Category Archives: Route 66

Tulsa’s Route 66 Roadfest

This past weekend I attended the Route 66 Roadfest in Tulsa. It was an event sponsored by AAA to celebrate all things Route 66. They had a similar event in Oklahoma City the previous weekend.


The event features cars (lots of cars!), music (which I missed).


They had a section on vintage travel trailers.


When I was a kid our family had a similar trailer, a little bit bigger. We went all over the place in the thing in our family of five. Soon, my brother and I got kicked out into a tent on our own, which was fine with us.


The thing I wasn’t expecting and enjoyed the most is the “pods” they had set up showing the history of the Route 66 by decade and highlights of the culture of that time. The above diner was in the 1950’s pod. They had hosts in costume who would show you around. (Who knew that women in poodle skirts could be so fetching?) So each pod was like a time capsule.

Also, in the 1950’s pod was a display of photographs by Charles and Irene Custer who got married in 1950 and took off on Route 66 supporting themselves with photography. Fast forward to recently when somebody found almost 90 negatives in a barn made with a medium format camera. They processed the photos, digitized them and put them on internet. They are incredible. Check out the site here. (I am not displaying any because they are copyrighted so check out the link.) They are incredible visions of an all but forgotten world.


The above was in the 60’s pod showing a wall on school safety. When I was in grade school in Price, UT I was so jealous of the crossings guards. I wanted to be one but I was not a cool kid.


Remember window decals. So many families plastered their cars with travel decals. There were two types of families back then, window decal families, and people who wouldn’t be caught dead with them (that was us.) It was fun looking at all the old stuff and talking with the people there. I loved the pods and had no idea they would be part of the show.

The best part though I just stumbled onto. Michael Wallis, the writer and historian, who wrote “Route 66: The Mother Road” among 20 or so other books, participated in a conversation about the history and culture of the road. His book is credited with a resurgence in interest of Route 66. He did most of the talking. And he is a great talker with a wonderful voice. “He was the voice of the Sheriff in the animated movies Cars.” Some of the high points of what he said were:

  • He looks at the road, stretching from Chicago to Santa Monica, as a one big community traversing eight states. He said it is Blue on either end and red in the middle but the road itself is purple with very little rancor like you see in the rest of country. He is hoping that the road will help bring the country together as it approaches its centennial in 2026.
  • He talked about how we cannot romanticize history. We have to be on a continual search for the truth. He said for example people get upset when he brings up the fact that the businesses on the road were just as racist as any place in the deep south and there were a bunch of sundown towns where people of color were not allowed to be after sundown. He said the racisim ebbed away after the Civil Rights laws of the 60’s were enacted. He said history is never set, it is like an onion that has many different layers and one cannot be afraid of you will find out.
  • He said the road is for travelers not tourists. It is for people who are not in a big hurry and like to stop and look at things and try out local restaurants and independent motels instead of the chains.
  • He also told a bunch of stories. One of my favorites concerned a snake pit in the Texas panhandle where a business had a pit holding dozens of rattlesnakes. He said at 4 pm every day a friendly grandmotherly lady would come out with a basket little chicks in it and dump them into the pit. He said that was a big hit. He had a bunch of other funny stories to tell.
  • He finished by saying, “Remember, life begins at the off-ramp.”

His 45 minutes flew by. It was the best part of the show.

I think they are going to have this show yearly leading up to the centennial of the road in 2026. I’ll be back!! (And I’ll take in the music next time!!)

Linking to “Through My Lens” come join in!

The Blue Whale on Route 66 for Blue Monday


A few weeks ago I found myself with a few minutes to spare in the Tulsa suburb of Catoosa. So, of course I went to the Blue Whale of Catoosa. Right on Highway 66. A tradition since 1972 when it was built.


So, you will just have to grin and nod like I do when people talk about how they used to stop here in in the 1940’s, 50′, and 60’s when the old timers (“most of whom are younger than me!”) used to stop here when travelling cross country with their parents. I have yet to mention that it wasn’t built until 1972. And they in turn are supportive my illusions. Live and let live is my motto.


It is free. I don’t know how, but the place is well maintained, but they don’t really want you swimming there anymore.


Even the restrooms are sparkling clean. In over 1800 posts I have only posted the inside of a restroom once and talk about the uproar. You’d have thought they had actually found a live Democrate in Oklahoma. So you’ll have to take my word for it.


They stock the pond with fish. This guy came trotting through, all “excuse me sir” and of course I was all “excuse yourself sir.” Catch and release only.


I didn’t spend long, but I always love a trip to the Blue Whale. What is your favorite Route 66 attraction?

Blue Monday

I have posted several Blue Whale posts including:

Our World – The Blue Whale of Route 66

Scavenger Hunt Sunday Cooling Off

Weekend Reflections – Blue Whale

And several others.

Our World – The Blue Whale of Route 66

The New Year is almost here. Have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve!


Just before Christmas SuperPizzaBoy took a one day road trip. As previously reported we went to see the World’s Tallest Totem Pole. On the way back we stopped at the Blue Whale on Route 66 in the city of Catoosa.


The Blue Whale was built by Hugh S. Davis, a former Tulsa Zoo employee, starting in late 1960’s and finished in 1972 as a gift to his wife.

(SuperPizzaBoy Photo)

A welder friend of his welded the pipe framework and Mr. Davis applied the concrete one five gallon bucket at a time.


He built slides off the whale into the pond and a diving platform off the tail. He opened up the whale and pond up to the public for swimming, picnicking, and fishing. Mr. Davis is gone now and the property is owned by his children.

(SuperPizzaBoy Photo) – Notice the potbellied, bald headed, old man that looks like he is getting swallowed by the whale? That is SPB’s father.

It is now maintained by the Catoosa Arts and Tourism Society. It is free of charge and they allow catch and release fishing but they don’t really want you swimming there.


Mr. Davis also built other attractions on the property that are in disrepair and off limits but the remains can be seen from the parking lot.


This is the Ark that he built, he also had an alligator ranch and a praire dog village. Stuff like this intrigues me.

So if you are ever in the Tulsa area check out the Blue Whale in nearby Catoosa, right on Route 66.

Swimming Hole

Our World

Our World – Road Trip to see Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park

Sunday, SuperPizzaBoy and I loaded up and headed up Route 66 northeast from Tulsa to the little town of Foyil, Oklahoma to check out the world’s largest concrete totem pole.


The totem pole is 90 feet tall and is made of concrete over a metal and sandstone base. He started working on it in 1937 and finished in 1948.


The exterior has many bas relief native American inspired designs.


Apparently when asked why he built it he just said that he needed something to do when he retired.


The base of the tower is a turtle. He fashioned it from a sandstone outcropping that was already in place.


There is a small room inside that contains more artwork and an informative sign. If you start googling you will see find that there are lots of totem poles taller than ninety feet. So maybe this is the tallest concrete totem pole.

(SPB photo)

SPB brought his camera. Of course a self portrait was in order.

(SPB photo)

Hmm, this is also a pic of his, That is the scariest face on the Totem.

(SPB photo)

SPB also captured images of some Galloway’s other pieces. I love the arrowhead below.

(SPB photo)

I’m guessing this is a tree trunk.


The park has a gift store inside the “Fiddle House” that includes a variety of fiddles carved by Mr. Galloway.


This was my favorite


The park has a short nature trail which of course we tried.

Galloway died in 1961 and the park fell into disrepair until rescued in the late 1980’s by the Rogers County Historical Society who runs the facility today.

We’ll post the second half of our road trip next week, unless of course we decide to do something else.

National Park Service Article on the Totem Park

Roadside America Link on the Totem Park

TravelOK.Com article on the Totem Park

Our World

Where East Meets West Sculpture by Robert Summers on Route 66 in Tulsa

Where East Meets West is a newly installed sculpture by Robert Summers at Tulsa’s Cyrus Avery Plaza. Cyrus Avery  is considered the father of Route 66 and interstate roads in general. Cyrus Avery Plaza is right on Route 66 right on the Arkansas River just outside of downtown Tulsa.


The sculpture done at 135% life size depicts a horsedrawn wagon from the oilfields of west Tulsa encountering an autombile driven by Cyrus Avery. It depicts the transition from the old to the new.


Avery is shown getting out of his car to deal with the situation.


While his daughter tries to hold onto the terrified family cat without getting clawed to shreds. Of course being the good blogger that I am I neglected to get a picture of Avery’s wife.


There are numerous details on the piece that show the care that Summers took. This is Avery’s shoe.


My favorite detail is the dead grasshopper on the grill.


He did a lot of research also. The oilfield tubing in the back of the wagon has special joints called upset tubing. I don’t think your typical artist would know what that is.


More detailing on the wagon. Notice the wood grain and the screw and fitting. Very impressive.


I had never heard of Robert Summers before but it turns out that he has several well known works to his credit. The Dallas Cowboys commissioned him to create the likeness of Tom Landry, pictured above, that is placed just outside Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

So if you driving on Route 66 stop and spend some time at Cyrus Avery Plaza and admire the sculpture installation. 

Our World

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Tulsa Route 66 Neon Signs

Who doesn’t love neon signs? What used to seem cheap and tacky is now cool.


I’ve loved the Meadow Gold sign here in Tulsa since it was put back up a few years ago. I didn’t realize until last night that I had never seen it lit up at night. I can’t believe it. I’ve been thinking of a good reason to not be  on daylight savings time during the Winter all my life and now I finally found one. Do you happen to have another?

Meadow Gold Sign

This is what it looks like during the day, nice but not the same.


Right down the road is El Rancho Grande. I’ve never eaten there but if the food is a good as the sign them I’m missing out.


What a sign! I love that long looping lasso that also forms the “El” part of the name. And the Arrow, just in case you are wondering where the restaurant is the arrow is telling you that it is right next to the sign. I wonder how the margaritas are?

Corrgated Metal Reflection

And a bonus, right where I parked my car while taking pictures of the restaurant sign, an out of luck edgy business using corrugated metal in their storefront. Not as cool as neon, but I love the neon reflections.

Have you seen any good signs lately?
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