in the town of Chenoa. While this one doesn’t quite compare aesthetically, it was still nice to see. This faded ad was in the town of Galena, Kansas.

Cars on the Route and the inspiration for Tow Mater.

I don’t know if I was delirious from dehydration or what, but the signs along the road for Uranus Fudge Factory cracked me up every time. To protect and serve Uranus.

Remember That Time I Rode to Oklahoma?

Remember That Time I Rode to Oklahoma?

In October of 2016, after completing the Void Rally 11 in Fredericksburg, Virginia I set off towards Oklahoma with the goal of seeing the Blue Whale of Catoosa. I know, I know. It’s ridiculous. But, that’s my specialty.


Straight as an arrow along Route 66 in Ok.

Swing and a Miss

With follow-through clearly being one of my shortcomings, I never did finish writing about and posting pics from that Oklahoma trip. On the heels of that, I didn’t finish posting photos and notes from my December 2016 California road trip. Hell, I don’t think I even finished up posting photos from my trip through Illinois in 2015. And then there is the little matter of finishing up my open Ask Me Anythings. I don’t even have a viable excuse.

Chances are you don’t care one way or the other so I’m not sure why I’m dancing around like this. I’m just going to shut up and post some pictures from Oklahoma.

Catoosa, Oklahoma

When you build something up in your mind as a pinnacle there is something of a coming down when you reach it. Because I was so focused on seeing the blue whale, I didn’t really have a plan for what I would do after that. Catoosa was the turnaround point of my trip, that much I knew. But there wasn’t anything penciled in after that. And so, I just stayed on Route 66 plugging away back towards Long Island.

Foyil, Oklahoma

Might big front yard turtle. They also had a “watermelon” propane tank back by the house but I couldn’t get a good snap of it. You’ll have to take my word for it and go see for yourself. This was a stones throw from Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park.

Chelsea, Oklahoma

Rush hour in Chelsea. Small towns like this are so far removed from my day to day reality. There is something about their spartan population that appeals to me. The life that I imagine is lived in such places tugs at my heart, every damned time.

Vinita, Oklahoma

This is a former Phillips 66 “batwing” station.

It’s been a minute since I’d seen one of these completely intact!

Commerce, Oklahoma

Another quiet town.

My interest in petroliana probably strikes some people as strange. Perhaps it is. I’m inclined to take a photo of an old gas pump or station more so than a tree. There is probably something psychologically telling in that. Perhaps we’d best leave it alone.

Afton, Oklahoma

The feeling of being far away from home was acute here, for some reason. When traveling on my own, there are times when my excitement is tempered by missing my family. Sharing photos is one thing but being able to turn to someone and speak about what you’re seeing is something else altogether.


The feeling that some of these smaller towns are kept afloat by Route 66 travelers is real. There was a mixture of wonder and melancholy. It was almost like, thank goodness you came to see it because it might not be around much longer. While that may not, in fact, be true, it was something that I came away with. They’re hanging on by the grace of nostalgia and hope.

Onward towards Kansas…

Posts from My October 2016 Oklahoma Road Trip

Serendipity is a… Giant Rocking Chair?

Serendipity is a… Giant Rocking Chair?

“Babe! You’re never going to believe where I’m standing right now!”
“Where?”
“In front of the world’s largest rocking chair!”
“Why am I not surprised?”
“Actually, I ended up here completely by accident.”
“Of course you did.”

My husband Kenny’s sarcasm came through loud and clear, even in text. It’s one of those things you learn to interpret after you’ve been partnered for a while. But, for all his disbelief that I hadn’t sought out the giant rocker – it was true.

While bumbling along The National Road in Illinois, I saw a sign for the World’s Largest Wind Chimes. Look… when something like that is advertised on a road sign? You visit it. It could go one of two ways: A fantastic triumph of roadsidery -or- a letdown of epic proportions. Both scenarios could be a win.

When I pulled in to Casey, Illinois following the signs for the chimes I was treated to a fantastic display of roadside Americana. Not only were there giant wind chimes (which you can ring), but sweet holy moly, there was a giant rocking chair, a mailbox, a pencil, a metal cactus. Holy crap, this place was awesome!

Big things, small town.

Casey wasn’t on my radar to visit, I’d just been passing through. Perhaps the universe tugged me there.

Route 66 Pit Stop: Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park

Route 66 Pit Stop: Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park

After getting to know the Blue Whale of Catoosa for a bit, it was time to turn around and head back towards the east. Following Route 66 I passed through the town of Foyil, Oklahoma.

My GPS favorites screen showed an entry for a Totem Pole. It was just a few miles that-a-way. Since I didn’t know if I’d ever pass that way again, I decided it was a good idea to stop and have a look.

A good idea, it was. I found myself at Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park, where the man himself had begun working on his creations in 1937. Though he passed on in the early 60’s, his legacy is now cared for by the Rogers County Historical Society.


At 60 feet tall, this is the world’s largest concrete totem pole.


Turtlescent.


Fiddle House.
Sadly I arrived before the gift shop was open. I was hoping to buy a postcard or maybe a sticker or something.


A nice place for a roadside snack.


Arrowhead


๐Ÿ™‚

If you should find yourself in the neighborhood of Foyil, Oklahoma one day – don’t skip a visit to the Totem Pole park. It’s definitely worth the stop. Seeing such wonderful works of art which were crafted “just because” does the heart good.

The world’s largest concrete totem pole was pretty nifty 😃

A video posted by Rachael (@fuzzygalore) on

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Pal’s Sudden Service with Bonus Mufflerman

Pal’s Sudden Service with Bonus Mufflerman

The facade of the Pal’s Sudden Service chain has to be one of the best around. Normally I wouldn’t say such things in polite company but, look at that huge wiener!

Back in 2012, when Kenny and I were heading towards the Shady Valley Country Store on TN 421 (The Snake) we happened to zip past a Pal’s. As you might imagine, I couldn’t resist stopping.

At the time, I had no idea that it was a chain. In fact, there are 29 different Pal’s locations. There’s a Pal’s in Johnson City, Tennessee. That joke writes itself.

The Pal’s in Kingsport, Tennessee does not have a huge wiener but we won’t hold that against them. What is does have is a hamburger-holding mufflerman on the roof. I’d say that makes up for it. He’s a bit on the pale side, don’t you think? Even so, he was good company as I enjoyed my burger and “frenchie fries” outside on the patio.

Seen, Unseen and the Route 66 Encyclopedia

Seen, Unseen and the Route 66 Encyclopedia

Route 66 holds sway over my imagination. I know, it’s just a road. And yet, for me something about it transcends that. I can’t be alone in this thinking because it has evolved in to a cultural icon. Maybe it has something to do with being built on ideas, hope and possibility.

Though I’ve traveled parts of 66 in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma – in many ways I am more sure than ever that so much was unseen. There is a feeling of a secret beyond the veil and a need to look closer, look longer. Coming home from those stretches of road, I am more curious about what I saw than when I left. Now I know there is a story to be told about what I saw versus going in search of answers about a story that I’d already known. It may seem semantic, but to me there is a difference.

A few months ago, I bought a book called The Route 66 Encyclopedia by Jim Hinckley. The book does a great job of intertwining history, photographs, references to old travel guides and materials. It is.. encyclopedic, really. Peppered all throughout the pages are delicious bites of history for the 66-curious.

When I first got the book, I thought it might inspire me to seek out the things in its pages. But when it arrived and I gave it a cursory look-over, I put it aside and there it stayed for a month or so. For some reason, I didn’t want to know about what I was going to be looking at prior to my trip out to Oklahoma.

When I returned home from my road trip, it was only then that I’ve been able to turn my attention back to the book. Now I want to know about what I’ve seen. What was that crumbling facade? What was in that blank space? How did that town spring up in the middle of nowhere? Now those blank spaces have shape, line and form and I can learn about them. If I did it in reverse the ideas would have been too abstract to appreciate. Or maybe too overwhelming. There is so much to feel in a couple thousand miles. Maybe pre-programming myself was subconsciously too much? I dunno. I’m just riding the wave.

Airplane Filling Station – Powell, TN

Airplane Filling Station – Powell, TN

The Airplane Filling Station nรฉe Barber Shop has been on my bucket list for a few years. I got the opportunity to visit when I left Fredericksburg, Virginia following the Void Rally 11 and headed towards Catoosa, Oklahoma to see the blue whale. It was on the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

During the time in which I’ve been aware of the station, it went from a crumbling shadow of its former self to the glimmering sheet metal beauty that it is today. That happened thanks to the efforts of some very dedicated people.

For some, it’s hard to justify or to allocate the funds to spend money on saving Americana landmarks. I bet a lot of people are interested in helping but hope or assume someone else will do it. That makes me all the more appreciative that people are able to pool their resource and give the time and dedication to make it happen.

source
“Airplane Filling Station [ca. 1931] taken by Robin Thompson. The Airplane Filling Station was built in 1929 by Henry and Elmer Nickle, located on Clinton Highway (near Callahan Road), Knox County, TN. Texaco gasoline.”

 

source
“The Airplane Filling Station was built in 1929 by Henry and Elmer Nickle (pictured), located on Clinton Highway (near Callahan Road), Knox County, TN. Texaco gasoline.”

 

More Info On The Airplane Filling Station

 

Airplane Filling Station
6829 Clinton Hwy
Knoxville, TN 37921

Oh, Hello, Blue Whale of Catoosa!

Oh, Hello, Blue Whale of Catoosa!

In my last post where I rambled on about daydreams, I did have a specific daydream that was the catalyst.ย Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Blue Whale of Catoosa, Oklahoma. Whale? Meet these fine people.

I’d been trying to remember how I first became aware of the Blue Whale. If my memory serves me, it was in a hotel elevator in Leeds, Alabama across from the Barber Museum. My hubs Kenny was just finishing up the Kevin Schwantz school at the track and I flew down to visit the museum. Inside the elevator was a poster that featured the whale and some information about the Hampton Hotel’s Save-a-Landmark program. That was 2010. If I had to guess, that is when the seed was planted.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh…

“Kenny, did you know that the blue whale was an anniv…”

“No. You can’t have a blue whale.”

Route 66 is an important experience for many people.

As I said previously, maybe the “thing” that pulls you out to the far flung edges of the universe doesn’t make sense to anyone else. As a matter of fact, I’m certain that some people will read this post and say “you rode all the way to Oklahoma to look at some dumb whale?” And the answer would be, yes. But of course that is the most simplified truth. The bigger story is that I rode to Oklahoma to live my life.

On the most direct route, there are 1,400 miles between my house and that whale. When you think of all of the sights, smells, experiences, interactions with the world, the thoughts that float through like clouds between here and there? It makes perfect sense to go all that way.

Earlier in 2016, I was Daydreaming of Route 66 and Blue Whales. In 2015, I included the whale on my Roadside Stop Wishlist for the year. Did I really think I would ride halfway across the country to achieve that goal? Did I really think I wouldn’t?

Live your life.

 

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