Tag Archives: Oklahoma

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.

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

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They had a section on vintage travel trailers.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

A Visit to the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City

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Late last week I met up with my old friends from Texas, Bill and Sharon. We had lunch and caught up with the goings on of our families. We then headed to just south of downtown Oklahoma City to see the brand new First Americans Museum. The museum was first conceived in 1989 and has been through a lot of ups and downs and reconfiguring and finally opened up in 2021. Yep, this museum took 32 years to come into being. It’s worth the wait. The story is here. (Sorry that it is behind a pay wall.)

The spacious entry lobby

I didn’t know what to expect but when I hear “museum” I think of art so I brought my camera but this isn’t that kind of museum. There is lots of art on display but the art is used to help tell the story of the 39 Native American tribes in Oklahoma. And what a story it is.

A story of a population of millions in the Americas before contact with Europeans and to just a few hundred thousand by the start of the 20th century due to enslavement, decimation, neglect, assimilation, and removal. The tribes and their people suffered tremendously. The museum tells that story in a straightforward and plainspoken manner.

The rest of the story is about their resurgence as a resilient people and a culture and their fight for their rights. Today they are thriving but are still fighting hard for their rights and their culture is flourishing. There is so much information presented that my meagre little brain got overloaded, so I’ll have to go back.

So this museum is more about culture, history, and education than about the objects. I recommend it highly if you are in the area. I think my friends Bill and Sharon enjoyed the museum.

Get all the details here.

2022 PGA Championship – Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Monday morning I used my trusty stubhub app to purchase a deeply discounted grounds pass to the day’s practice round at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills here in Tulsa.

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This is the third major championship I have seen at the club. My first major was the 1994 PGA and then the 2007 US Open that Tiger Woods won. I also volunteered for several rounds in 2007 as a marshall.

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I generally avoid the practice events, but I changed my mind this year. The crowds are a lot less than during the competition phase and you can take photos which they don’t really want you doing during competition. (And I’m a rule follower on such things.

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So Monday I just took off on a tour of the course. As a side note that everybody has forgotten. A Trump owned course, Bedminster was slated to host the 2022 PGA but the PGA pulled it from the club after the January 6, 2021 riot at our nations capitol. This year’s tournament is Southern Hills fifth PGA championship. The most of any golf course in the country.

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With the actual tournament it is easy to know who you are looking at on the course. They have somebody carrying a signboard with the group and there are event apps and leaderboards. During practice it seems like the players team up informally and go at their own pace. They may hit several balls and when they get on the green they will putt from various locations on the green and try chipping from different places as well. It’s booorrrring.

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In this pic you see a glimpse of what drives the PGA and really all professional sports. See the white buildings in the back. Those are the hospitality chalets paid for by various companies and organizations to host their customers. Those chalets are all over the course. Back when I worked my employer would have one and I would take my customers there for refreshments and food and maybe some merchandise. Lots of fun, but a lot of work as well.

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I call this tree “dog leg left.” Lots of big, huge, beautiful trees on the course.

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The players of course have perfect form. The tournament invites the best of the best golfers and some distinguished older golfers. In 1994 I saw Arnold Palmer play at the course. He wasn’t competitive any longer but the fans loved him.

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There are lots of big houses fronting the course.

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The course is about 7500 yards in length or about four miles. I ended up walking about 4 miles. The course is built on the side of a hills so there is lots of up and down.

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On the practice rounds all sorts of people walk with the golfers like their wives. (I like to think they are the wives!!)

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Somebody built this gigantic building right on the course. I don’t know if it is a club facility or a private house but it sure is nice.

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And a parting shot before I headed to the shuttle bus.

I got a solid four mile walk in. I don’t know yet if I’m going back for the tournament.

America’s Muralist back in Oklahoma

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I drove up the freeway from Tulsa to the little town of Collinsville, Oklahoma to check out a mural painted last summer by a friend of the family, Raine Clotfelter, of Branson, Missouri. He was commissioned by a business owner who had bought a new building for his establishment and wanted something to make it special.

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It’s special alright, 140 feet long and 20 feet tall of special, showing a lot of Oklahoma features under a beautiful sky and a huge United States Flag. It was too big to put it all in one photograph, even with my drone so I made a short video further down this post.

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Raine does this thing all over the country. You want a mural painted he’ll come and do it for you. He goes by the moniker America’s Muralist and he is very accomplished artist. Check the link for examples of his work and his clients. He has done work for Walt Disney Productions, Columbia Pictures, and others.

He grew up in the small town of Antlers, Oklahoma and you can tell his small-town values are still with him. He likes to do work in small towns to help enliven them. He has certainly done that in Collinsville.

This link is to a local television story about Raine and his mural. This link is to a newspaper article about the project.

Check his website Americas Muralist. See if there is one of his mural near you.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday. Come join the fun!!

Skywatch Friday – The Skies Are Back

So lately our plain jane skies have spiced up a little bit, especially at sunset. So I have been flying my drone quite a bit.

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There are even interesting skies on our dog walks.

One day we had a spectacular sunset to the west and…

to the East we got a nearly full Wolf Moon rising.

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And a big thank you to Klara. Her excellent moon shots reminded me of my humble Wolf Moon shot for this month. Go check the link and see what she did with the Wolf Moon. Truly Spectacular.

Happy Skywatching to you! I am linking up at Skywatch Friday.

Our World – Scavenger Hunt

Not to toot my own horn, but I guess I will. I helped to plan and implement a scavenger hunt on Turkey Mountain this past weekend. It was originally supposed to be New Year’s but it got postponed because of weather.

The RiverParks Authority gave me thirty items to give away. Small stuff like stickers (people go nuts over stickers these days) and key chains. I conceived the idea of using repurposed cd jewelboxes and designed new covers and “liner notes” for containers for the giveaway items.

So late last Friday I loaded up my jewel boxes and headed to Turkey Mountain. My friend Laurie from the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition helped me place them on different parts of the mountain. It turned out to be a good workout with about 5 miles of hiking involved.

We didn’t really hide them because we wanted people to find them. The RiverParks Authority also had people out and about placing bigger items like water bottles and tshirts on the mountain. They also had people adding new stuff during the day.

We hid one in the famous washing machine at a crossroads on Turkey Mountain. (It’s actually a drier but I get dirty looks when I bring up that fact. Ever notice that anybody who says “actually” gets dirty looks.?

I was busy but I always take time for photos.

Especially when the sun is setting.

Here’s a screen shot of the facebook invite for the event.

Channel Six here in Tulsa showed up and did a story on the event.

A good time was had by all. I was proud to be a part of it.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday. Come join the party!!

Rhema Bible College Christmas Lights

One warm evening last week all three of us headed out to Broken Arrow to check out the Rhema Ministry Christmas LIghts.


They have been doing this for years and it is free and quite the show. The lights are spread out all over the campus. They also have really good pedestrian flow compared to previous years and that is important in these pandemic times.

There is no charge and there is a very chill vibe going on.

There are milliions of lights, and reflections of those lights all over the place.

It’s a Christian organization and of course Christmas is a big deal in Christianity, celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

There is certainly a lot of joy on the Rhema Campus.

I love the marching band.

And of course, you have to have Santa Claus.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday. Come check it out!!