Day 4: June 16, 2010
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Here is the breakfast part of that bed & breakfast thing. It is served in a kitchen like room on the second floor (where all the sleeping rooms are) that is also where folks staying here can get ice and such. The five entry guest list included me, two women from Colorado, and a couple from Spain. The Coloradans are on a library hunt. They're visiting Carnegie libraries to photograph them and just generally look them over. There is nothing particularly formal in their quest. I think it's just a good way to organize road trips. The couple from Spain are doing all of Route 66 on a Harley.

Last summer, Jaime covered more than 10,000 kilometers of Europe on two wheels. He speaks little or no English which makes Virginia the pair's spokesperson. She describes Jaime's European ride as "Spain to Ukraine" That trip is detailed here. The two wheels Jaime rode from "Spain to Ukraine" were on a Vespa which resembles a Harley-Davidson in little beyond the number of wheels. It was my idea to take their picture in front of the Cafe where the bike had spent the night. Virginia and Jaime wanted to be photographed in front of the painted sign on the building's side. So, after they obliged me with the picture of Jaime on the bike, he deftly pulled it around the corner for a few shots like this.

I headed straight to the expressway as there were a couple of fairly far away places I wanted to visit today. This was not a change but was part of my original plan to make use of what time I have. So I got to see what was once the world's largest McDonald's for the very first time. It opened in 1957 as a Glass House restaurant and became a Howard Johnson's before becoming a McDonald's. It now stands no higher than fourth in the "Big Mac" rankings with at least Orlando, Moscow, and China having larger restaurants.

I exited at Stroud and went directly to the Rock Cafe. The cafe was entirely gutted by fire in 2008 and this was my first visit since it was rebuilt. The place looks great although there's no counter and stools now and I'm guessing capacity is increased by that. I haven't met owner Dawn Welsh -- yet. This was my third visit and I believe all have been mid-afternoon when Dawn takes a break. Depending on how you count, I'd been to Afton Station 3 or 4 times before getting inside. I couldn't expect to enter Afton Station and meet Dawn on the same trip. Next time.

I had some vague knowledge of a Ozark Trails marker somewhere in the vicinity but had not thought much about it in the past. For this trip, I'd plotted the location so I could find the old obelisk. It's at the intersection of two dirt roads west of Stroud. The road looks pretty good at the starting point but quality does drop off a bit. I got a little kick out of the fact that the obelisk, though massively defaced, was still standing after nearly a century while the modern road sign was lying in the grass.

In Arcadia, twenty some people were temporarily stranded inside Pops by Monday's flood. Landscape crews were still tidying up the parking lot but there was no apparent damage. The place was pretty much completed and about to open when I was last here but this is my first view of the full operation. Having just downed a cheeseburger at the Rock Cafe, I had to pass on trying out the dining section nor could I sample all of the 500+ flavors of soft drinks. I did sip a Dublin Dr Pepper (made in Mexico with cane sugar) at one of the outside tables.

Just before reaching Edmond, I turned north off of Route 66 and headed for Guthrie. Guthrie was Oklahoma's first capital and is plenty historic. The places I've heard mentioned most when Guthrie is the topic are the capitol building and the Blue Bell Bar. They stand on opposing corners of the same intersection with their front doors aimed directly at each other. The capitol is now a museum that I'll likely visit and report on tomorrow. The Blue Bell is a padlocked business that I won't. I was told that the bank took possession of the Blue Bell about two years ago. Through the dusty windows it looks as if folks just walked away in the middle of the day. Note that the historical marker by the building calls it the "Blue Bell Bar" while the mirrors on the back bar read"Blue Belle Saloon". I don't know if it was named for an attractive lady or a resonating metal cup.

ADDENDUM: Jun 17, 2010 - Oh how embarrassing! I'd really like to erase this paragraph and start over but I won't. A capitol building never existed in Guthrie. The building across from the Blue Bell that I described as one was simply the home of the State Capital Publishing Company. The museum it now houses is the State capital Publishing Museum and I did not visit it today. Instead, I visited the Oklahoma territorial Museum where I learned of my major faux pas.

With the Blue Bell (or Belle) closed, I started walking around a bit and approached the old depot from the end opposite the marker. After looking over the exterior I ventured inside and explained that I was just being nosy. Debbie, one of the co-owners, gave me first, a warm welcome, and then, a friendly tour. The R & R Restaurant currently occupies what was once a Harvey House and the train passenger waiting rooms are now used as dining halls and various events. The Harvey Girl and railroad displays against the wall are just some of the ways the depot's past is recognized.

I was really tempted to just sit down and have dinner at the R & R but I'd already targeted this place given a glowing recommendation by Ken "Land Runner" Turmel. The Stables offers variety but I was there for BBQ. I'm kind of partial to pulled pork which is only available as a sandwich here. That sounded good to me. After that huge breakfast then lunch at the Rock, I didn't need a huge dinner. The pulled pork automatically comes with onion rings. I expected a few thick rings or maybe a sprinkling on the sandwich. The reality was something else. Besides there being enough onion rings to nullify an entire shelf of breath freshener, the moist pork & BBQ sauce had destroyed the bun's structural integrity. This was a knife & fork sandwich with pork, bun, sauce, and onion in every tasty bite. I eliminated almost all of the pork and sauce and maybe three quarters of the bun. I estimate I ate nearly half of the onion rings but they looked only dented when I surrendered.

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