We started our day today with our workout (love it when we stay at a place with exercise equipment) and then headed downtown Oklahoma City (OKC) to Robinson and 4th street. We parked and walked over to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building Memorial site. This is where 168 people lost their lives, and thousands more were impacted beyond words, on April 19, 1995. Seeing the chairs and the reflecting pool was very moving. The tree that you see pictured is dubbed the "Survivor Tree", an American Elm, that survived the blast. There were 16 structures in the surrounding area that had to be demolished and rebuilt due to the strength of the blast. You can see how strong that tree really is.
The Gates of Time, marking the entrances from both ends of the memorial were also very poignant. The closest one is "901" representing the minute before the blast and the innocence of those near by (especially the children in the daycare area), and the farthest one is "903" representing innocence lost... The message on the wall was painted by one of the first to respond.
Next we moved on to Yukon (the home of Garth Brooks) where we saw these grain elevators. Grain elevators are one of the items that have been highlighted in our guidebook, so I felt I would be remiss if not having at least one picture (especially as we head to the SouthWest). This one with the neon sign on top seemed like an excellent choice.
Yukon is also one of the main points on the old Chisholm Trail, so the opportunity to get the Standard sign in front of this old station building, and also the marker for the Chisholm trail was photo opportunity I just could not pass up.
We were able to do some pretty long runs of the original (1930's) Portland Concrete road today, and this stretch was some of the earliest and most spectacular, outside of El Reno. The buzzard you see sitting in the road was disturbed by a passing truck and we spent 5-10 minutes watching it fly in the strong winds we had today (25 to 35 mph), trying to get back to what ever it was that was so interesting on the road. The buzzard would get airborne and try and fly toward the road, and then get swept by a gust backwards, and it would then seek an updraft to get back over the road, and when trying to land would get gusted backward again. It was quite humorous to watch.
As we were headed to Hinton, and took one of the side spurs of older road, we came to an intersection and had to sit there as three oversize trucks went by along with their escorts. Each truck had a windmill blade, and they were longer than two normal sized semi-trailers. We then passed over the Pony Bridge, built in 1933, consisting of 38 "pony" trusses (pony in this context meaning small). I was even lucky enough to get a shot of a Mustang going over the Pony Bridge :o)
At the far side, we saw a sign that we were entering the Wichita-Caddo-Delaware Tribal Jurisdiction.
A bit further on our journey today we stopped at Lucille's just outside of Hydro, OK. Built in 1929, it was purchased in 1941 by Lucille and Carl Hamons. The raised three children in the rooms behind the station, and Lucille ran the business for 59 years. She must have been an amazing person.
Between Weatherford and Clinton, we came across the point where those large windmill blades must have been destined for. We had seen a huge wind farm in Illinois, and were even closer to the machines than previously. Here are a couple of shots to put it in perspective. The towers are several hundred feet tall, so you do not realize how big the blades are. The wind had died down just enough that most of the machines were in operation, it was a sight to see (if the wind is to strong, the blades will be locked out to protect the bearings and the windings from excessive speed).
Our next adventure, and one of my favorites for the day was finding the ruins of Kobel's Place. The station was abandoned, and I loved seeing where the pumps used to be, the concrete getting broken up by the huge oak tree roots, and the remains of the gas station, cafe, and bus station inside the buildings (sink, fridge, cash register, etc.). What the bed springs had to do with the original business I cannot say, but I am sure there are stories to be told.
We ended our day in Elk City where the National Route 66 museum is located. We arrived late in the day but were able to squeeze in a tour. Based on some of the other things we saw on the road, we were a little disappointed with the displays and the lack of passion from the people working there. Just goes to show that doing what you love, with passion, is remarkable and memorable. Lessons there for all of us, and I know we will be focused on finding that passion for our remaining stops.