An Unexpected Journey

The day started much like any other these days.I woke up and had coffee while Lister played outside. He absolutely loves prairie grass, apparently. I had a late morning meeting, so we got a late start to the day’s driving. We figured out a route from Oklahoma City to Elk City, then proceeded on our way.

Is it a bus or a building?

We found Route 66 and continued west. We found ourselves at the Canadian County Museum in El Reno, which I found amusing because we’re nowhere near Canada. It’s a really cool place, though, which many historic buildings and a couple of train cars, not to mention the old El Reno train station.

After exploring for a while, we drove on to a very different side of Oklahoma. There was nothing here but wide open spaces. You can measure the size of the fields in square miles rather than acres. The strong winds were relentless, once again blowing our vans all over the road. Much to the dismay of traffic stuck behind us, we stuck to a mere 50-55 mph on narrow two-lane roads posted at 65, just so we could keep it on the pavement. This was really feeling like the old west now.

It’s been a running joke on this trip that while we’re all using Google Maps, at any given time at least one of them is drunk. That’s the only reasonable explanation for it giving directions quite different from the others. So, like the Space Shuttle’s computers, we compare notes, then vote out the one with the errant data.

This happened as we passed a turnoff for Route 66, too late to make the turn. Google had us going another way, but mine and Birgit’s disagreed as to the exact route. With only two Googles now it’s hard to compare and decide which one is drunk. We ended up following Birgit’s based on a Route 66 sign we saw along that route. It lied, and took us on a massive detour to the north, probably 30 miles away from actual Route 66.

Wind turbine blades are huge.

One of the potential stops we missed on 66 was a wind power exhibit, where they have one of the massive blades of a modern wind turbine on display. We didn’t miss out on seeing this, though, because we ended up stuck behind a massive convoy of trucks hauling these blades out to a job site. It was interesting to watch them make right angle turns. The ground was flat enough, so the workers took down the road signs so the blade would clear them, then set them back up again afterward. It’s a massive operation, and was pretty neat to see.

We finally got back on track at the Glancy Motel, a long abandoned Route 66 remnant. We thought about checking in for the night after our massive detour, but couldn’t for some reason. We did, however, decide to skip the stop or two left on our route and head straight for Chateau Walmart in Elk City for the night. We were both quite done with driving at this point, plus the National Route 66 Museum would be closed by the time we got there anyway.

Wait a cotton pickin’ minute…

Along the way, though, we had to stop and check out this cotton field. Being northerners, we’d never actually seen cotton growing in a field before. It feels quite rough on the plant compared to what our clothes and everything else is made out of.

We pulled into Elk City (that even sounds like a western town name), and punted to Wendy’s for dinner. We were too fried from all the driving to do anything better. But we made it, and had a restful night’s sleep.

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