Route 66 - Day 8 - Tulsa, OK to Elk City, OK
Google mileage: 220
Actual mileage: 258
Total trip miles: 1,045
We woke up in Tulsa this morning after a good nights sleep despite having eaten massive steaks last night. We managed to get up and on the road for about 8:30. The roads were empty as its the start of Labor Day Weekend in the US.
Ahead of us is a planned 220 miles with a final destination of Elk City, Oklahoma. There's nothing much there, but it does have lots of cheap chain hotels to stay the night and it sets us up nicely for places to visit over the next couple of days riding.
Our first stop of the day was the Frisco Line Meteor train roadside exhibit on the outskirts of Tulsa. It's one of the earliest signs that the road follows the railroads West. While taking photos we bumped into Carl and Hazel, the English couple riding the red Honda Goldwing that we met at Gary's Gay Parita.
This was the second day in a row that we had seen them, so we chatted a while about the route, where they had stopped and about the rain we all rode through yesterday. Sensibly they had skipped the mud road. Throughout the morning we would pass or be passed by them several times as we stopped at different places to take photos or take a break.
There aren't too many attractions on this stretch of road so we made better time than expected in the morning. At around 11 am we stopped at the Rock Cafe in Stroud another destination made famous by Disney's 'Cars' (I must watch the film after the trip). The food was much better than some of the diners we had visited and so it's worth adding to your list of destinations if you ever do Route 66. The cafe is made of paving stones from the original 66 and has artwork from the Pixar team inside.
For most of the day the 66 was a wide open and empty road, however as we approached Arcadia we rode some great sections of the older concrete road. Straight stretches of patched up concrete slab that reach to the horizon. Riding these gives you a real sense that you are travelling the old road rather than a modern road where the original used to be. In a couple of places we ran out of concrete and had to ride on dirt roads. We are trying to avoid this for fear of dropping the bikes, but one stretch caught us out. As we crested a rise at about 50 mph the road gave way instantly to gravel. We both managed to slow down without ditching the bikes.
As we road towards Arcadia we passed a small roadside relic. It was pretty unassuming, but something I wanted to see after reading about it in a guide to 66. Alisa took a break in the shade while I doubled back to take some pictures of the little Rock of Ages Conoco station. Built around 1940 and infamous for a secret back room in which money was counterfeited it's now just a shell.
Arcadia held the delights of Pop's. A great stop which caters for Alisa's chronic addiction to fizzy drinks and for my love of anything that begins with the words "the worlds largest". Pop's claims the the world's largest pop bottle, towering some 60 plus feet at a guess. At night it's covered in LED lighting, but it's still oddly impressive in the day. It's strange to see something uber modern after all the nostalgic relics and Americana of the last few days.
We bought some Dr Pepper, Cherry-ade, Sarsaparilla and finally the more unusual Bacon flavor pop. We drank all but the bacon flavoured pop throughout the day. We haven't yet found the right moment for a bacon flavoured drink...maybe one for later in the trip.
After Arcadia we jumped on the highway to speed past/through Oklahoma City. It was more than 90 degrees on the road and we didn't fancy getting lost in a city again.
Leaving the interstate at El Rino, we then passed through the towns of Hydro and stopped at Clinton which hosts Oklahoma's official Route 66 museum. We only had about twenty minutes before they closed, just long enough to grab a cold drink, (its in the 90s again) and race around the exhibits before buying some 66 tourist trinket
We then rode a little more of the old section of the road into Elk City and found a Comfort Inn. They are nothing special, but have all the amenities you need when on the road including free wi-fi (quite when this became a basic amenity, I don't know). The receptionist happened to ask if we were here for the annual Rodeo. I've always wanted to see a rodeo and could not pass up the opportunity so we got changed, got back on the bike and headed into town.
The Elk City Rodeo was a great night out and included bucking broncos, rodeo clowns, barrel racing, bull riding, steer roping and calf wrestling. It was also fun to see all the locals in full cowboy dress including little kids in shirts, hats and even spurs. We were both delighted to be able to add this ad-hoc event to our itinerary resulting in Elk City being a highlight of the trip so far. After a full day I'm glad that we have a low mileage day tomorrow.