Travel Time: 10 hours
Pictures Taken: 77
Today we headed West out of Joplin, MO and very quickly (as in seven miles later) found ourselves in the tiny town of Galena, Kansas. Galena has a semi-restored filling station with a very old tow truck of the same model that was the inspiration for the character of 'Mater in the movie, Cars.
Between Galena and the only other town in Kansas we drove through, Baxter Springs, was a field of what I think (thanks to Google Images) is Sorghum.
I have never seen anything like that before. Very pretty!
After our 13 miles in Kansas, we dipped back down into Oklahoma and began the long, hot drive across the state. Oklahoma is hot and full of cows. Lots and lots of cows. I keep forgetting to stop and get a picture of said cows - I will try to remember to do so tomorrow. It was so hot (108 F +) most of the cows were huddled in pitiful groups in the meager shade offered by the few trees around. The rest stood chin-deep in ponds. I did, however, manage to get a picture of the car's thermometer reading:
Oklahoma is also home to several world record holders! The first one we encountered was allegedly the world's largest McDonald's. It straddles the toll road near Vinita. While the overall footprint of the building was big, the interior left a lot to be desired. We used their facilities and left as fast as we could.
The next record holder we found was actually located four miles off Route 66 near Foyil. Foyil is home to the world's tallest totem pole (the authenticity of it notwithstanding, it was very tall).
On the same property is a little hut containing some of the 400 violins Ed Galloway carved in his lifetime.
Oklahoma is also very proud of it's native sons, including Mickey Mantle and Will Rogers. While we passed through their hometowns, we did not stop to take any photos (108 degree heat will make you very selective about what you get out of the air conditioned car for).
I DID get out of the car to photograph the Blue Whale! He is part of a now defunct swimming hole and is quite the attraction for photographers passing through.
Next up was Tulsa where we stopped for lunch at Marie Callender's - I had no idea she not only had been a real person but actually made non-frozen food! The only other stop we made in Tulsa was the 76-foot tall, golden oil worker statue called, appropriately enough "The Golden Driller". Apparently Tulsa used to be the oil capital of the world.
The afternoon consisted mainly of a series of tiny towns and lots and lots of cows in fields. The frequency of oil wells also increased as we moved west across the state. We stopped for a bit near Arcadia at Pops - a soda pop themed convenience store and diner. It appears they sell every single variety of pop in glass bottles known to mankind. They were grouped by flavor categories in a wall of coolers and they provided empty six-pack containers so you could mix and match the single bottles. I will try to take a picture tomorrow of some of the specific ones we bought - it was hard to pick just a few!
The giant pop bottle sculpture outside apparently is lit up with colored lights at night.
Across the street from Pops is a restored round barn - we did not go into the gift shop, but settled for a few pictures from the outside.
Then it was into Oklahoma City where our one and only destination was the Oklahoma City National Memorial. (For the benefit of my younger readers, including my almost-14 year old daughter who I realized today was not even born when the tragedy occurred, in 1995; a man blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people (including children at a day care center) and injuring many more.) The memorial is very well done - it is sobering to see the chairs of all the casualties, positioned in rows to correspond with the floor of the building they were on.
This is a preserved chunk of the original building.
We then cheated a bit and hopped on Interstate 40 for about an hour as there was not much more to see west of Oklahoma City. We stopped for tonight in the town of Weatherford and had dinner in a 50's themed diner. Tomorrow we head westward across the entire panhandle of Texas and into New Mexico!