Tuesday, 5/8/01 - Tulsa, OK via Route 66
I meant to take a photograph of this campground to contrast with the others we've stayed at, but I hit the road early and remembered the photo as I was pulling back onto the Interstate.
On the way out of OK City, I saw a sign for the Cowboy Hall of Fame. I had nothing but time so decided to check it out. Debating about the $8.50 admission price, I wanted to know if they had some cool exhibits about women of the West and cowgirls.
"No, we don't have anything on women," said the girl behind the counter, "Do we?" she asked of the young woman next to her.
"I don't think so," she said.
"Well, there is something about that short woman from the rodeo in the rodeo section. What is her name? Those sunglasses are named after her," said the girl.
Sunglasses? Named after a woman in rodeo? I couldn't think of who that could be.
"Oakley!" exclaimed the girl, "Annie Oakley. There is some information about her in there."
Oakley sunglasses were named after Annie Oakley? Hmmmm...news to me.
I decided not to go in but instead went to the gift shop and bought a book on Cowgirls as well as a pretty beige and purple "dreamcatcher" which I hung from my rearview mirror in the Apache. I got back on the road.
After a little while on I-44, I noticed a highway sign for "66." Was that THE Route 66, I wondered. I turned off and drove into Wellston, stopping at the post office to buy some stamps and to find out where I was.
"Yes, that is the real Route 66," said the post master, "And if you take it headed East, you'll find some historical sites and information about it."
Recently, I had purchased a magazine at one of the Barnes and Nobles called "Route 66" and realized that there is still a strong subculture of fans of the road and preserving America's history. I was thrilled to be able to drive on it for a while.
The road was a ribbon of faded blacktop, mostly two lanes, through waves of green hills and ranchland.
In Chandler, Oklahoma, I stopped off at the Lincoln Country Historical Society Museum of Pioneer History on Manvel Road (Rt. 66).and found the Oklahoma version of the Route 66 information newspaper. Inside I found easy-to-follow maps of the route county by county with lists of key sites to see.
Had a donut and coffee at the Chandler Bakery before continuing on my way through Depew, Davenport.
By the time I reached Bristow, I was ready for lunch.
Russ' Ribs provided a delicious pork rib dinner plate with a tossed salad, corn on the cob and toast. Owner James "Russ" Russell talked about the time he met Roy Rogers as a boy in the 1950s after winning a contest at the local rodeo and the chance to sit in Roy's box seats. He recalls how he was surprised to see how Roy wore a lot of makeup. "He had photo shoots," Russ explains.
In 1994, he visited the Roy Rogers museum in Victorville, California and missed meeting Roy - who happened to be at the museum that morning - by 30 minutes.
"Some men break down when they meet him," said Russ, "That whole era - Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tex Ritter. After watching him on TV and then having the chance to meet him. Well, that's something."
Russ mentioned that he knew I was from the East because of how I ate my ribs - picking the meat off of them with my fingers instead of chomping down on them. Gave it away!
Left Route 66 for the highways and drove into the Tulsa area, parking in the lot behind the student center of a local community college, awaiting the arrival of the new Tulsa Webgrrls chapter leader, Laura.
We had dinner at a Chinese buffet restaurant and then headed back to the first meeting of Tulsa Webgrrls. About half a dozen women showed up and we talked about the Internet industry and opportunities. Several of the women were transitioning from graphic design careers into new media.
As usual, I found people outside of Silicon Alley and Valley to be excited about the 'Net, just now easing into new media careers, learning new skills. In their minds, things are just beginning. It was just the crazy New Yorkers and Californians who did the wild experiments that failed. The rest of the country can now learn from their mistakes. At least that is what I've been finding as I speak to people across the country about the Internet.
After the meeting, drove to the nearest KOA outside of town.