Route 66: Tulsa to Amarillo

We left Tulsa in some pretty tricky traffic, which is really fun in a caravan of 17 people.

Our first stop was the shoe tree, but we did a drive-by, although I think one of our leaders really wanted us to stop. Our next stop was the Rock Cafe in Stroud, a 1939 Route 66 institution. The young woman who runs it Dawn (Welsh?) was the inspiration for the porshe Sally from the movie Cars. It was a fun, tiny little place; we packed the room. I had a great Buffalo burger and fries – very tasty, but oh, the grease. Wow. After we all ate, Dawn gave us a history of the place and how she ended up being part of a Hollywood movie.

Rock Cafe in Stroud, Oklahoma

Dawn ("Sally") from the Rock Cafe

Dawn told us about a guy we should visit – a tinkerer guy named John Hargrove who built a very cool machine shed/garage tricked out with route 66 memorabilia, old cars and signs. It’s hard to describe; I’ll have to link to photos. One of the attractions was a VW Microbus restored and painted to look like the bus in the movie cars.

Double Arrows from an Old Gas Station

Herbie Bug in the side of the building

Mr. John Hargrove's Home

"Fillmore" Microbus from the movie cars

After that we did a drive-by photo op at the Round Barn in Arcadia.

Phoebe at the Round Barn

Because we had to make it to Amarillo in a short amount of time, we hopped off 66 and onto I-40 through Oklahoma. Unfortunately we ended up at the end of the pack of (now) 18 cars, and we had a hell of a time keeping up. Due to the traffic wave effect, the guy in front was going 65, but we were doing 85, 90 and 95 to keep up. Really hard, especially when it pouring rain. Trying to keep up was too unsafe, so we dropped back and let the rest of the pack go on. We caught up to them soon, and stopped in Clinton, Oklahoma at the Route 66 Museum there.

The highlight of the day was that Bob Waldmire was there – he’s a Route 66 institution; the son of the Waldmires of the Cozy Dog we visited back in Illinois, and an amazing traveling artist documenting the attractions and people of Route 66; driving around in an old VW Microbus. It was in the parking lot, so I took photos of every single inch of it. I took one of the postcards I got of it work and asked him to sign it, and he did; very nice guy. And a HUGE liberal, which was awesome.

(I think based on some of the radio conversation that some of the people on our caravan A) don’t know Stephanie and I are a couple and B) are openly homophobic if they think there aren’t gay people around. Although I think everyone’s caught on by now.)

Bob Waldmire's Microbus

Those of us going to Tucumcari have broken off from the pack; we stayed behind a bit to drive more slowly, ditch on some of the photo ops, and be a bit more laid back. We weren’t the only ones stressing about keeping up with the caravan, it turns out. Now we’re headed out to Amarillo, Texas to try to visit the Big Texan for dinner, then we’re going to head to Tucumcari, New Mexico for the night. I’m googling concrete dinosaur parks as we speak.

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