Big fish and fancy free

Trip Start Sep 16, 2011
Trip End Nov 20, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Oklahoma
Sunday, October 2, 2011

We got a wake up call this morning so we could try and fulfil some of the good intentions of yesterday. (You guessed it, beer, wine and sleep were the winners in the end.) Sadly, we were no more productive this morning.  Ah, well...

After a quick brekkie we hit the pool for a play before heading out at 11am.  In terms of packing and loading in/out of hotels we are team slick now.  We don't speak when we are loading in / out we don't need to.   We are like finely tuned athletes who can read each other’s minds. With one look, we know who is getting the little zip seal bags of ice for the esky or the free coffee to go.  We know who is carrying  Big Shane and who is bribing Elwood with cheese slices.  We are poetry in motion. (Although we have way too many bags!)

We had our usual series of legal (and slightly less legal) u-turns this morning in our quest to rejoin Historic Route 66.   You can imagine our surprise to stumble upon it, and there you go - Operation Road Trip is back on bitumen.

Feeling like winners, we headed to Vinita.  This was a photo stop for Noah and it did not disappoint him.  I think Noah was put off from staying longer by the fact the town is known for cooking (and presumably eating) beef testicles.  Can you imagine the smell of those little beauties in the fry pan?

Our first proper stop today was at the Totem Pole Park just outside of Foyil, Oklaholma.  Now I thought our little totem fan would get a kick out of this.  And he did.  But we all loved it so much more than we expected.  The totem poles were fabulous, a little random, but fab nonetheless.  The area they were in was not at all fussy, and so naturally pretty.  Our little fella spent an hour up a tree.  Noah and I took him cheese sandwiches and apple juice and he just sat there playing his 3 year old imaginary games.

We popped into the shop / museum (which is actually made of 12 totem poles) and to our surprise, there were just under 200 fiddles.  They looked amazing – such craftsmanship.  The story:  'In the 40’s and 50’s retired fiddle maker and folk artist Ed Galloway sculpted an outdoor garden of giant totem poles-that the tallest is over 90 feet’.   The legend has it that his wife was fed up with people coming into the house to look at all those fiddles, so she told him to build a gallery and he had an interest in American Indian culture and wanted American Indians to feel welcome – so the Totem Pole Park was born.    It was just such a nice place to spend a couple of hours.  And the sunshine, I know I keep going on about it, but it is too magic for words.

As you would imagine Elwood was reluctant to leave and the only way I could get him to leave was on the promise of a visit to a giant blue whale.  And that, my friends, was exactly what he got.

We had a quick pit stop at 'Top Hat Dairy’ for ice creams of obscene proportions.  And then Elwood and I fell asleep (I think our ice creams were spiked) and as if by magic – we awoke in Catoosa with a massive blue whale in front of us.

Righto fact-fans , the low down on the big fish.  ‘The park, built as an animal themed tourist attraction in the 1970’s by Hugh Davis, a curator at the Tulsa Zoo, closed down long ago and was left to crumble.  Unlike so many other long suffering Route 66 landmarks, however, the Blue Whale has been lovingly restored by the family of it’s original creators’.  I met the son of Hugh Davis at the whale, he has been responsible for keeping the park going.  He lives there in a RV.  A local businessman approached him in the summer and offered to restore the whale in exchange for putting up a very small amount of signage at the site.  The result is a charming elderly gentleman having done his parents legacy justice and a gleaming beautiful big roadside whale. Heart warming stuff.   

Well, we just loved being there.  I think like the Totem Poles Park – you can get a real sense of the heart that has gone into some places.  It is inspiring.

Elwood was blown away by the whale (thankfully, not literally) and beamed the whole time he was there.  Except for the brief time he sulked when we wanted a photo with him and us, and he walked off and joined another family’s photo.  No joke.  Surely he is not old enough to be embarrassed by us yet?

He climbed up a ladder into the head of the whale.  I am not sure how safe this was but Elwood strode forth confidently.  Noah did his best to look brave, especially as they were 4 young ladies happily heading into upper-whale, but I could tell he was bricking it.

Next stop was our hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

As soon as we arrived we headed for a swim (we do like a good frolic in the water).  All fine, until a strange looking women walks nervously / guiltily / just plan strangely in and out of the side entry to the hotel, near the pool.  She was carrying lots of jackets and carrier bags and darted into the toilet.  So I head to the reception, trying to look serious / concerned in my Australian flag bikini and say a homeless person is using the toilet, she came in through the side door, and she is in the toilet now.  My work here is done; I head back to the room.  Later at reception, I asked about the incident in a suitably serious tone and I am told that the woman was a guest of the hotel I said,’Really, are you sure?’  So I have accused a guest of being ‘a homeless’ and behaved like a crazy at reception.  I may be skipping breakfast tomorrow....

We had a quick meal at Cracker Barrel.  (My name is Bree, and I am addicted to Cracker Barrel.)  And then head back home for Elwood to hit the sack, Noah to do a load of washing (yep people, those feral days are over), and me sup mini wines

Noah went foraging for beer and snacks and returned with massive cans of Mexican beer (Tecate – in case you are looking for it) and 750ml of luminous strawberry daiquiri for me. (What?)  Also I have a baby Ruth bar (4 grams of protein according to the bar.  Get in.) and A ‘3 Musketeer bar’  (whipped up fluffy chocolate-on-mint taste). 

Now that is what I call a party.

A post script from the husband... Howdy folks.

Just a quick addition to the above, to show how acclimatised I am now to the American way of life.

My mission: to get a chocolate bar and a beer. Having asked at reception, he recommended the petrol station, or for those of you interested in picking up some useful local phrases - the gas station.

Having remembered to turn on the car lights(!), I set off without knowing where a gas station was, but thought it can't be that far from one as they seem to be at every intersection. My luck was in, so after a few twists and turns, and a u-turn, I was on the forecourt. All good. I thought I  might as well get some gas, petrol for those who don't speak the USA, whilst here to save a job for tomorrow.

I now know to pay first before filling, unlike the UK, as I've spent too many times staring at the pumps wondering why nothing's happening and why it's asking me for a zip code when I've put my credit card in. Having studied my trouser fly, and finding no code, I can confirm now that zip code translates to postcode. Confusing. This also means having to guess how much fuel you might need before you fill up.

So feeling pleased with myself for remembering this, I took 2 random choc bars and 2 massive cans of random beer, (Boom, mission complete!) up to the cashier and to pay for my fuel, in advance. After a few times of trying to say 30, him thinking I'm saying 50, we finally agree on 30 dollars worth of fuel. All good.

So, back out to the car. Realise I've parked on the wrong side, so have to do lots of back and forth manoeuvres to get close enough to the pump. There's only me here, so he's watching the crazy foreigner dance around his pump in probably the smallest car he's ever seen. Not so good. The pump still won't quite reach, but adopt a sort of  upside down technique for getting the nozzle to the car, and look confident like I do this all the time back in Blighty. Hmm. Start pumping. Good.

Just gazing around and realise there's cockroaches on the floor and suddenly feel very conscious I'm bare foot and they might eat me. Then, petrol starts to squirt from the car as it's over flowing. Def not good. Cease filling and realise I'm not at 30 dollars yet. What happens now? How do I get my money back? Do I have to find 3.46 dollars worth of stuff in the shop? Who knows?! And what do I do with the petrol on the car and floor?

I know, I'll stop filling and clean the windscreen with a squeegee! No-one, not even me was expecting that! D'oh, winning! Having confused myself with that, I get paper towels for the spillage, and head back inside to do battle to get my 3.46 back. Still barefoot.

What's this, another curve ball? I suddenly remember Bree also wanted some more wine. So I swerve past the cashier desk, much to both our surprise, and head to the booze fridges. I feel his eyes watching me. I realise really quickly, there's no wine so get the next best thing, you guessed it, 75cl of luminous strawberry daiquiri. Bam!

I get to the till ready to fire up over the 3.46. From out of no where, he gives me a credit receipt, charges me for the daiquiri and wishes me a good day. Well, I was not expecting that!

So just to make myself feel better, and back on form, I accidentally drive out the entrance and get lost on the way home! Yes!!!

Je suis Americano.

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Lee-Anne on

My computor has been playing up so have only just got to read your blogs and have tears rolling down my face with laughter. Sounds like you guys are having an awesome time . Your pics are awesome to. Looking forward to your next edition!!! Lots of love L

noah_and_bree on

Hi LeeAnne - we were just thinking about you on the day you left this note. We went to a great place called Pops! We do think of you around nashville as we could just see you guys there! Hope you are welll and can''t wait to see you soon. love bx

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