From Whales to Totem Poles

Our stay in Las Vegas, NM was very special.   The hotel was wonderful, but once again – time to move on to the next adventure. A very sweet lady who works at the front desk of the Plaza, offered us a ride back to the airport.  So on Thursday, July 21, we fueled up and departed toward Clinton, Oklahoma (CLK), our first stop of the day.

Clinton has a very nice Route 66 museum.  The  exhibits are very interesting, with detailed information about Route 66, from the construction of the Mother road, to the hay-day as well as the demise that came with the introduction of the interstate freeway system.  We saw much evidence of that during our travels.  However, we also took note of the great effort that has gone into restoring and preserving many of the iconic attractions along the route.  For those individuals and groups involved in the restoration efforts of various landmarks, it is a life passion.

After a couple of chili dogs at the “Coney Island” across the street from the museum, we headed back to the airport and took off for the next leg, Claremore, OK.

The flight took us directly over the city of Tulsa and Tulsa’s airport as well, where I snapped some photos.  Before we departed earlier, we were informed that the runway at the Claremore  Regional Airport (CLM) was under construction and closed, however traffic was being permitted to land on the taxiway.  So, as unusual as that was – we did.

We were offered the use of a courtesy car at the Claremore airport.  Many airports offer this service, but most don’t let you take them overnight.  The folks at the Claremore Airport were very accommodating and hospitable.  They told us to take the car overnight for as long as we needed it.  The air didn’t work and one thing we noticed about most all of the courtesy cars we used – the “check engine” lights are more often then not, illuminated.  It sort of became a standing joke for us.  However, it was transportation and that’s all that matters!

I chose Claremore as a destination, as it is smack dab in the middle of two of Route 66’s most iconic landmarks.  The big blue whale, about 15 miles southwest, in the town of Catoosa,  and the world’s largest concrete totem pole, roughly 15 miles to the northeast in the town of Foyil.

We visited the blue whale first and yes, it is big and it is blue.  According to Wikipedia, the whale was built by a gentleman named Huge Davis, in the early 1970s for his wife, Zelta, who collected whales.  The whale and the pond in which it resides became a favorite swimming hole for locals and route 66 travelers.  It was fun to capture some photos from an era now past.

Next, on to Foyil to see the world’s largest concrete totem pole.  The totem park was literally out in the middle of nowhere.  Folk artist, Ed Galloway constructed the art in the park, which was originally his residence, beginning in 1937, until his death in 1961.  The property and art was in disrepair until the Rogers County historical society acquired the property in 1989 and restored it to it’s present condition.  The largest totem, standing 90 feet tall, is considered the largest of it’s kind in the world.

After a very nice dinner back in Claremore, we retired to our room at the Will Roger’s Inn.  A nice painting of Will in the lobby is about the only redeeming quality of this particular motel.  It did not have the historical charm as the other Route 66 places we stayed, it was simply an old, “less then pristine” motor inn.  The couple fighting out in the parking lot in the middle of the night topped things off nicely!

We contemplated our destination for Friday, and both of us agreed…  It was time to go home. It has been a magical couple of weeks, but we were tired and looking forward to seeing our family, friends and fur-kids!    We departed Claremore yesterday morning, with a lunch/fuel stop in Peoria,  IL (and another courtesy car with a lit up “check engine” light!)  Just two hours later, we touched down at the Hastings, MI Airport (9D9)

Home sweet home!

I’ll recap later, but just wanted to let everyone know that after a most  incredible journey,  we are now home safe and sound.  What a ride it’s been!



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