Route 66: Tulsa to Hydro

Our first Saturday on Route 66. We start the day checking out a bit of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. First up is the Blue Dome gas station, which pre-dates Route 66 by a couple of years, opening in 1924.

From there, we visit Cyrus Avery Plaza. Cyrus is considered the “Father of the Mother Road” and he was instrumental in pushing for the alignment of Route 66 through Oklahoma.

Not to give it all away, but we also check out the Round Barn of Acadia, which dates back to the 1890s, followed by a relatively new “must stop” location on the Route, which is Pop’s Soda Ranch which opened in 2007.

Add in a stop at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, a trip across the longest bridge on Route 66, and the 1929 Provine Filling Station which was operated by Lucille Hamon right up until her death in 2000.

It’s another busy day on Route 66 so check it out here:

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Route 66 – Springfield, MO to Tulsa, OK

Our fifth day on Route 66 and it was the busiest yet!

We got an early start and left our comfortable bed and “best hotel wifi ever” at the Rail Haven Motel in Springfield, Missouri and set out with a goal of reaching Tulsa, Oklahoma before dark.

While we had seen a lot of quintessential Route 66 sites on our first four days, today is when the route really seemed to hit its stride.  Not only were we seeing interesting sections of the road such as the “Sidewalk Highway”, a nine-foot wide stretch of pavement, we also got to see some great roadway infrastructure such as the Rainbow Bridge in Kansas and Allen’s Filling Station in Commerce, Oklahoma but we also got to see where Disney’s writers got a lot of inspiration for Radiator Springs when we visit “Cars on the Route” in Galena, Kansas.

And, most importantly, this is where we really got to connect with some of the people who make Route 66 shine.  We meet the late Gary Turner’s son-in-law George at Gary’s Gay Parita Sinclair Station and we meet artist Lowell Davis — a man with a passion for his old hometown of Red Oak  so strong he bought most of the buildings and moved them to [what was] an empty corn field so they would be preserved.

And, by this point in the trip we were really getting into the routine too.  You can see us really starting to enjoy things on a deeper level, especially when we hit the Blue Whale of Catoosa which was really high on both of our lists of places we were most excited to see in person.

I can’t speak for Emily, but it was about this point in the trip where I started to feel like we were connecting with Route 66 in a different way.  I’ll say this multiple times over the course of the trip, but driving Route 66 changes you in a way that is hard to describe.  I think at the five day / almost one-third done point, I was starting to notice it, even if I couldn’t — and still can’t — describe it.  I think you’ll see my try and articulate it in words when visiting the ruins of the Avon Motel.

Anyway, that’s all for now.  I know this video runs a little long for the typical YouTube audience, but I think you’ll understand why when you see how much it covers.  Hope you are enjoying the series and I’ll get working on Day Six now.  Cheers!

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Route 66: On to Springfield, MO

Our fourth day on the road did not start as planned.  I awoke and, as I usually do when I first wake up, I reached over to the table beside the bed and picked up my tablet to see what was new in the world.  What I found was something that was both expected and yet unexpected at the same time.  Our good friend Richard McBride (http://richardislivingwithals.blogspot.com/) had passed away.

Now, I had only come to know Richard over the last six years but he had developed into one of my most trusted friends.  He was always ready to share a laugh, share a drink, and put you in your place when you needed it.

As I said, it was both expected (ALS is a death sentence), yet unexpected too.  We had just seen Richard a few days before departing on our road trip and we had been already making tentative plans for getting together again when we got back.  It just didn’t seem possible that this happened now, on this day, with us so far away from our group of friends we had come to know through Richard.

I may or may not write more about my thoughts later.  We’ll see.

If you knew Richard at all, you know he loved road trips.  He made several fantastic trips just in the time I knew him.  Richard loved the road, even as his disease made being on the road more and more difficult.

The other thing about Richard was he always wanted people to enjoy themselves.  As he once told me, “You never know what crappy hand life will deal you.  Enjoy the journey as much as you can because it can be cut short at any moment.”

Richard would have loved this trip.  I like to think he was enjoying following along on Facebook for those first few days we were gone.  And, we knew the best way to honour Richard was to go out on the road, have fun and experience it in the best way we can.  While Emily and I never talked about it out loud, I think we both know he was riding along with us in spirit every mile the rest of the way.

With that, enjoy our fourth day on Route 66 as we depart Cuba and set our sights on Springfield, Missouri.

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Route 66: St. Louis

Our third day on Route 66 sees us backtracking a little and heading into St. Louis where we check out the National Transportation Museum and we see if Dan can get over his claustrophobia long enough to get to the top of the Gateway Arch.

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Route 66: From Springfield to Cuba

Day two of Route 66 takes us from Springfield, Illinois to Cuba, Missouri with stops at some off-the-wall places as well as the tomb of Abraham Lincoln.

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Road Trip of a Lifetime

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a while.  The big reason for that is we were away for three weeks fulfilling a dream we have had for a number of years — to drive Route 66 all the way from the start in Chicago to the end in Santa Monica.

If you wait until you have the time and money to make a trip like this, it will never happen.  For me, the final catalyst that spurred us into seriously planning the trip was the 2016 wildfires in California.  The famous Summit Inn, which had been a Route 66 landmark since 1952 was a casualty of those fires.

We knew every year we waited we were gambling our chance to see these places.  Whether fire, demolition, vandalism, or neglect, Route 66 icons only disappear more with the passage of time.  The best time to do Route 66 will always be “ten years ago” when more things were standing.  We didn’t want to wait any longer.

So, this will be the first in a series of video posts highlighting our trip down the Mother Road.  I hope you will follow along with us.

Today’s episode starts in Chicago and we head out towards Springfield, Illinois.

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All Hallows Church and Cemetery

For me, and the others like me, we know everything we photograph and write about is capturing the present so future generations may enjoy it too.  We may not think about it at the time; we may simply be enjoying the moment for what it is without thinking about the important role our actions will play for people who come after us.

Other times, I do what I call “documenting future history”.  What makes it different?  It’s making a special effort to go out and capture something we know is destined to change and document it as it stands so we have it captured as it once was.  Sometimes it is taking photos of something which, in our present, is boring or mundane.  (You’ll see an example of that coming soon here.)  Other times it is capturing something which is already historic as it stands.  That’s what we have here today — Chedderville Church.

Chedderville

Chedderville Church – September 7, 2018

I remember the first time I saw Chedderville.  It was in the Summer of 2000.  I was on my way north towards Rocky Mountain House to go camping for the weekend.  Coming up Highway 22 I saw the little church appear from behind a grove of trees.  Pulling a trailer meant I couldn’t stop fast enough, and the pullout on the side of the highway is far too small to accomodate any vehicle pulling a trailer anyway.  It would need to wait for another day.

Well, as often happens, another day soon turned into months and, eventually, years.  Chedderville was always one of those places I would see while racing to get somewhere else.  “Next time.  Next time.”

If you have pursued this hobby long enough, you know at some point there is no “next time”.

When I learned the Wheels of Time Museum in Caroline was trying to raise funds to move the church to the museum grounds, I knew we needed to make a special effort to get back up here and document the church as it stands.  Not that raising funds to move or preserve a historical building is easy — ask me how I know…

I didn’t do a lot of research on this place, despite knowing about it for almost two decades.  Most of what I know comes from West of the Fifth where Jenn has done much more first-hand investigation.  A couple of her facts such as the dates for construction and first burial made it into my video.  Yes, there is a video that goes with this post and, yes, it includes some more drone footage at the end.

So, if you can spare a few dollars to help save a historical church, donate to the Wheels of Time Museum here:  https://www.gofundme.com/chedderville-church-rehoming

And, if you can spare a few minutes, I’d really appreciate you checking out our visit to Chedderville in the video below.

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