Day 18 - Pops was flooded.

After being advised to NOT try to make it to Oklahoma City on Monday we set out Tuesday morning about 10am. After a few mishaps getting back up to approximately where we left off on Route 66, we made a turn at the Route 66 overpass we had seen on Friday night when we arrived and headed west again.

As much as we enjoyed spending time with Scott and Cindi and Kaitlyn and Carter, and we did… it was nice to get back on the road.

Heading west from Oklahoma City was much easier then much of what we had already driven. We were basically just driving thru older industrial areas.

Our first real stop was lunch. Happy Burger in Sapulpa, Oklahoma was a really tiny place but the burgers were great. They also had the fry's that Steak n Shake should have had. The place is also filled with every bit of Pepsi memorabilia that you could ever imagine. I know that, at one point or another, I had owned some of the items in the place. This location had originally been built as a Tastee Freeze in 1971, so it wasn't the oldest building we had been in but certainly worth the stop for the food alone, that is, if you like burgers and fries.

UPDATE: Happy Burger itself has been around MUCH longer then it has been at this location.

We left Sapulpa and drove thru one small town after antoher. When we came to Bristow Oklahoma we had one of the funnier navigational mistakes of the trip (so far). We've made a lot of U-Turns, more than we care to keep track of. As a matter of fact, in the beginning of the trip we toyed with the idea of keeping track of things like "number of u-turns", "number of bathroom breaks" or "number of photo stops" but soon realized it would be too hard. Bristow needs to be remembered for the double u-turn fiasco. Lets just say, sometimes you get turned around.

Headed south on N. Main you need to make a right on W. 4th then a left on Rolland St. Lets just say it sounds easier than it is. As you leave Bristow the road opens up and there are way less towns and it really gets beautiful.

As we've noticed before, Route 66 is filled with views and sites that if you don't slow down you'll never be able to appreciate. We've also learned about "highways", "byways", "business loops", and "bypasses". To find the old road you have to keep your eyes open. For example... the Ozark Trail. This little bridge and old run down drive in theater were on one of the little side loops that could have easily been missed.

As a matter of fact, when we stopped to take this "Historic 66" photo the man who lived across the street from the sign walked out to chat with us. He had lived there, on this little stretch of 66 forever and he was really proud of the road. He told us that he had petitioned the Route 66 people for the sign in front of his house for 8 years and was excited to FINALLY get them to have the prisoners to make him a sign. He also told us that, as we had suspected, the Route 66 signs were controlled by a different group than the state and federal highway signs.

Sometimes you need to find a new way to take a photo with the "roadside giants". To be fair, this penguin wasn't even that big.

As we started thru Stroud Oklahoma we saw this old neon sign and Beth decided to pull over to take a few photos. Once again I ended up helping this family take a photo with the sign. They were on their way to Seattle from one of the Carolinas. I'm not sure they wanted to take as long as I put them thru to GET the photo but I KNOW they'll remember this moment from their trip.

The city of Chandler represents the middle of the state of Oklahoma and they also claim it is the middle of the United States. I'm not sure how that works out but they even have a big sign infront of the local public swimming pool claiming it, so, you know... it MUST be true right? This sign was on the front of a Route 66 museum. Later in the day we ended up standing round waiting so, in retrospect, we probably should have gone in. Oh well, maybe next time.

Leaving Chandler you drive thru Warwick, and Luther and eventually you come to Arcadia. It was in this area that we started to see evidence of the flooding from the day before. The soil in this area has a deep red clay look to it and all over the side of the road we saw huge puddles of water with this amazing color. We also drove over a few bridges where the creeks or rivers were really high and the water was the same color. It was amazing.

We had no idea just how high the water had been, but we were going to find out.

One really famous attraction is this old Round Barn. You can't miss it on the road, it is RIGHT on the side of Route 66, its a very low key stop. No one is going to try to sell you anything and you can walk around in and out and take photos and in actuallity the construction of the room is really amazing. As with most old structures it has a long past of being originally built and then it burns down or suffers some sort of weather related damge and then it is "repaired to its original glory" at some point or another.

Hmm... its amazing how the dome of the barn and my head look so much alike.

What we were really looking forward to was Pops. Cleaver name. It is not, as you may think, named after someones dad, with an apostrophy "s". Instead it is plural "s".

Pops is a road side attraction with over 400 flavors of soda on sale. Its also a gas station and a diner. At first we just went in for a shake. We started chatting with one of the waiters and he shared with us a photo of the flooding the day before, a photo which, by the way, Beth had already found on Twitter. The water hd come up to the second row of pumps and that means in the nearby fields it must have been at least 4 or 5 feet deep. It was pretty amazing that there wasn't more damage.

Remember the family at the Skyliner Motel sign above? We ran into them again and it turns out he is a wine maker. I set up another shot for him and eventually his wife joined in as well. It was really nice, they offered us a bottle of wine but we politely declined because we don't drink. I told him it would be better to save it for someone who would enjoy it more. 

The art direction in Pops was amazing. They had slide shows that played on large LCD screens all over inside. Very much a 21st century roadside attraction.

These bottle displays would NEVER fly in California. You'd think that, "they must be glued down right?" Well sort of. Up to about 7 feet up they are glued down just so you don't PLAY with them as you sit at your table to eat, but above that... higher up... up where they will surely reach escape velocity if it were to fall... the UPPER bottles are NOT glued down.


But the bottle everyone comes for is out front.

Its 66 feet tall (think about it... it took me a while) and it lights up at night. Lets just say I'm glad Beth had done her research because, I had NO CLUE this thing lit up like a Christmas Tree at night. Well, I guess its not like a Christmas Tree... unless your Christmas Tree is shaped like a giant pop bottle. (oh yea, they don't say "soda" in the mid west.)

A lot of times Beth gets really nice compliments on her photos. Often times its "wow what a nice camera that must be..." and although good equipment is part of it there are other factors in play. You know that little control at the top of your camera with the green box on it... DON'T USE IT. you really need to explore the things your camera can do and play. Remember, at least you aren't wasting real film so don't be afraid to take some bad photos.

But sometimes the real trick to getting a good shot is patience and patience can be really hard. We sat around the Pops parking lot for HOURS... I think we were there at least 4 hours because we wanted to shoot this thing at sunset.

Yea... it was worth it.

Make sure you watch this video till the end. What a difference a day makes... We shot this video and photos the day AFTER the flood. Except for all the dust in the parking lot we would have never known.

To see even more pictures from this day, please go to my Flickr page.


« Day 17 - Grounded in Tulsa. | Main | Day 19 - Oklahoma City remembers. »

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Reader Comments (6)

How crazy that there really isn't much evidence the area was flooded only 30 hrs before... I bet they're used to it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Stennet

Hey guys,
Thanks for including my nephew and me in your video it's our first time on YouTube.

We're in Seligman got here yesterday.

Friday, June 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Funny... people say I have a nice camera when I take photos all the time... and relatively, I guess it is nice. However, we use the green box way too often. That, and the Sports setting, are our primary settings. HOWEVER, we've been experimenting with the "A" setting recently and I think we are finally getting the hang of it... well, sort of. :-)

Love the Drive-in shot in the middle of the field...and the indoor shot of all the bottles is awesome!

Sunday, June 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Stennet

How wonderful to see our beloved Round Barn and Pop's included in your travels. They are amazing contrasts in history and architecture to each other yet they both illustrate Oklahoma's preserved friendly hospitality with Route 66.

As far as the frequency of flooding goes, the central OK area had not had flooding of this level for over 40 years. Many homes were destroyed and received no help from FEMA. Oklahoma is hit with tornadoes often; this flood took everyone by surprise.

Check out my friend @carlzoch 's intimate yet haunting flood photos from his urban kayak photoblog entry:

I would also like to add mention of my photographer friend who has won multiple travel blog awards. @trryan captures the natural landscapes of Oklahoma, and worldwide destinations, beautifully:

Keep travelling!
Lori @lofolulu

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLori Ford

What a great blog, and an amazing trip you all are on! Glad you enjoyed your time here in central Oklahoma and hope you'll come back sometime soon.

Friday, July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Hukill

heard about this while catching up on twip. started reading at day one and really enjoying it so far.

p.s. i live in st louis and we do say soda here. it's usually smaller towns that say pop. and odd as it sounds, i've even heard of one where they use coke as a generic term. "i'll have a coke." "what kind?" "diet dr pepper." ha!

p.p.s. if you two are ever in the ozarks area again, check out eureka springs arkansas. they call it little switzerland and it's AMAZING. you guys would completely freak out on all the great stuff to photograph there. seriously, google it =)

Thursday, August 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkinto

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