After a discussion on what order of play we tackled today we headed downtown to an area of Oklahoma City called ‘Bricktown’. This area is built around the Bricktown Canal that was renovated in 1999. There is free parking at Bass Pro at one end of the area as well as many paid parking lots. The pathways lead to the canal meandering through the renovated warehouses.
It was pristine, peaceful and a pleasure to be there. On the banks of the canal are restaurants, shops and coffee stores. It is easy to see that this is an area with a night time economy. The canal is crisscrossed with bridges linking visitors to each side. The local baseball team ‘The Oklahoma Dodgers’ play at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark on Mickey Mantle Drive. It is a modern clean stadium and there are plenty of bronzes of Mickey Mantle who was a native of the city. He never played for Oklahoma though and spent his whole career at New York Yankees.
The canal runs through Bricktown for only a mile but it is a popular tourist area and you must make it part of your itinerary when visiting Oklahoma.
Being located near the fairgrounds put us near the OKC Outlet Mall and we stopped en route to see more of Route 66. It had the usual mix of well known brands and was pretty busy considering it was reasonably early. Shopping is very hit and miss at an outlets but my daughter managed to get three pairs of Levis for $13.00 each reduced from $75 a pair. She was one happy bunny.
We knew that there are 400 miles of Historic Route 66 that run through the state of Oklahoma and time was limited and we were not going to see most of it. So we set of to the Cherokee Trading Post with that being the end of the road and then meander back into Oklahoma City for dinner at Toby Keith’s ‘I Love This Bar & Grill’ at Bricktown.
Cherokee Trading Post is located in Calumet and is easy to find once you override the GPS to accept using I-40 but again getting it to use back roads which is the Historic Route 66 it won’t offer. We decided that if we get to the Trading Post and started driving on the back roads it would have no choice but take us where we wanted to do.
TIP: For souvenirs use the shop in the fuel station which is not part of the post and they are reasonably priced.
This popular stop has been there since 1958 and there is a large selection of art and clothing. If you don’t mind a short walk there are a couple of wigwams and photo opportunities to poke your head through. The state animal, the buffalo, is on show a little way down a slope. That is it!
Using the back roads we headed to El Reno. The road was straight and offered scenic views across the Oklahoma countryside. We passed the Giants Display which are wooden replicas of the Gemini Men on other parts of Route 66 – 2448 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica Pier.
Up close it seemed that it had been decided that there should be something on the road to keep travellers interested but the sight of a farm selling rusted wrecks seemed more appropriate to the history. You definitely could see the I-40 running parallel with the road we were following towards El Reno. We were searching for the Route 66 sign in El Reno which is at a crossroads in the small town. There are Route 66 benches and a padlock fence for lovers to hang their locks to.
After standing by and then sitting in the sign we continued to Yukon where there was another mural to take a picture of and then we headed back into the city.
To be 100% honest Route 66 is not what I was expecting and although there are attractions and stores with road memorabilia and vintage signs and items along the way it seems to be a tourist trap for 2448 miles. There are museums dotted throughout the route but so much of what you see is reasonably modern.
Hats off to those that tackle it but if I had to do it for a two week vacation I think I would have missed out on the bigger picture of visiting America.Tackle it in portions if you get the opportunity.
Dinner at Toby Keith’s was enjoyable and we were offered a table right by the stage where a live band was setting up for their set a bit later on. It was massive in there, far bigger than it looks from the outside. We finished off by seeing the monument to the Oklahoma Land Run. A selection of statues depicting 45 people on their quest to claim land and the problems the could encounter. Stunningly presented and movingly witnessed with the sun setting in the sky.
Day 8 – San Antonio, Gruene & Austin
Day 4 – Oklahoma City & Route 66
Day 2 – Waco to Fort Worth & Dallas
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