Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Getting Pop'd

Leaving Tulsa proper we hesitantly bypassed Ollie's Station Restaurant, knowing full well that we would someday make this unique and train filled family eatery a destination on a future sojourn up north.

Even caught myself dipping down below the posted speed limit as we buzzed by the realm of Red Fork Hippie Chick . The art gallery appeared well lit and open for business, but we didn't slow down to look around since we were on a mission to keep on keepin' on.

The drive down 66 between Tulsa and Sapulpa was an uneventful stretch which, unless you like the view of dozens of derelict cars in dark and dusty driveways, it's best to keep your head in the game and eyes on the road.

Unfortunately (for my family), I do enjoy the view of dozens of derelict cars in dark and dusty driveways as I'm constantly on the lookout for a discount diamond in the rough.

Apologies to the guy in the pickup behind me who must have thought I was searching for a particular address on a particular mail box at the end of a particular driveway, since I would drop a few ticks below 45 m.p.h. whenever I spotted a pile of metal and chrome that may or may not have been a nose to a '58 Impala - never mind the ''63 Riviera, or '57 bowtie pickup, or '70 Cutlass, or '73 Satellite, or '49 Ford that I also spotted on this stretch of road.

In Sapulpa we passed by a promising burger haven called the Happy Burger, it's bright and garish road sign boasting over 50 years of greasy spoon dive existence. Cute historic downtown district here as well. Definitely worth a second look in the future.

Made our way back to the Turnpike (44) right about where the 66 and 33 say sayonara to each other and part ways, then bombed our way to the section of the Mother Road off the Wellston exit.

Wellston came up relatively fast since it had turned dark outside and the girls had fired up the dvd player and were headphone-zoned out to Ratatouille (from which C learned a new vocab word...critic, as in food critic).

Fourteen miles down a dark and roller-coastery section of old 66 between Wellston and Arcadia, I found myself playing a dozen or so games of high-beam/low-beam with approaching cars, as we all tried to make our way in the dense night air.

Taking my eyes off the road only long enough to calculate how much more of the promised 14 miles we had to go, S finally announced our arrival in Arcadia as our headlights provided just enough ambient light for her to trace the outline of the famous Round Barn out her side window, it's unique profile and shape as welcoming a landmark as the smile on the Blue Whale or the smell of an onion burger frying up at Robert's Grill in El Reno.

As we curved around yet another bend in the road we were soon greeted with the high pitched squeals of the girls jumping in their seats, faces aglow from the holiday inspired red and green neon emitting from the monstrous Pop's bottle looming on the horizon.

It was a Friday night, so the crowds were plentiful and mooing up a storm. However, the staff was hopping and our suggested "45 minute wait" turned out to be just shy of 25 minutes -- enough time for us mosey on over to the Soda Ranch to pick out a bottle of, what else, pop -- no small feat here since Pop's carries over 500 different types of soda pop.

Both girls glommed onto bottles of Sioux City Sarsaparilla (the preferred drink of their favorite cowboy friend, Stormy Lane). Wifey selected an orange flavored egg cream concoction called Jeff's Orange Dream Egg Cream soda, while I went with a bottle of No-Cal Vanilla Cream

The service was decent and cheerful and the joint was clean and well maintained. Of the food I can only add that the chicken fried steak was not up to Okie standards - bland gravy, and they may need to change their deep fry oil more often. However the signature OKC burger I had was more than edible, as were the onion rings and chili. The fresh cut pineapple and cantaloupe offered on the kiddies platters were a welcome change and the girls happily ate right down to the juice at the bottom of the bowl.

By now the inevitable drive home was looming in the not so near future, and at this point we were anxious to just be home. So onto the turnpike we went, the familiar beeps of our Pike Pass beckoning us to points well known.

Thus endeth yet another family truckster trip to yet another small town on yet another section of Oklahoma's portion of the Mother Road.


redforkhippie said...

Next time you're heading through Red Fork, give us a yell -- dinner at Ollie's is on us. :)

The stretch where you saw all the old cars is actually two old oil towns: Oakhurst and Bowden. There's a gorgeous old gas station on the left side of the road in Oakhurst, and out in the boonies toward Sapulpa, on the right side of the road, someone has put up a great little homemade mailbox shaped like a robot.

OKDad said...

Did notice the Bowden school...and what looked to be a new housing development, or at least a sign advertising what looked to be a new housing development.

Will do on the Ollie's invite, thanks for that. Heard good things about that place, the least of which is the infectious giggle the young man who owns/runs the place unleashes on the customers.

Didn't spot the robot mailbox nor the old station -- unless they had an old wreck nearby that looked like a classic car, I wasn't taking my eye off that windy road.

redforkhippie said...

Y'know, I don't think I've ever heard Joe giggle. Enjoyed quite a bit of his hospitality, though -- he's great about letting various Route 66 groups use his meeting rooms for free.

I posted a couple of pictures of the station here. Apparently I never posted my shot of the robot mailbox; I'll have to track it down and rectify that soon. In the meantime, here's a sign in Oakhurst that I'm crazy about.