Tag: route 66

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch – Oro Grande, California – Route 66

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch – Oro Grande, California – Route 66

On the gray morning of January 2, 2017, I was cruising along Route 66 through Oro Grande, California on a rented Tiger 800. Amongst the dusty scrub sat an oasis – Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. It was glorious.

During my visit, I had the place to myself. I silently walked among the bottle trees listening to the wind make squeaking, tinkling music across the assemblages. My only wish? That the sun was out. Seeing the light reflecting through the different colored glass must be magical on a bright blue day.

The hypnotic twinkling sounds of Elmer’s:

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Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch
24266 National Trails Hwy,
Oro Grande, CA 92368
Google Maps

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 ad 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.

Route 66 Amboy, California – Roy’s Cafe

Route 66 Amboy, California – Roy’s Cafe

When something from popular culture becomes a fixture in my mind, often when I visit such a place I don’t know how to react. Almost like standing around at a party and not knowing what to do with your hands. The sight isn’t a surprise. You’ve seen it a million times. But even so, there is a sparkle that comes from seeing something with your own eyes.

How many times have my eyes gazed over photos of the Roy’s sign? Countless, it seemed.

As it appeared in the distance, a smile danced across my face. “There it is!” I thought. And it was gorgeous.

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


🙂

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 😃

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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.

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. 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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