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Day 34 – Friday June 1st: The Route of Confusion

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<– Day 33 – Thursday May 31st: Getting Our Kicks on Route 66 | Day 35 – Saturday June 2nd: Following the Western Cattle Trail –>

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This Route 66 sign was just installed in El Reno a month ago.

Day 34: On Friday we drove from Clarmore, Oklahoma, to Clinton, Oklahoma.

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On Friday we drove from Claremore, Oklahoma, to Clinton, Oklahoma. Multiple times we hopped on Route 66, but it proved elusive at times as well.

We started out Friday hunting down the Will Rogers statue in downtown Claremore. It didn’t take long to find it. Having read two biographies about Will, one thing I learned is that he was an early day blogger, always traveling with a laptop typewriter and writing when he had a spare moment. I can relate. So, I thought I’d show him how we do a selfie. He was a natural.

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In fact, between our glasses and the hardware in our laps, you can barely tell us apart … (Hint: I’m the one with the ball cap). I could tell right away he liked me. After all, he never met a man he didn’t like, or so he said once.

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Thanks to Derek Redmond for sneaking up behind me and taking the photo of me.

Our next stop was the Will Rogers Memorial Museum, which is also in Claremore. On our way, we passed this mural. Below I show two of the three panes (the third has been hidden by a tree).

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A few minutes later, we were walking toward the museum’s doors.

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Inside, I tried a second selfie with Will. This time, he smiled.

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Will once said, “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” I’m pretty sure I’ve been one of each of those men at certain times of my life.

Speaking of three, there were three different videos the museum that included Will. One was a short documentary on his life. The second was one of his movies. The movie played in this small theatre:

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The third played this Ropin’ Fool video, something I posted back in 2013. It’s a movie short he made to highlight some of his roping skills. The movie is narrated by his son, Will Rogers, Jr.

There were several other wings of the museum, including this series of diaoramas that end with large painting of Roy.

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For the next hour or so we drove on and off Route 66. Like Thursday’s drive, Friday’s drive along Route 66 proved more frustrating than anything. We have found that being a casual Route 66 participant is difficult. Sometimes we’d be on the road, but then it would switch directions without any signs to point us in the right direction. Sometimes my iPhone could detect the route, sometimes the Jeep’s nav could detect the route, and sometimes nothing to detect or predict the route.

One problem stems from uneven signage quality. Another problem is that the road changed routes over the years, so sometimes both the older and newer portions have signage, even though they are running different directions. If I were to do a Route 66 properly from Chicago to New Mexico, I’d do a ton of research to know exactly what the route should be.

For example, when we reached Tulsa, the road was pretty easy to follow, but there were no signs or indication to the casual driver that a Route 66 Interpretive Plaza had been built in Tulsa at the east end of town. I wouldn’t had known about it if not for Roadside America.

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There were a few random Route 66 photo ops, such as the one below, but not as many as I’d hoped:

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On the West end of Tulsa, this East-Meets-West sculpture as next to the Route 66 glass walking bridge below. But, finding a place to park to make it easier for Ann to access proved difficult (so we didn’t stop). You can learn more about the sculpture’s meaning here.

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Our next planned stop was going to be Sapulpa, where there’s a Route 66 Auto Museum. However, that section of I-40 is going through major construction right now. We decided not forgo that museum, which turned out to be a good choice. We saw one offramp open to Sapulpa and only one onramp. All the others were closed for miles and miles.

Instead, we followed up a late lunch lead, a recommendation by my cousin, who lived in OKC for several years. One of her favorite places to eat was Big Truck Tacos. She’s right; It’s yummy!

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You’d think with some food in our bellies, that we’d move on to our next adventure. Instead, I got a wild hair to check out the donuts across the street. You see, it was National Donut Day on Friday. My plan was to only get two, but somehow I ended up with six. Two is too much sugar for me, but six? What was I thinking? Apparently, I was not thinking at all!

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After gorging myself, we left for a look at the Land Run Memorial in downtown, Oklahoma City, which commemorates the April 22, 1889, Oklahoma Land Run. By the time we arrived at the memorial, which is on the other side of the parking lot from Bass World, it was 95 degrees and somewhat humid. At least, the wind was blowing. Despite the heat, we enjoyed these bigger-than-life statues immensely.

There are actually two sets of statures, with a short canal separating them to simulate a water crossing. The first photo gives a sense of how tall these are.

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By the time we finished with the horses, we were hot. So, we climbed in the jeep and left for El Reno. Once again, while we found a few photo ops, most of Route 66 was ignored in terms of signage/interesting places.


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Our final stop, before Clinton, was the Cherokee Trading Post. Not only did we find some great deals on a couple t-shirts, but we found this mural, depicting the Trail of Tears.

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When we finally made it to Clinton, we spent a few minutes tracing Route 66 through the city. We finally gave up, as we found it in several places. Again, poor signage and no navigation help was the downfall.

On Friday, we’ll be going to the Route 66 museum in Clinton, then we leave the Mother of All Roads behind for Liberal, Kansas, then on, maybe, to Dodge City (to be decided).

<– Day 33 – Thursday May 31st: Getting Our Kicks on Route 66 | Day 35 – Saturday June 2nd: Following the Western Cattle Trail –>

 

6 Comments on “Day 34 – Friday June 1st: The Route of Confusion

  1. Bob in PA

    Gas here outside philly is 315 gallon
    I see 260 something there. At least gas there is still cheap.

    The horses and wagon are cool going into and out of the stream.

  2. Neil Russell

    In 1977 we took a cross country family trip and stopped in Claremore. My dad was a big Will Rogers fan and it was the one time in my life that I ever saw him interested in seeing something like the museum.
    I was able to persuade him to go to the J M Davis Firearms museum there in Claremore as well.
    It’s still a very vivid memory for me over 40 years later!

  3. Glennstin

    Our Route 66 Tour in April from Tulsa OK to Winslow AZ found the same problems you encountered. Many signs have found their way to bed room walls or such. Even with AAA maps, lots of wrong turns and u turns from dead ends. Sometimes “Business 44 or Business 40” was used instead of 66. Only a few of the 66 towns have worked hard to show us wanderers the Mother Road. We even backtracked eastward from Tulsa to Vinita OK as that is a well marked piece of 66. It was too late to do the Will Rogers Museum. With renewed interest, maybe each town will see the need. Our visit to The Food Network’s Pioneer Woman digs in Pawhuska, OK was very interesting especially to the ladies. Ree Drummond starts her show saying “I’m an accidental country girl on a ranch in the middle of nowhere” and that’s certainly true but a great look at OK scenery. Fun to compare many of our sights. Thanks

  4. John North Willys

    remember when I got lost going to Colorado and ended up on an indian reservation in new mexico ?

  5. David Eilers Post author

    Glenn … I will say that one area of the route that was well marked was the small section through Kansas. We too have had problems tracking Route 66 through parts of AZ.

    Neil … Great memory!

    Bob … Yes, gas is relatively cheap in Oklahoma City. I saw it as low as $2.51 at one point. It will only go upward from here. Looks like it is about $3.40 in Pasco, Washington.

    John … How can we remember that story when you’ve never told it to us, lol.

  6. Mom

    This was a fun read. I think I am a day late reading this episode, however. The Will Rogers Museum sounds like a must see. His rope tricks were unbelievable. Of course, his folksy humor and wisdom are still relatable. Loved the photos of you with him. Have a feeling there have been many people that sat on that bench with him and had photos taken. Also loved the crossing of the stream. That must have taken a long time to complete that scene. If I ever make it back to OKC again, will make a point of seeking that out. BTW, you really need a good cup of coffee with those donuts! That way, you might even manage to down a third donut!

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