2015 USA Road Trip Day 6: Joplin MO to Elk City OK

I tried to hit route 66 this morning which would have taken me through a few miles of Kansas, but I went in the wrong direction and I ended up on East 100 Road going through Shawnee land instead and then through the Wyandotte nation and over the Neosho river. I didn't get a chance to take many photos as the signs were small and I wasn't in each nation for too long. My favourite was definitely the Kickapoo nation.

Missouri-Oklahoma border leaving Joplin MO

I drove a fair amount on Route 66 today, going through towns such as Afton, Vinita and Chelsea. It's frightening to see how many homes and businesses are closed down but the buildings remain, getting more and more dilapidated - hundreds and hundreds of them. Some are still there but the majority have suffered from the interstates which replaced Route 66 as a main highway.

Missouri-Oklahoma border Lucky Turtle casino OK Afton OK cinema in Vinita OK Chelsea OK Chelsea OK

First detour of the day was to Ed Galloway's Totem Pole Park, about 4 miles off the road. Like many of the attractions, I had the place to myself - it was still about -5C and there was about 6 inches of snow covering anything, which just made the place look fantastic.

Totem Pole Park Foyil OK

Totem Pole Park Foyil OK Totem Pole Park Foyil OK Totem Pole Park Foyil OK Totem Pole Park Foyil OK

A little bit further on for another thing on my list - the Blue Whale of Catoosa. You used to be able to swim in the pool (when it was warm) but they stopped that a while ago. It was built in 1972 as an anniversary gift, which seems a bit ostentatious.

Blue Whale Catoosa OK

Blue Whale Catoosa OK Fort Spunky sign

I drove through Tulsa and then to Arcadia, on the outskirts of Oklahoma City - about 100 miles, and from several inches of snow on the ground, it has now disappeared completely.

I stopped for lunch at Pops in Arcadia. This is another famous landmark along Route 66 and you can't miss it because of the enormous soda bottle sculpture which is - appropriately - 66 feet high. It's basically an enormous petrol station with a diner-style restaurant inside and a souvenir area, and hundreds upon hundreds of different flavour sodas which line the windows (and you can buy some too). I had a hot dog and my first milk shake of the week - but the milk shake turned out to be a real let down as it was basically ice cream and had to be eaten with a spoon.

Pops Arcadia OK

Pops Arcadia OK Pops Arcadia OK Pops Arcadia OK Pops Arcadia OK Pops Arcadia OK Pops Arcadia OK Pops Arcadia OK Pops Arcadia OK

I really wish I'd found out what the "chicken fried chicken" was.

I needed to stretch my legs a bit and walk off the ice cream that I didn't really want, so I drove into Oklahoma City. This was an incredible place - it has a population of about 600,000, so more than Sheffield - it would be the 5th biggest city if it was in England. I'm used to American cities being more spread out with wider roads, better ways in and out, grid systems - but at no point did I feel like I was driving into a city at all. I went straight in to the city centre on a Thursday afternoon, almost without stopping, and with very little traffic about. And I managed to park the car at the side of the road at a parking meter which cost just 50 cents an hour!

I walked around what's now known as the Oklahoma City National Memorial - it's the site of the old Alfred P Murrah building that was destroyed by an enormous bomb in 1995. It's amazing to think that a 9 storey building once stood on the site. It's now a very peaceful and comtemplative place with a reflecting pool and a series of empty chairs - one for each of the 168 people who died in the blast. It was an incredibly quiet place and I can't think of another city that has something like that in its centre.

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial Oklahoma City National Memorial Oklahoma City National Memorial Oklahoma City National Memorial Oklahoma City National Memorial Oklahoma City National Memorial Oklahoma City National Memorial Oklahoma City National Memorial Oklahoma City National Memorial Oklahoma City National Memorial Oklahoma City National Memorial Oklahoma City OK

I was originally planning to stay in Oklahoma City but I decided this morning that since I'm not really going out into the cities at night (and who can blame me), there's no real point in paying the extra money for the privilege and I should just as well be finding the same hotels in smaller places. So I hit the interstate for another 100 miles and bedded down in Elk City for the night - mainly because if I'd had the option of visiting a place called Elk City, I would have almost definitely said yes. Sadly there wasn't much in the way of eating options so I ended up at the Pizza Hut, which is probably the healthiest option available to me. The meal cost me a whopping $20 which included about a 20% tip. I stayed at the Comfort Inn again, and for about £50-£60 they're actually getting better and better, and I can't see much difference between this and the Hampton Inns which cost almost twice as much.

Next:     2015 USA Road Trip Day 7: Elk City MO to Tucumcari NM
Previous:     2015 USA Road Trip Day 5: St Louis MO to Joplin MO

Last updated 20 February 2015 14:06

A bird

I think I'm meant to do an "About" here but I think you'd be more interested in seeing a random seagull.

USA Road Trip 2015

  • Introduction
  • Day 1: Philadelphia PA to Atlantic City NJ
  • Day 2: Atlantic City NJ to Bedford PA
  • Day 3: Bedford PA to Richmond IN
  • Day 4: Richmond IN to St Louis MO
  • Day 5: St Louis MO to Joplin MO
  • Day 6: Joplin MO to Elk City OK
  • Day 7: Elk City OK to Tucumcari NM
  • Day 8: Tucumcari NM to Gallup NM
  • Day 9: Gallup NM to Monument Valley UT
  • Day 10: Monument Valley UT to Flagstaff AZ
  • Day 11: Flagstaff AZ to Henderson NV
  • Day 12: Henderson NV to Tonopah NV
  • Day 13: Tonopah NV to Sacramento CA
  • Day 14: Sacramento CA to San Francisco CA
  • Day 15: San Francisco CA

  • Gigs

  • 08.12.2015 Shed Seven, Hatfield
  • 27.11.2015 Vile Electrodes, Brentwood
  • 07.11.2015 Asylums, Southend
  • 30.10.2015 Baby Blues, Brentwood
  • 02.10.2015 Fireworks, Harringay
  • 25.09.2015 Lydia Lucy, Brentwood
  • 28.08.2015 Dani Clay, Brentwood
  • 24.07.2015 Indietracks
  • 17.07.2015 Latitude Festival
  • 11.07.2015 Brownstock Festival
  • 11.07.2015 Southend Village Green
  • 26.06.2015 The Who, Hyde Park
  • 20.06.2015 Blur, Hyde Park
  • 13.06.2015 British Sea Power, Camden
  • 06.06.2015 1000 Yard Stare, Charing Cross
  • 03.06.2015 Madness, Great Leights
  • 31.05.2015 Los Endos, Hornchurch
  • 29.05.2015 Juke, Brentwood
  • 28.05.2015 Pop Will Eat Itself, Shoreditch
  • 24.05.2015 Ride, Camden
  • 24.04.2015 Kaleidophone, Brentwood
  • 27.03.2015 Finding Miranda, Brentwood
  • 13.03.2015 Francesca Priest, Brentwood
  • 13.02.2015 Kaiser Chiefs, Greenwich
  • 06.02.2015 Ryan Green, Brentwood
  • 31.01.2015 Sulk - Hackney
  • 23.01.2015 Velvet Tree, Brentwood
  • 11.01.2015 Bis, Pentonville
  • 19.12.2014 High/Low, Southend
  • 12.12.2014 Break For Cover, Brentwood
  • 28.11.2014 For The Love Of Bob, Brentwood
  • 22.11.2014 Carter USM, Brixton
  • 31.10.2014 Band From Co Hell, Brentwood
  • 28.10.2014 Steve Hackett, Westcliff
  • 20.10.2014 Hafdis Huld, Charing Cross
  • 11.10.2014 Stillmarillion, Ruislip
  • 26.09.2014 D'Ukes, Brentwood
  • 13.09.2014 Flag Factory Festival, Brentwood
  • 03.09.2014 Kate Bush, Shepherd's Bush
  • 30.08.2014 Brownstock Festival
  • 08.08.2014 Killing Jimmy, Brentwood
  • 20.07.2014 Brentwood Festival
  • 19.07.2014 Latitude Festival
  • 18.07.2014 Juke, Brentwood
  • 20.06.2014 Pete Brame, Brentwood
  • 30.05.2014 Bow Flats, Brentwood
  • 25.05.2014 Pop Will Eat Itself, Islington
  • 23.05.2014 Arctic Monkeys, Finsbury Park
  • 14.05.2014 Wolf Alice, Cambridge
  • 30.04.2014 Yes, Westcliff
  • 25.04.2014 Ordinary Noise, Brentwood
  • 19.04.2014 Darling Buds, Charing Cross
  • 28.03.2014 Mannequins, Brentwood
  • 26.03.2014 Menswear, Shepherd's Bush
  • 23.03.2014 Republica, Islington
  • 14.03.2014 Franz Ferdinand, Camden
  • 28.02.2014 Ryan Green, Brentwood
  • 27.02.2014 Republica, Balham
  • 03.02.2014 Maximo Park, Bethnal Green
  • 31.01.2014 Scarlet Echo, Brentwood
  • 22.11.2013 Nedstock, Shepherd's Bush
  • 18.11.2013 Pub Serv Bcasting, Cambridge
  • 04.11.2013 Art Brut, Tunbridge Wells
  • 01.11.2013 Steve Hackett, Cambridge
  • 23.10.2013 Suede, Westcliff
  • 27.09.2013 Primitives, Southend
  • 21.09.2013 Duckworth Lewis Method, SB
  • 14.09.2013 The Flag Factory Festival
  • 06.09.2013 Jonny Cola/A Grades, Harlow
  • 25.07.2013 Bis, Pentonville
  • 19.07.2013 Latitude Festival
  • 17.07.2013 Taffy, Camden
  • 05.07.2013 Brentwood Festival
  • 26.06.2013 Bleech, Bethnal Green
  • 22.06.2013 Battle Stage Final
  • 09.06.2013 Tibetan Tea Company, Romford
  • 26.05.2013 Battle Stage 3
  • 25.05.2013 Muse, Highbury
  • 21.05.2013 Dirty Royals, Islington
  • 18.05.2013 Mika Bomb, Southend
  • 18.05.2013 Battle Stage 2
  • 27.04.2013 Battle Stage 1
  • 06.04.2013 Dingus Khan, Southend
  • 16.03.2013 Republica, Tunbridge Wells
  • 09.03.2013 Phoenix In The Foyer
  • 27.02.2013 Kaiser Chiefs, Cambridge
  • 26.02.2013 Bleech, Cambridge
  • 19.02.2013 History Of Apple Pie, Shoreditch
  • 12.02.2013 Sonic Boom Six, Southend
  • 06.02.2013 The 1975, Southend
  • 25.01.2013 Archetype, Brentwood
  • 02.12.2012 Lighting Up Shenfield
  • 01.12.2012 Lighting Up Brentwood
  • 24.11.2012 Lovely Eggs, Southend
  • 20.11.2012 Focus, Chislehurst
  • 10.11.2012 Carter USM, Brixton
  • 03.11.2012 Taffy, Clerkenwell
  • 02.11.2012 Bleech, Harlow
  • 27.10.2012 Phoenix In The Foyer 2
  • 15.09.2012 Phoenix In The Foyer 1
  • 01.08.2012 Blur, Margate
  • 08.07.2012 Brentwood Festival
  • 29.06.2012 Bis, Pentonville
  • 22.06.2012 Knifeworld, Pentonville
  • 08.06.2012 Jim Bob, Bedford
  • 02.06.2012 Coldplay, Highbury
  • 30.05.2012 Evans The Death, Chelmsford
  • 11.05.2012 The Others, Putney
  • 04.05.2012 BAS II, Basildon
  • 29.04.2012 Break For Cover, Ingatestone
  • 18.03.2012 The Brownies, Shoreditch
  • 24.02.2012 Neil Hannon, Felsted
  • 29.01.2012 Kaiser Chiefs, Westcliff

  • Interviews

  • 28.06.1996 Frank and Walters
  • 01.07.2006 Sultans of Ping

  • Random writings

  • Aris Salonica
  • Lake Margaretting

  • Essex Walks

  • 1. Goldhanger
  • 2. Downham