We continued through famous El Reno junction: U.S. 66 and the Chisholm Trail (around U.S. 81). Close to the junction, we managed to take a picture of a retired World War II airplane. These historic Route 66 towns had plenty of attractions, especially museums. However, we were all in agreement that we’d rather walk the streets and “dream” of how it was in these places almost 100 years ago rather than spend time in museums. We also agreed to drive through some of the less attractive or run down towns in order to spend as much time possible in places we wanted to see. We briefly drove back on I 40 W and stopped for gas close to Bridgeport, OK. There were several signs to Indian Trading posts, and we ended up visiting Pawnee Bill’s Indian Trading Post. Although commercial, we couldn’t help ourselves to some souvenirs and Tone found “the man in her life”, a poster picture of a Native American Chief, who became the 5th passenger on our trip. I don’t know how many times we almost lost him!
Next stop was Clinton, the one place we had decided to stop at the “must-see” Oklahoma Route 66 Museum. It was definitely worth the hour we spent there. The museum took us through the changes while travelling on Route 66, decade by decade; from the horse-and-carriage, through the Cadillac era, the Volkswagen Beetle during the Woodstock generation, and finally the deterioration of the Mother Road as the interstate was built. As we continued driving, we finally found the painted Route 66 highway sign painted on the concrete. OK, we went a little nuts taking pictures.
We skipped Foss-Canute and went to Elk City, named after Elk Creek. Interesting for “Nurse Unn”, Elk City was apparently one of the first experimental sites for collective health care in the 1940s. We were hungry and decided to follow recommendations from our Route 66 travel books. In retrospect, I cannot imagine what we would’ve done without the guidebooks we brought with us, both in terms of sites to see and historic places to eat. Our late lunch took place at Pedro’s Mexican Grill in Elk City. Entering the restaurant, we thought it was a children’s playground with colorful interior, woodcarvings on all the furniture, and lots of pictures. One of the cooks demonstrated how tortillas were made and I have never tasted anything better. I ordered the chicken enchiladas with yellow rice, beans and sour cream. I can honestly say it was 100% better than what I’ve had in NYC Mexican restaurants.