"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Oooooklahoma - Route 66 & The OKC Memorial

Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa Elks Lodge

Where are we now?

Uh oh, I feel another song coming on!
When I hear "Oklahoma", this is what I really hear...
(turn up your speakers)
After crossing the border we noticed even higher water levels in the rivers and many flooded fields.  The Arkansas River is quite flooded.
Crossing the Arkansas River
We pulled in to the Elks Lodge in Tulsa and it was HOT.  Right around 100.  They only had 30amp so I did my usual cover the windows with small fleece blankets on the sunny side.  We're only here for a few nights so we can visit with a friends of ours Mom who moved here a couple of years ago.
The shady side of the rig had a huge lawn that Hurley enjoyed.  $20 a night with a pool.
The pool was beautiful.  We only used it the first night to cool off but it was so hot out I could only stay in the water a short time.  Steve lasted a bit longer.
The next night we drove over to our friend, Tina's Moms place.  Ronley lives across from a nice pond that Alberto loves to fish in.
Me, Steve, Ronley & Alberto.
Alberto couldn't make dinner so the rest of us headed to Bricktown Brewery.  The food was great but Steve didn't care for the beer.
We hadn't seen Ronley since we lived in Placerville so it was nice to see her, her lovely home and catch up.

Next up was the short drive from Tulsa to Oklahoma City.  We took Tina's advice, not realizing how close we were to Route 66.  It basically is right next to I-44 most of the time.  We were in no hurry and loved driving this section of Rt. 66.  Two lanes, rolling countryside with quirky attractions and quaint towns along the way.  Each town we drove through Main St. and loved all the Rt. 66 murals, signs, info and old gems of the past.

Sapulpa is the Crossroads of America, where Routes 66 and 75 cross.

Need a tornado shelter?  They gotcha covered.
World's Tallest Gas Pump.  Speaking of, Phillips 66 gas stations are everywhere around here.  A little history about Phillips 66.  According to the company, the name for the gasoline came about by a combinations of events.  The gravity of the gasoline was close to 66, the car testing the fuel did 66 mph and the test took place on Route 66 so the name was unanimously chosen.  From the 1930s through the 1960s, they employed registered nurses to make random visits to the gas stations to inspect restroom cleanliness and to make sure they were properly stocked.  They also served as concierges to help motorists find dining and lodging.  Gas station service has sure changed over the years.  Remember driving over the cable and hearing the Ding Ding?  Then your oil was checked, gas pumped and windows cleaned.
The roadside art is everywhere as you drive.

Rt. 66 Interpretive Center in Chandler, Ok.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Elks Lodge

After a couple of hours of driving we pulled into the Elks Lodge that was just a few miles from the Oklahoma City Memorial.  I didn't get a picture of this lodge but we almost didn't stay here as it could, as they say, use a little TLC.  We didn't even notice it from the road.  We thought it would be more in the city, but even though it was just on the outskirts, it was more country.  Bonus(?), it was across the street from the railroad tracks and at the end of the runway of Tinker Air Force Base.  Actually watching the AWACS and B52s take off and land just over the tree line was pretty cool.  Both the trains and planes were busy during the day but stopped around 11pm.  There was room for 4 rigs, 30a, $15.  You parked on grass.  You need to be careful if it rained heavily the days before you arrive or when you wanted to leave as you could sink in and get stuck.  Still no rain in the forecast, but still hot.

After unhitching I noticed one of the tires was wobbly.  Steve looked underneath and we weren't all that surprised to see a problem with one of the leafspring hangers on the trailer.  You'd think being in OKC it would be easy to find a welder that could help us out.  No one that could get us in in less than a couple of weeks or worked on RV trailers.  The nearest was in Edmond, 30 minutes north.  No problem as we'd be heading that way next and there just happen to be another Elks Lodge 2 miles away!  More on this later.

We were living in Upstate NY when the bombing happened.  We drove through OKC in 1998 while moving back to California but the Memorial wasn't completed yet.  I had always wanted to come here after it was finished.
We were not able to visit the museum before it closed but we'd like to see it another time.  Since Steve was working and it was very hot out we decided to visit just before sunset so we could walk around at dusk then see it lit up after sundown.  
The Survivor Tree is a 100 year old American Elm.  It is the only tree in the surrounding area that survived the bombing.  It stands for hope, survival and resiliency.  The smaller trees surrounding it represent the first responders.  Local, National and from around the world.
The entrances at each end of the Reflecting Pond, The Gates of Time, frame the moment of destruction and tragedy.  At one end above the gate is the time 9:01 which is a symbolic reference to the last minute of innocence before the bomb went off.  The opposite end has 9:03 and represents to first moment of recovery from pain and grief to healing. The long minute in between represents the tragic time citizens were killed, survived and changed forever.

The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was located where the grass holds the 168 empty chairs.  In front are nine Loblolly Pines.  Like most memorials, all aspects of the memorial represent something.  This line of trees represents the front of the building where the assailant parked the Ryder truck filled with explosives.
9:01 Gate.
This is the eastern corner of the building and all that remains of it.  It is called the Survivor Wall and holds 4 granite panels with the names of those that survived the tragedy.
This was the childrens play yard.  It was fenced off and no one has been on it since.
Outside each Gate is the above inscription.
The Field of Empty Chairs is a tribute to the 168 Americans who were killed on April 19, 1995.  The nine rows represent the nine floors of the former building.  Each person's chair is positioned in the row that corresponds to the floor on which they worked or were visiting.  The five Empty Chairs on the west end are to honor those who were killed outside of the Murrah Building.
There were few people around.  Maybe it was because it was mid-week or maybe it was the heat.  There is 24 hour security.  We talked with one of the officers.  A young guy who's Dad was a policeman and at the bombing site.  He grew up hearing all about it and it inspired him to work at the grounds.  He gave us a lot of personal experience that really added to our visit.
Looking back at the 9:03 Gate as the lights were coming on.  The Reflection Pond is only about 1/2 inch deep and one of those infinity type pools that give off a really neat look as it comes right up to the edge of the walkway.
The Survivor Tree and Museum behind it.

Across the street is a statue called, "And Jesus Wept" dedicated to those lost in the bombing.  He stands with his back to the site.
On our way out we noticed someone had left this message using the times in the memorial.
It seemed very appropriate.

We walked around the city and were impressed with how nicely laid out it is and clean.  Many cute statues and murals.  It looked like a nice city to be in but strangely, like others, fairly empty.

Edmond, Oklahoma
Elks Lodge

And back to our trailer issue.
We moved the 30 miles north to the Elks Lodge in Edmond.  They had 8 FHU sites for $20.  It's out in the country and very quiet.  #8.  Nice place.
This is what we saw when we looked under the trailer back in OKC.  The hanger didn't actually break, the weld just didn't "take".  We took it to Dyess Customs.  They do welding, fabricating and custom steel work.  We worked with one of the young owners and he really knew his stuff.  Honest and hardworking.  He told us that the previous weld job wasn't bad it was probably just that the weld and the metal weren't the same temperature which led to the separation.  He was very polite and got us in first thing the next day.
I was impressed that he painted it also which makes sense to help keep rust away.  If you're in this area and you need welding, please look them up!  Dyess Customs, Edmond, OK.
This is the 4th time we've had hanger issues.  Three different ones that had to be replaced and one that had to only be rewelded.  Luckily it's a cheap and quick repair.  We get weighed every other year and are not grossly  overweight.  I'm sure it's also that we go offroad more often than most but it just seems like these parts could be beefier.

While in this area there are some beautiful western towns we wanted to see.  The best of them is Guthrie.  On our way we made a quick visit to Boot Hill at Summit View Cemetery to see the graves of Bill Doolin (of the Dalton Gang) and Elmer McCurdy (Train Robber).

First known as a railroad station stop, after the Land Run of 1889, Guthrie instantly gained 10,000 new residents, who began to develop the town. It was designated as the territorial capital, and in 1907 as the first state capital of Oklahoma. In 1910 until it was changed to larger Oklahoma City.
It's has beautiful Victorian architecture and a Wild West past.  It was known as The Queen of the Prairie made from brick and stone.  Even the streets were made with bricks.  Some are still visible.
Cute but why are they always picking on the short people?

Carry Nation, well known prohibitionist, was always bothering Moses, so he hung a sign saying, "All Nations welcome except Carry".
There were many rowdy saloons in Guthrie. Too bad this saloon/bar didn't make it.  It has so many old time architecture.  I loved it!
The original track leaving town on the brick road.  I just loved this town.  It's the kind of place I'd love to own a business if I ever wanted to work again.
Filling up the tank at this crazy gas pump.  We weren't sure what was going to happen.


  1. They sure did a beautiful and well thought out memorial in Oklahoma City. Guthrie looks like a cool place. Steve was really grooving with that pump! 🤣

    1. It was humbling to see and hear some firsthand from that security guard. That pump sounded like a loud drum solo!

  2. I watch those spring hangers like a hawk and paint everything under the trailer with black automotive spray paint (glossy acrylic) once or twice a year in any area that shows rust. Four times with the same problem! Wow, you are good at working through things.

    Friend with the FBI was sent to Oklahoma bombing to help dig for evidence. They did not want agents from the same area finding friend's parts. He was glad to help but it effected him. When I was working with gangs at the old job the FBI gang unit often sent out info on supremist and the like. They still remain a big threat but I'm guessing are tracked much closer. My father was tracking one of them while he worked in law enforcement and even in retirement. He said that guy would kill people if he starts drinking again. Well, my dad passed and no one had interest in the supremist my father had tracked for years. Same guy drove to Overland Park Kansas and shot people at a Jewish center.

    Seeing the devastation brings us all back to earth and hopefully will show the haters this is not the way to go. We toured civil war POW camp at Andersonville. Never more will I support anyone who thinks civil war is the answer.

    Safe travels, sorry for the long dialog.

    1. Wow. I'm sure you and your Dad have seen a lot. Those hangers get most people now and then. Luckily it's a quick and cheap fix.

  3. Lets hope that that is the last of your hanger issues. At least you caught it early and were able to find someone to fix it quickly!

    1. I'm sure we'll see them now and then. Most we know have had it happen before. We try not to turn too tightly too often and drive careful on the off road sites.

  4. I was in "Oklahoma" in high school. Great memories. We had a leaf spring break....not fun, but an easier fix than your issue.

    1. We have always enjoyed our time in the mid-west states. We know these repairs will come and go. We just roll with it!.

  5. Glad your hanger issue was quickly fixed. We enjoyed our visit to OKC but as with any place there's always more to see.

    1. I swear those things can and should be made stronger. We'd like to go inside the museum next time.


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