Route 66. What to see from Bristow to Springfield. Tips.
Well gentlemen, we are beginning the third act of our trip. During the last 10 days we have driving the roads of the United States and we have gone through the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas (just a bit) and today we will leave Oklahoma, passing through Kansas to finish in Missouri. The stretch we do today is relatively long, 213 miles. Taking into account the stops and all along, today we will be a good long time on the road. Especially because there are plenty of things to see and landmarks, really it’s going to be intense. So try to get up early enough, I would wake up at five or five thirty so you can begin the Route 66 by six or six-thirty, but as always, you decide.
Bristow – Tulsa
We start in Bristow and we have definitely left the I-40 to continue to the northeast, in the same direction of the I-44, but we will try to take it as little as possible and drive through the original Route 66, as always …
Originally, the Route 66, as in many other US national roads, crossed the towns and cities and it used to turn on the main street, this is the case in Bristow. If we continue down Main Street to the north we’ll find Route 66. Easy this time !.
We began our journey, first stop, Kellyville, it’s nearby, about 15 miles. When you leave Bristow on Route 66 you should know that you are on the last design of Route 66, which dates from 1965, but in this area are some paths that were operating since 1926 to 1965 and others were renovated in 1938. I’m not going to detail all of them, because it would be a mess. But I’m going to review two particular.
The first is a path that was only included on Route 66 since 1926 until 1938 and is 1.6 miles long. Part of it is now private property and can’t be driven. But another part of it is still accessible. It is known as the “Tank Farm Loop”. This is because in this stretch you will see lot of oil tanks on each side of the road. To avoid you trouble finding it, you can see where it is in this Google Maps link . If you do not know it, you’ll skip it for sure! I leave also indicated this stretch of here which is a fraction of the original route that was operating from 1926-1965 in case you want to drive it.
We go on Route 66 to Kellyville. In Kellyville you will find some rests of the original paved Route 66, especially between the streets Ruth St and Maple St. If they haven’t already removed it, at the entrance there’s a ruined bridge through which Route 66 passed through in the past. We keep going to Sapulpa. Sapulpa is a bit bigger than Kellyville.
At Sapulpa again you have two possibilities, first you can take the section that was designed and was operative in 1926-1952, or you can go through the one that was operative from 1952 onwards. If you take the first, you must take a detour to the right that is just before a Phillips 66 gas station, here I leave you indicated in google maps .The second option is just keep going on the track you are now.
Don’t forget to see the Rock Creek Bridge. Is an ancient bridge of Route 66 with steel structure and red brick pavement. It is in the old section and was built in the 20s You continue until you find a crossroads in the center Sapulpa where or you go left or go right, take a left onto 117A which continues on Route 66 until it splits again in two sections from different years, the left one now called Frankhoma Rd is the oldest (until 1956) and on the right side the modern one (since 1956). In Sapulpa I would highlight some buildings of that times and The Frankhoma Pottery which is an ancient pottery that has been operating since the beginning of Route 66.
And gradually we are getting close to a big city, Tulsa, the city where Cyrus Avery was born. He is the one who conceived the creation of this route and he’s called “The Father of the Route 66”. In Tulsa we have a few things to see. The Blue Dome is at junction of “E 2nd Street” and “S. Elguin Street ” is a Gulf gas station that was built in 1926, was also an auto repair. In Tulsa you have The Blue Dome District with lots of businesses, buildings and referrals to Route 66.
What to see in Tulsa?
Center of the Universe: It’s on Archer Street between “Main Street” and “N Boston Avenue” access is pedestrian and it’s a classic stop for tourists. Also it’s one of the “mystery spots” of Route 66. What’s special is the acoustic properties of the environment. There is one point inside a circle on which you stand up, and speak in a normal voice, not loud. And the echo of your voice has much more strength and volume that the one you’ve talked to. But, outside circle nobody can hear anything, just you can hear yourself.
Golden Driller: 4145 E 21th Street. It is a statue of an oil worker about 23 meters high.
Meadow Gold Sign:It is a neon sign that was located for 50 years at the intersection of 11th Street and Lewis Street. The owner of the building in which it was located notified his idea of take it down and throw it away. This provoqued a powerful popular movement. They managed to dismantled it and keep it stored in 2004 to be relocated in 2009 at 11th Street Quaker Street.
Red Fork: It is a small community southwest of Tulsa where oil was discovered in 1901, this led to a boom of growth for the city.
Philbrook Museum of Art: 2727 S Rockford Road. It’s a museum set up in a mansion with gardens that are worth seeing them.
Gilcrease Museum: 1400 Gilcrease Museum Road. It is a museum of history of the United States.
Boston Avenue Methodist Church: 1301 S Boston Avenue. It is a Methodist church with a high tower.
Woodward Park: East 21st con Peoria. A park where you can relax if you like, is quite good.
The Cave House: 1623 Charles Page Blvd. It is a house built inside the mountain.
The Escape Tulsa: 1448 S. Carson Ave. It is a game where you have an hour to escape a room is for groups of 2 to 6 people.
Downtown Tulsa is Art Deco and worth it walking quietly. If you can, visit the Route 66 Harley Davidson store as only for curiosity. Right next to it was 5 & Dinner, a classic Route 66 venue. But it was closed in 2009.
How to continue on Route 66 from Tulsa
You have arrived Tulsa through Southwest Blvd. You will pass through the Arkansas River over a pretty old bridge which is registered in the National Register of Historic Places. Just after the bridge go to right to 11th street and continue along it to 193rd Street or Country Line Road and then turn on the left (to the north) to continue on Cherokee Street. The continuation Cherooke street is Route 66. You are leaving Tulsa and entering Catoosa.
Tulsa – Springfield
Once you arrive Catoosa on your left side you will see an icon of Route 66 and stop here is mandatory, “The Blue Wale” (also called The Catoosa Whale). The blue whale was part of a small water park on Route 66 from the 70’s. It is in a pond and a quiet environment with a few tables and benches. It was typical among the bikers on Route 66 to take a dip in the pond by jumping from the whale. In 1980 the park was closed and left in an abandoned state until in 2002 was restored by volunteers.
We leave Catoosa and follow the road on Route 66 till we get to Claremore. In Claremore there are the Will Rogers Memorial Museum (I told you about it before), the Linn Riggs Museum, which was a famous singer of the 40s, and The Nut House Road 66, which is a store specializing in nuts and their derivatives. Actually it’s entirely built of walnut logs from the nearby forests.
Well, we driving Route 66 we leave Claremore and approach to Foyil. Pay attention when you pass by Foyil because you’ll notice the road is made of pink concrete pieces. That is the original Route 66!!. When you walk by Foyil you can go to Galloway’s Totem Pole Park. To go, you must take on the right 28A rd. In this place there are huge Indian totems. It was built by Nathan “Ed” Halloway, which began in the 30s and ended in 1948. Right at the junction of Route 66 with the 28 A you could visit the Top Hat Dairy Bar, but it’s currently closed.
Continue on Route 66 and we arrive to Chelsea. In Chelsea there is the Oklahoma’s first oil well. Unfortunately I don’t remember exactly where it is and I cannot place it in google maps. I would like do it because it was so hard to find it. There were one or two signs indicating where it is but there were not clear at all. Try to find it if you have the energy.
We leave Chelsea and we point toward Vinita. Just before Vinita the road is renamed Hwy 60. Vinita is the second oldest town in Oklahoma City. When separation of Cherokee people was caused and it led to the Trail of Tears one of the towns who lived this drama was Vinita. You will find antique shops on Route 66 and one of the largest McDonald’s in the world.
We get out of Vinita and continue on Hwy 60 to Afton. In Afton there’s the Buffallo ranch, closed nowadays. It was an emblematic museum of Route 66. After Afton the Route 66 goes north to Miami on Hwy 69. In Miami ends an old stretch of Route 66 of 1922 and you’ll find the Coleman Theatre from 1929. It’s Spanish colonial style designed by the Boller brothers.
When you pass Miami Route 66 takes you to Commerce. It is a tiny village with nothing special, except that here Bonnie & Clyde were sometimes. It is said that they were captured here, but it is not true, they were captured in Louisiana.
We keep driving on Route 66 and we change state! we will cross Kansas, only a few kilometers to Baxter Springs. Here you will find a museum about the American Civil War. Also in Baxter Springs they have transformed some former banks offices in restaurants like Murphey’s, Cafe on the Route and the Little Brick Inn.
We follow the Route 66 to Riverton. Just after Riverton about two miles is the Rainbow Bridge, enjoy the way you are driving because it is pure Route 66!
You arrive to Galena where there are two museums, one Howard “Pappy” Litch Park and another about the history of the mine and mining. When you leave Galena, you also leave Kansas and enter Missouri. Route 66 in this stretch is also called 7th Street.
After crossing the border with Missouri the first town you’ll find is Joplin. There is nothing to note worthy in his Main Street unless it is picturesque. Pay attention, to stay on Route 66 you should turn left to N Range Line Rd which heads north to our next destination, Carthage. Carthage looks like the town of the movie Back to the Future. Worth seeing Jasper County Courthouse (Jasper County Courthouse) where there’s a mural.
Be sure to see 66 Drive-In is one of those typical American movie theaters where you see the movie inside the car, the address is 17231 Old 66 Boulevard. We could get in but it was completely empty because there wasn’t play at that time. You can have dinner at Iggy’s (2400 Grand Avenue) or Carthage Deli (301 S Main Street). You can notice some of the buildings in this city there are beautiful mansions.
After Carthage Route 66 is the 96th and from here to Springfield the rest of villages are abandoned. Before arriving to Springfield Route 66 and I-44 join again. Springfield is the southern largest city of Missouri. In Sant Louis street you can feel the atmosphere of Route 66, on the facades and buildings decoration. Be careful because the speed limit is 20 miles per hour !.
You can visit the Shrine Mosque Theater (601 E. 1st Street), and undoubtedly the sports shop Bass which claims to be “The world’s largest outdoor sports shop”. It’s immense, it is located at 1935 S. Campbell Street. Inside it has a huge pond, a waterfall and its own McDonald’s.
You should sleep here, my recommendation, Route 66 Rail Haven. The room costs between 55 and $ 75 a night, is at 203 S. Glenstone Avenue with Route 66 and has been open since 1938 but it’s been remodeled and is now part of Best Western.
Well, I think you’ve had enough for today. I told you today that the tour was tough. I guess you’ll arrive late and so tired that you might want to see Springfield tomorrow morning. As you consider. But please note that tomorrow the route ends in Sant Louis and although it isn’t like today you will have to leave early if you want to enjoy Sant Louis.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”. – Mark Twain
This post is part of Serie of Post about Route 66 Itinerary.
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