Blue Skies, Blue Car, Blue Whale

What a change from yesterday! I opened the curtains in the hotel room to bright sunshine and a brilliant blue sky. Finally after the first two days of the trip, there is a chance the rain suits can stay packed away today.

One last check of the hotel room confirmed that there was nothing getting left behind. After all the trips we’ve taken, we may have hit the right balance on how to pack. A total of 3 bags go into the hotel room each night. Two bags get stowed in the trunk of the trike while the third bag sits firmly on the luggage rack. It is way easier to load and unload each day with this small number of cargo containers.

As the bike was getting loaded, I wanted to get one last shot of the rodeo arena that is directly across the street. I wanted to see what it looked like in the sunshine. The shadow you see in the picture below is the roof of our hotel.

I turned around and noticed a fine example of a Ralph Nadar special. This particular one reminded me of the one a friend of mine had in high school. The couple that owned this one was out cruising Route 66 and enjoying the Oklahoma sunshine.

I really like Corvairs!

Instead of trying to find something on the continental breakfast bar at each hotel, we’ve been riding for the first hour or so of the day then scouting around for the small town diners that we enjoy. After a few miscues on my part, we got back on Route 66 and discovered the Main Street Diner in Chelsea, Oklahoma. The food was really good and the atmosphere was just as expected.

I had to look closer at the mural on the building in the background. It seems that Chelsea is the site of the first oil well in Oklahoma. That’s quite a claim to fame but judging by the current condition of the town, the wealth from that well didn’t have long term benefits for Chelsea.

There is only one thing I know about Catoosa, Oklahoma. That fact is that Catoosa is the home of a Route 66 roadside attraction that appears in millions of pictures. (OK – maybe I should just say a lot.) The Catoosa Blue Whale is left over from a park that included a swimming area, picnic tables, and some playground equipment. The whale was originally built in the ’70’s. There is no way anyone would get in the water that surrounds the whale today. We did talk to one woman who was fishing off of the whale platform. I’m not sure I’d eat anything that was in the pond. For some crazy reason, this was high on my list of things to see before it’s too late (for me or for the whale).

After the whale watching event, I checked the time and it was well after noon. We had gone less than 100 miles of our planned 400 mile day. It was time to get off of Route 66 and start making some miles toward Pampa, Texas. We jumped on US-412 followed by I-244, then onto OK-51 to make our way all the way across Oklahoma. The road was flat and straight. The heat had been cranked up to the mid-90’s and we spent several hours trying to keep hydrated while still making progress west.

Typical Oklahoma landscape
I guess the wind blows here a lot.
Progress toward our night’s destination. Check the time. We still have at least an hour to go and it’s 95 degrees.
This part of Texas is not very scenic but they do have a 75 MPH speed limit on two lane roads.

We pulled in at 6:45 PM after leaving the hotel this morning at 8:40 AM. We covered 402 miles. That averages out to about 40 MPH. Not a very good average speed when you consider that we could run 65 in Oklahoma and 75 in Texas. It’s not easy going fast after capturing your first whale.

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