Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Newfangled, Hairbrained Idea

 This photo ran in the local Afton newspaper this week.  It's a Buick dealership and service garage in Vinita, OK on Route 66.   As you know, Vinita is the next town south of Afton.   The photo was taken in 1917, shortly before Route 66 was federally commissioned and during the somewhat turbulent era when horse and buggy transportation was giving way to motorize vehicular traffic. 

Also accompanying the article was this list of rules adopted by the Anti-Automobile Society of America in 1911.  Although it was authentic, one hopes it was written with tongue in cheek.  


1.  Upon discovering an approaching team, the automobilist must stop offside and cover his machine with a blanket painted to correspond with the scenery.

2. The speed limit on country roads this year will be a secret and the penalty for violation will be $10 for every mile an offender is caught going in excess of it.

3.  On approaching a corner where he cannot command a view of the road ahead, the automobilist must stop not less than 100 yards from the turn, toot his horn, ring a bell, fire a revolver, halloo, and send up three bombs at intervals of five minutes.

4.  Automobiles must be seasonally painted -- that is, so they will merge with the pastoral ensemble and not be startling.  They must be green in spring, golden in summer, red in autumn, and white in winter.

5.  All members of the society will give up Sunday to chasing automobiles, shooting and shouting at them, making arrests and otherwise discouraging country touring on that day.

6.  In case a horse will not pass an automobile, the automobilist will take the machine apart as rapidly as possible and conceal the parts in the grass.

7.  In case an automobile approaches a farmhouse when the roads are dusty, it will slow down to one mile an hour, and the chauffeur will lay the dust in front of the house with a hand sprinkler worked over the dashboard.

Apparently those anti-auto folks weren't entirely kidding around.  As with any "newfangled hairbrained idea", it took a while for some people to take a shine to those big iron road hogs.   

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Back again

My morning wanderlust didn't subside, so I  decided to run to the cable store and pick up a new remote to replace my recently deceased on.   Since I had to go past Ron M's house, I invited him to go along.  After finishing the errand, we decided to drive around a bit, and we ended up in Sapulpa.   Just off Route 66 there is the Frankoma House, built by John Frank, the gentleman who founded the famous (but recently defunct) Frankoma Pottery on Route 66, in consultation with architect Bruce Goff.  It was built in 1956 and uses pottery for the majority of its exterior and, from what I've heard and seen, for much of the interior as well.  Ron had pointed out the house to David and me when we were first exploring Tulsa in the late '90s, but I haven't been back since.  

Since the home is still lived in, we couldn't go in, nor did we dare drive up the driveway.  So, the third photo is one that I plucked from the web.  It's quite an interesting structure.  Photos of the interior can be found here:  Frankoma House.  On the way home, we drove past the Frankoma factory.  How sad to see it closed up tight.
Also, I forgot to mention that if she were alive, my mother would be celebrating her 100th birthday today.  Happy Birthday, MOM!


Sometimes clarity can only be achieved by a change of perspective.  I bounded out of bed this morning knowing intuitively that I was going to need some new perspectives today.   These magnificent Sundays, when the weather is unseasonably beautiful and I have no particular plans, must be savored and not wasted. And they should not be spent doing the same old thing.  Although I'm prone to falling into ruts, I constantly fight to climb out of them.    Therefore, this morning I decided to do a bit of Route 66 "backwards", when the sun would be just rising and I'd see it hit different sides of buildings than those I'm accustomed to.  But first, I needed fuel in the form of breakfast, and this morning, to adhere to the theme of alternative  perspectives, I decided to try a new place.
 Duffy's turned out to be the perfect choice.  It's not far off Route 66, it opens at 6 a.m. (an absolute requirement for me) and it has some nice neon.   I soon found out that it also serves a nice breakfast!  "Home Cooking" is never much of a draw for me, since my mother barely knew how to boil water.  But if Duffy's veggie omelet and grits is an example of home cooking, then I'm all for it.  The atmosphere was just right, too.  (They did accidentally put tomatoes in the omelet when I asked them not to, but it tasted great and... ta da!   it didn't kill me!)
 In order to do Route 66 backwards, I first had to go forward to where I wanted to start my backward jaunt.   I couldn't resist continuing east until the sun had completely risen.   I won't turn my back on a beautiful dawn.. . .
. . . or a tranquil little cabin on a  horse farm at sunrise.

Time to turn around and drive back into Tulsa via 11th St. (Route 66).   I decided to snap photos of some of the old stone buildings along the Route, most of which are either abandoned or marginally altered and repurposed.  I was excited.  I thought I was getting some awesome shots of the morning sun, which had now almost entirely risen, bouncing off of their irregular surfaces.  Well, it turns out my little point-and-shoot wasn't up to the assignment.   When I got home and checked out the images, I was very unhappy.   They were flat and monotone.  Ok, here's what I decided to do.  I turned them digitally into black-and-whites!  I like them much better this way.   I'm not sure when the era of facing structures from river rock started or ended on Route 66, but there's no doubt that these have been here since the road's heyday and with a little upkeep they could still be quite beautiful.  The fact that they're still here is somewhat amazing.

 I arrived home about an hour ago and there is still a whole day ahead of me.  Maybe my camera and I can think of another place to roam before the day is over, and I can find a few more perspectives to enjoy.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

An Automobile Production Line at Afton Station?

Saturdays and Sundays in January are proving to be as busy as some summer days at Afton Station.   It certainly causes me to realize that I shouldn't ever close completely in the winter.  Last winter I took a lot of weekends off, and it showed in our number of visitors and sales.  It's wonderful to have Robin to open on Sundays so I can take a few off in January and February.  Meanwhile, I love being at the Station on Saturdays.

Last Sunday Robin visited with 12 travelers, and today we had another twelve.   Ron M., Tattoo Man, Robin, Phil, and Marly were all present.   Our visitors, with the exception of two gentlemen from St. Louis and two from Ottumwa, IA, were all local to Oklahoma, and most were making their second or third visit to the Station.  Friends Jim and Becky Buck from Sapulpa OK, who used to have a very cool little Route 66 souvenir shop in that town, stopped in to say hello.  I'm happy to report that Jim is now cancer-free.  Jon Edwards, a frequent visitor from Tahlequah, OK stopped in with his grandson on their way to look at some vintage cars for sale in Miami.  It's always nice to see Jon.  Usually he arrives on a motorcycle, but this time, in deference to the cold weather, they came in a car.  Other visitors were from Miami and Nowata, OK.

Here are Jon and his grandson looking over the fabulous new book, Route 66 Sightings, by Ross, Graham, and McClanahan.
Meanwhile, some major automotive design and production was occurring in our work room.  David and his 7-year-old son Patrick, as well as two other fathers and sons from Patrick's Cub Scout pack, were busily creating vehicles for the upcoming Pinewood Derby.   It involves little blocks of wood from which the Cubs must fashion cars which will be run down a sloping course -- a soapbox derby in miniature.  The boys are responsible for carving a car or truck out of the little 6-inch-long block of wood, sand it, paint it, and affix wheels.  Their imagination can go wild.
Of course, the dads can help.  In this case, David had the tools and he and Marly provided the expertise.  Marly showed the boys how to use the airbrush, which is the professional one he uses in his car resto business.  The kids did some very impressive work, and we'll be rooting for one of them to win at the competition.  Here's one of the little cars, which the boy described as a "Dodge Pickup", with just the first coat of paint and without wheels or decals.
Never a dull moment at Afton Station!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yamashita Tomohisa

This past November 6th, I met a "famous idol, singer, and actor" and I didn't even realize it.  When Yamashita Tomohisa walked through the door of Afton Station with his entourage of 16 people, I really didn't know until I learned recently that one of the group was such a pop idol in his home country of Japan.  The handsome young man was traveling Route 66 filming a multi-part TV series which is finally available on Vimeo, including the episode where Mr. Tomohisa visits Afton Station.

Check it out here:  Yamashita Tomohisa  (Afton Station is at the 8:35 mark)

I have a few observations on what I gleaned from the visit, and how I compared it to the video which I've just recently viewed.   First, the video makes it appear that Mr. Tomohisa is traveling Route 66 alone in his beat-up pickup truck.  Very clever, considering the large crew that was continually hovering around him.   Secondly, unless you speak Japanese, you won't understand a word of the video.  I lived in Japan for two years and taught a class full of Japanese men, and yet I may have recognized three words during the whole thing.  This was definitely made for a Japanese audience. You will, however, see nice scenes of the road and get a bit of insight into what a foreign person finds interesting and important.  Interspersed amid the scenes of his actual Route 66 adventure, Tomohisa is seen discussing the trip with another gentleman as they sit in a cafe, bar, or some such.   I sure wish I knew what they were saying!  (I want glasses like the ones from which they're drinking!   If anyone knows where to get them, let me know.  They are desperately cool!)

The scene where Tomohisa comes through the door of the Station and is greeted by Tattoo Man and me was a set-up.  We had to do it about 5 times to get it just the way they wanted it, even though it simply consisted of a quick hello and welcome.  The crew was very particular about how things looked.  I am convinced of their thoroughness and professional capability.  They were very nice, too.  Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones gave a good interview.   I suggest you view all the videos in their entirety.

I'm disappointed that they skipped the city of Tulsa altogether.   After Afton, they moved on to Oklahoma City, where Tomohisa ate at Tapwerks, which is in Bricktown, not on Route 66.  Although his trip was far from the perfect Mother Road adventure, it won't surprise me if it increase Route 66 tourism among the people of Japan.  I certainly hope so!  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nelson's Buffeteria

The second place I ever dined in Tulsa, Oklahoma was Nelson's Buffeteria.   The first place was the Metro Diner on Route 66, which was later obliterated so that the University of Tulsa could grow a bigger lawn, which I've never seen anyone use.  But that's another story.

Nelson's Buffeteria was in the middle of downtown and specialized in Chicken Fried Steak.  It wasn't far off Route 66, and had been downtown since 1929.   The day I went there, it was lunch time and very, very crowded.  We stood in line with others at the buffet -- the old fashioned kind where someone dishes your food for you -- and noticed that everyone ordered chicken fried steak, because the look on the face of the elderly gentleman doing the dishing looked like he would either cry or stab you if you dared to order anything else.  It was fun, and a great introduction to Tulsa, but I dared to not order the chicken fried steak that day.  I was such a rebel.  And obviously, I wasn't a true Tulsan quite yet.

In 2004, Nelson's closed the downtown restaurant.  Folks weren't coming downtown much any more, so business had fallen off considerably.  A Nelson's owned by another member of the family opened about a mile from downtown in 2009 and is doing well but last week, what is more like the original Nelson's Buffeteria, this time owned by the 73-year-old wife of the original owner, opened about 5 miles south of town.  I felt the need to be there to finally sample the famous chicken fried steak and christen myself as a real Tulsan.

So, I met a friend there this morning.  We were the first ones there.   We both ordered eggs and the chicken fried steak.  I felt guilty ordering something so decadent for breakfast, but that didn't stop me.  It just felt good to be participating in such a Tulsa tradition.  I wish I could say it was the best breakfast I've ever had in my life.  But I must confess, I just couldn't warm up to that deep fried pounded beef steak slathered in white gravy.  I had it once before, a couple of months ago at Ann's Chicken Fry on Route 66 in Oklahoma City, and at the time I said on this blog that it had changed my feelings about the dish forever, but maybe it just changed my mind about Ann's version of it.  Nelson's was ok, but maybe not such a great idea for breakfast.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy eating at Nelson's.  The eggs were great, and so was the toast slathered in not-quite-butter.   The building has an old googie "star" atop, and the sign is just like that of the old Nelson's, albeit not neon.  The old gentleman behind the steam table is probably the same one who served me downtown.  All of that made the visit very special.  But next time, I'll order the bacon.  
The old Nelson's downtown on Boston  Avenue.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Guest Ranch in Afton

Last summer we  had a visit from a couple of folks who were in the process of turning a 4,000 acre spread into a guest ranch right outside of Afton.  I haven't heard much from them since, but I just visited their website and it appears that they're open for business.  Their website is: JMC Ranch .  The site includes some photos and contact information.  I'm just telling you this because if you're traveling Route 66 in the future and would enjoy a very different kind of accomodation, and maybe learn a little bit about riding and roping (or at least watch others do it) this might be for you.   If you are traveling with (or on) a  horse, they will board it for you. RV hookups are also available.  If you decide to inquire about their facility, tell them I sent you.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Restlessness Redux

It was before 8 a.m. and I was already restless.  What's wrong with me?   I'd been to breakfast and then to the gas station, and I simply can't resist a full tummy, a full tank of gas and a generally free day.  As I believe I've admitted before, I'm running out of places on Route 66 in the immediate area (meaning northeast Oklahoma) to explore and photograph.   The morning was cloudy and blustery, but that didn't stop me.  I decided to start close to home.  

 There's a cemetery on 11th St. (Route 66) that is less than a half mile from my house.  It's a pretty ordinary vintage early 20th Century cemetery except for one or two things.  For one, it's felt that a mass grave was dug there in 1921 to bury the victims of the Tulsa Race Riots.  This has never been entirely proved, but a very interesting story which has led many to believe that it's true can be read here: www.tinyurl.com/7y5qjce.  Secondly, the view of the Tulsa skyline is wonderful from the cemetery.   Even on a darkish morning, I got these decent images. 

 Behind the cemetery is the Fire Alarm Building of 1934.  It's not exactly ON Route 66, but it's adjacent to it.  The attractive building is on the National Register and is one of a great many examples of Art Deco architecture which can be found all over Tulsa.  The story of the Fire Alarm Building can be found here: www.tinyurl.com/7fba2w7

Back on 11th St., I found one more place that I've overlooked in the past.  A small bar called the 11th Street Pub has a mural of sorts across the front of its concrete block building.  I believe it's meant to be a map of Route 66 from Chicago to L.A., but the appearance of mountains in the general region of Illinois leads me to believe that it's just a speculative representation, and that's good enough for me!   If only more establishments along 11th St. would display the Route 66 shield as prominently as the 11th Street Pub, it would work as a guide for Route 66 visitors as well as good business for those establishments, since we all know that Route 66 tourists are far more apt to enter businesses which are so marked.  The Pub also has this great greeting on its west facing wall.   

 Finally, I will close with a little quiz:

What do these people have in common:  Abe, Jim McKnight, Marie, Clay, Arnie, Scott, Jim, Mr. Ward,, Mustafa, Mr. Batman, and Senor Jalesco?    Scroll down for the answer. . .
Answer:  If one reads the signs on 11th St., one must conclude that each of these people owns a used car lot or has one named for him/her.   LOL!   These, of course, are a mere fraction of the used car lots in a 3-mile chunk of 11th St., but the others have more generic names such as A-1, Ace, or Car Max.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Route 66 Just Keeps Rolling On

Once again, today took me completely by surprise.   It was another Saturday without a minute of "down" time, and lots of variety and interest, hardly a typical January day at Afton Station!   

Our first visitor came from Grove, OK, followed closely by our Tulsa friends Ron Warnick and Emily Priddy.   They stopped by on their way to a Route 66 geocaching expedition.  Here's Emily checking her iPad as Ron M. looks on and Phil and Marly chat in the background.    

Shortly after they departed to head toward Picher, it was time to celebrate Phil's birthday.   Although not in any of these photos, Robin was with us for the festivities, too.  The purple cupcakes furnished by Marly were absolutely delicious, and we enjoyed an afternoon of purple lips and tongues.   After that, it was several hours before any more visitors arrived at the door.  We were having lots of laughs, but just as we were considering closing up a little early we had an onslaught of travelers!   As it turned out, instead of leaving early, we ended up closing almost an hour late.

When I asked this couple where they lived, their answer was "Route 66".   I asked again, thinking I'd misunderstood.   But their answer was the same.  This lucky duo has been driving Route 66 (and a few places off Route 66) for almost two years, when they took to the road, living in motels along the way.  She's an artist, he's got a job that requires him to travel 100% of the time.  How nice!!  However, they have decided it's about time to settle down, so they're considering several potential homes for the future.
 This couple is from Joplin and they were just taking a day trip down Route 66.  She bears a rather amazing resemblance to Snooki on Jersey Shore, we thought.   (If you happen to be reading this, we think you left your rosary case at the Station, at least we think it's yours.  We'll keep it safe until you are able to come back for it.)
 These folks from Tulsa dropped in with their amazingly well-behaved pup, Pudge.  Other visitors came from  Grove, OK and Chicago, IL.
We were glad when Marly told us that he talked to Tom Bassett from the defunct grocery store across the street, and Tom indicated that instead of razing the entire building, they are beginning to clean out the debris from the collapsed roof and plan to put on a new one.  I'm breathing a BIG sigh of relief about that!  It would be a sad time for the town if that 1911 buggy factory building ceased to exist, not to mention the neat ghost sign on it's side.  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sunrise Dilemma

All I have today is this photo of this morning's sunrise.  When I saw the sky turning a blazing red, I knew I needed a photo.  However, I was in the city and I knew that by the time I drove somewhere where those power lines wouldn't obstruct the picture, it would be too late.  So, here it is -- with the power lines.  I just couldn't resist.  It was quite incredible!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Joplin Journey

Another beautiful day -- cooler, yet sunny and clear -- and Ron M. and I decided to take a little jaunt to Joplin.  We'd already been there once to view the terrible ruins from the tragic May 22, 2011 tornado, but this time we wanted to see for ourselves the seven homes built there (in seven days!) under the auspices of the TV show Extreme Makeover with the help of  thousands of volunteers from all over the country.

Although we were somewhat pressed for time, we made a quick stop in Baxter Springs, KS to take a photo of the new gas pumps just installed at the former Phillips station which is now the Route 66 Information Center there.  Very nice!  Congratulations to the folks from the Kansas Route 66 Association.  The whole property looks great!

 Here's what one sees when driving into the tornado-torn area of Joplin.   This is a very small segment of the seven square miles of devastation.  The poles indicate that electricity has been restored to the area, but so far there are very few places where it is being used.  A few houses are under construction right now, and a few are completed.  However, there are still thousands of bare lots that once held homes.  It's a sad and almost unbelievable sight.
 On one of the higher elevations amid the wreckage, Extreme Makeover constructed these seven homes for seven families who lost everything in the storm.  Two of the families lost small children.  It's such a sad story.  The homes are all very different and quite nice.  They're well landscaped and have garages accessible from a rear alley.   They are definitely a symbol of hope for the city.
 And speaking of hope, here is the Hope Wall on Main St., a spontaneous collection of Joplin citizens' thoughts on the impact of the tornado.  There are some large graffiti-like offerings as well as hundreds of expressions of hope, faith, and dreams scribbled on individual bricks.

 Finally, here is the Middle School.  There isn't a single window that wasn't broken by the vicious wind-borne flying debris.  The high school was destroyed completely, and the big regional hospital has also been devastated.
A visit to Joplin, which used to be my old stomping ground, never fails to move me.  I remember those streets full of small but well-kept houses, and those stores at which I did most of my shopping.  They are all gone now.  But I have no doubt that the city will rise again, and it appears that the restoration has already begun in earnest.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Good Kind of Lost

There are two kinds of lost.   There's the bad kind of lost, when you're late for an appointment,  are in a questionable neighborhood,  your GPS dies, and  your map flies out the window.   Then there's the good kind of lost, which is what I was today.  It was a planned lost.  I wanted it that way.  I started out in familiar territory (then again, don't we always start in familiar territory?), and after stopping at a few Route 66 places,  I opted for a little country road I'd never been on, or even seen, before.  Once again, I just needed to get away.  I wanted to be lost.  

These unseasonably warm and sunny days are like fine wine.   They must be savored before the bottle runs dry, because it's a long time before being able to buy another bottle of such succulence.  So, here I was in the car once again.   I know, I know.  I'm the biggest waster of gasoline on the planet.  But here's how I see it -- if I couldn't drive around (sometimes in circles), they'd  have to send me to the asylum, and that would probably cost the taxpayers more than the cost of me screwing up the ozone layer a couple of times a week.  

I turned off my GPS.  It's pretty worthless anyway, more so because I've never taken the time to learn how to use it properly.  I turned on the radio expecting to hear some NPR Sunday educational stuff.  I don't like to listen to music when I drive, but I just happened upon a program where they were playing snippets of songs from blues musicians who have died in the past  year or so.  Just right for my mood.

On the way out of town, I stopped at the corner of Admiral and Memorial while still in Tulsa to try to discern where the Interpretive site I keep hearing about is going to be situated.  There's  a building for sale on the southwest corner which used to be a bank.  Could that be it?  If anyone knows, tell me!

I continued down the road and found myself in Catoosa, so of course I  had to swing by the Blue Whale, which was closed up tight and devoid of tourists or anyone else. I snapped another picture of the crumbling ark there, which I find to be extremely photogenic.
Once again, I stopped to admire the hunk of old historic Route 66 bridge that the wonderful folks at Molly's Landing, one of the best restaurants in the Tulsa area, had hauled to their property in order to save it from being dismantled and discarded.  Although these photos makes it look like it's still a major roadway, it's now just a path to the restaurant.  Very clever, I think.  

Just down the road is that old section of concrete Route 66 that winds through an upscale development.  It ends abruptly with a boulder in the road as the pavement crumbles and turns to dirt and gravel.  But there it is, behind that big rock, old Route 66! 
 This is the part of the trip where I got lost.   I had never explored the small Route 66 town of Verdigris, Oklahoma, so when I arrived there I opted for a little country road which wound around hither and yon, through pecan groves and more pecan groves, some small ranches, and not much else.   I kept thinking I would eventually come to something I recognized, but I hoped that wouldn't happen too soon.  It didn't.  It was lovely to drive through the fields and I could only imagine how pretty this ride would be in the spring  with leaves on the trees, were I ever able to find it again.
 Alas, eventually I was back on the road to Pryor, a route familiar to me but which I've rarely traveled.  From there, through Choteau with just one stop to take a picture of their grain mill/grain elevator, just because I think they're neat buildings.

Route 66 is wonderful, but so are so many of the side roads that wander away from it for a while.  I  highly recommend getting lost as much as possible on your next trip down the Mother Road!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Back on Route 66

It seems like such a long time since I've been on Route 66, although it's only been six days.  Today was my first day at Afton Station since last weekend, and it was a good day for getting back in the groove.

There were 28 visitors today, but 20 of those were a Cub Scout pack and their fathers.  The rest were travelers of one sort or another.

David's son Patrick is a Cub Scout, and he invited the pack to Afton Station for hot dogs, rides in some of the old cars, and a birthday cake for one of the little boys who was celebrating today.  The kids (and I believe their parents, too) had a very good time.   The little boys particularly enjoyed tearing around in the back yard and crawling around on the old cars, the trailers, a playhouse-size castle, and other assorted junk.

The boys also got a huge kick out of being able to each squash a penny of his own choice.  The mob scene around the penny press resulted in some coveted souvenirs!
 The fathers (and one mother) mostly hung out in the car showrooms and admired the iron.
 But there were 8 other visitors today, too.   They came from Nevada MO, Dewey OK, Ulysses KS, Fairland OK, and Oklahoma City, OK.    The Oklahoma City folks were Rick and Richard from Cimarron Photographers, our friends who are doing a video about Oklahoma Route 66.  This is their third or fourth visit to Afton Station, and they keep finding more things to shoot.  It should be a most interesting video!

The usual suspects almost all showed up today, too.   Ron M., Robin, Marly, Betty, and Tattoo Man were around for most of the day, and David's wife Sylvie was there, too.  Phil was the only one absent today.   He's been in California and is driving home (on Route 66, or course) starting today.

We will be open tomorrow, even though I had told a few people we would not.   Robin volunteered to work tomorrow, so if you're in the area on what is expected to be another lovely day, make plans to stop in.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Veering Off Route 66

Ok, it was a pretty major veer.  Fifty miles, more or less.  But it was a most interesting day exploring new territory in Green Country.  (Green Country is the nickname that the OK Tourism Bureau gives to most of the northeast corner of the state, because it has more trees and foliage than the other, more arid, parts).    

Four of us piled in my car and our first stop was at the Country Cottage in Locust Grove for their buffet Sunday brunch.  It's a wonderful place, and absolutely packed with customers, despite a little run-in with e-coli back in 2008.   That has been long taken care of, and the locals have returned in droves.  We ate ourselves silly on a gigantic buffet, and then afterwards we decided to take a little ride to work off the meal. (Oh, riding in a car doesn't work off a bout of overeating?  Oh well. . .)  

Joe is an expert in Oklahoma state history, and he said he'd show us some interesting sites.  Salina was the first permanent white settlement in Oklahoma,  settled in 1796 by Major Jean Pierre Choteau.  Here is the site of the first trading post in the state.
Beside it is the "Paradise Tree" planted in Oklahoma in 1802 by Choteau, who brought it over from France. And, it's STILL STANDING!  It is felt to be the first tree planted in Oklahoma.

We also drove to Spavinaw, birthplace of Mickey Mantle and home of the huge Spavinaw Dam which forms the reservoir from which Tulsa water originates.   I talked about this town after a previous visit at http://tinyurl.com/6vb9v93 .

On the way home, and to be honest I'm not sure where we were, Joe showed us this "Bicycle Tree", which is just what you think -- a tree with dozens of bicycles hanging from it's branches and over much of the property.  I hate to admit it, but it kind of puts Route 66's Shoe Tree to shame!   :-)  

So. . . another beautiful day, taking advantage of the continuing pleasant weather, and lots of fun with friends.