Oklahoma

 

    

 

    

I crossed quickly into Oklahoma to the tune of “Is Your Love in Vain?”  The morning would consist mostly of driving through the flatlands of the Sooner State while listening to Bob drone on about his newfound love for Jesus.  It was tedious all around, with the exception of seeing Waylan's Ku-Ku Burgers.  There used to be over 200 of these drive-in restaurants in the sixties, but there's only one left; in Miami, OK.  There is a giant Ku-Ku bird that comes out from the roof and chimes every hour but I would have to wait for about forty minutes, so I skipped it.  And no, I didn't order the fried pickle spears,

Outside of Tulsa is one of the most recognized attractions on Route 66; The Catoosa Blue Whale.  Back in the early seventies, a man named Hugh Davis decided that for his wife, Zelta's birthday, instead of giving her flowers or chocolates or a new dress or really anything useful, he would build a giant blue concrete whale for her in their backyard.  Apparently she liked it so much that they opened it to the public and charged three dollars for the whole day.  On the hot summer weekends, parents would drop their kids off at the whale in the morning and pick them up in the evening.  Kids would enter through the whale’s mouth and could either use the slide behind its eye to get into the pond, or walk all the way through the whale’s belly and jump off the diving board on the end of its tail.  Unfortunately, you can’t swim in the pond anymore.  But the strangest thing I saw while I was there was that it was just me and about five clowns, all dressed up and just sitting under a tree, apparently discussing “business.”  It was like a small clown convention and very weird.  I wanted to find out what was going on but at the same time, clowns really creep me out.  Especially when they’re sitting next to a giant blue whale.  Bizarre, indeed

At about 1pm, I pulled into Stroud, OK to have lunch at The Rock Café.  The walls of the restaurant are made of rocks piled on top of one another, and the inside is all unfinished wood.  It was packed, but I managed to get a seat at the counter and ordered an alligator burger.  It was pretty good, it actually tasted a lot like a tuna burger, but greasier.  The owner wasn't there, but she was apparently the inspiration for Porsche in the Cars, because she used to be a lawyer in L.A. until she got sick of the city life and moved to Oklahoma to restore the Rock Cafe and try and bring more business to Route 66.  That's why there is a blue sports car below the Rock Cafe sign.  I paid at the door on my way out and picked up a Cherry Mash for dessert.  It's cherry cream filling surrounded by chocolate and rice krispies and peanuts.  I ate it in the car as I headed on down the highway, aiming to get to Clinton, OK before nightfall.

This was the by far the hottest day so far and as the day progressed, my left arm turned an angry shade of red.  I tried to pick up some sun block at a couple of gas stations but they looked at me like I was an alien, so I sucked up the pain and let my trucker’s arm bear the brunt of the Oklahoma sun.

I got into Clinton around 5 o’clock, making for an eight hour day which felt a lot longer because of the heat.  Dylan was singing “Dark Eyes” from the Empire Burlesque album.  This is my favorite Dylan song of the 80’s next to “Jokerman” from the Infidels album which I listened to earlier that day, after getting through the three Christian period albums.

I parked the car and went into the lobby of a Days Inn because it had a restaurant attached to it.  I wasn’t hungry yet, but I was definitely thirsty…thirsty for beer.  When the lady said that there was a bar at the other end of the lobby, my choice of accommodations been officially made.  I dropped off my bags and hit the bar, where I sat with a couple other guys who were really into the Ultimate Fighting Championship playing on the TV behind the bar.  After about five beers, I had to admit that I started to get into it too.  I also ordered some chicken-fried chicken with gravy and it was amazing; the best food of the trip so far.  I had a few more beers and then retired to my room.  The England-Ecuador match was the following morning, so I had to get up early.

 

Day 7

Well, England played like crap again, but with David Beckham’s curving free kick that just found its way between the post and the keeper’s hands, England won and would move on.

I, myself, would be moving on to what I imagined would be the best part of the trip: Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.  There would be more to see here and the days would be significantly shorter.  I set out from Clinton with “You Wanna Ramble” playing; the first song from Knocked Out Loaded, probably the all-time worst Dylan album.  But the day would be short and within an hour I was in Elk City to have lunch at the Country Dove, home of the apparently famous, French Silk Pie.  Alas, it was not to be, since the owner of The Country Dove is very Christian and it was a Sunday.  So I stopped at a restaurant called Pedro’s.  I didn't want to have any Mexican food until I got to New Mexico, since Texas was going to be nothing but steak and I didn't know how good the Mexican would be in Oklahoma, but there was really not much else around and the tacos were surprisingly good.  They also made a cherry-lime soda there that was delicious and refreshing in the brutal Oklahoma heat.  I had three glasses.

After Pedro’s, I drove up the street to the National Route 66 Museum.  It was five bucks and definitely worth it.  They had some great classic cars and motorcycles as well as a whole section on rodeos and three local brothers from Elk City who went on to become horse handlers and riding trainers to Hollywood stars.  I also picked up a bunch of souvenirs for Valerie, Gabe and my niece, Ainsley.