Tuesday, September 22, 2009



With a Little Route 66 Travel Thrown in

After our most recent trip home we decided we were going to have to bite the bullet and just go for it if we were to truly see the USA the Mystery Shopping Way. Running back home every 1-2 weeks was getting very expensive.

Part of the decision making process included deciding how to handle two obligations we had in the Tulsa, OK area. The first was Gary’s part time teaching job at the Tech. Since he was no longer working in the ever changing field he’d been teaching previously he felt that he was some how letting his students down. He actually dreaded the four hours a week teaching for 16 weeks twice a year.

Then we got the news the class didn’t make. We were both so relieved we wondered why he had even considered teaching it any more. A simple set of math calculations also showed us that we would go in the hole financially to run back home each week for him to do the job during the weeks it did make.

He notified the tech they would need to find a different teacher for the next term. If we weren’t coming back weekly for his tech job that also meant my four $6 each merchandising jobs were going to be a burden. I gave official notice to that company as well.

The euphoria that hit both of us as soon as we freed ourselves t those obligations was unexpected. Now we were free to truly travel. No more running home every time we turned around. Those trips home were expensive!

We were also going to change our attitude about travel and work. We had been doing 95% work and only 5% play. Work is essential, we have bills to pay. But even my son was saying “you two are killing yourselves, slow down and really visit the areas you are working in.”

With this in mind we headed for the Arcadia campground at Edmond, OK.

It is a nice campground with the standard Corps of Engineer rates. $15 for a site with water and electric only, $12 for seniors per night Monday-Thursday. The weekend it’s $21 and $18. The dump station is $5 for non-campers. This particular campground has an annual pass you can purchase to get discounts as well. I had a paper on it with all the information about that, but it seems to be gone with the wind.

They are in the process of doing a lot of re-wiring at this campground. All new electrical boxes appear to be going in. Our spot, #101, was a pull through, but not very level. We had to add 2 inches of lift to the right side trailer tires to make it level enough to be comfortable in the fifth wheel.

We were at the camper so little I never made the journey to the public restrooms. Sorry to those who are dependent upon that information. From the outside they look well maintained and I didn’t hear anyone complaining about them.

The area was all well maintained and it had a good sized boat launch area. There was a nice sized playground with what looked to be new bright colored equipment on it.

The night we arrived we did a fast food dinner shop. This shop took us right by the second tallest cross on Route 66, we’d seen the tallest one last year on our trip to Las Vegas. Then it was back to the camper to work on scheduling as far as we could. Outside our camper we could hear the chirping of tree frogs and the quacks of the mallards on the shoreline just past our camper. It was a pleasant way to spend the evening.

The next day we were off early to do mystery shops and were surprised to discover we were less than five miles from Pops the 66 foot tall L.E.D soda pop bottle on route 66. We stopped long enough to snap a few daytime photos (see the left side bar for all mentioned photos) and then scurried off to complete our shops for the day.

Taking our son’s words to heart we returned there later on that day to see the Round Barn a mile or so on down the road and the bottle lit up that night.

A little Route 66 lore for you. The Round Barn was an icon of Route 66 in it’s hey day. It was 30 years old by the time the Mother Road was well established. Built in 1898 the 60 foot wide 45 foot tall barn was built with surviving Oklahoma’s infamous tornados in mind. The builder thought the round shape would keep it safe from tornados and apparently it has. It has remained standing for 111 years now with the help of local volunteers who did some major repairs to it some years back.

The barn now contains a gift shop and a second floor loft you can rent out for parties. Both were closed at the time of evening we arrived, but it was still really great to see it. We snapped photos read all the posted signs and then headed on down the road back toward Pops.

By then the LED lights were going in a kaleidoscope of colors. The rock music filled the air and the vast parking lot was full of tourists snapping photos.

Inside the diner thousands of bottles of soda pop glistened in the light as diners waited their turn to eat at the grill.

Across the room people were finding favorite soda pops of days gone by to purchase at $2 a bottle. Gary and I decided it wasn’t on our shoestring budget to partake in the rather expensive soda pop but had a great time looking at all the brands. Some we’d never heard of, others like Grape Nehi were fun to see once again.

Our only disappointment with Pops is we thought with all its vintage soda pop feel they should have sold the old style candies and chewing gums too. We looked all over and didn’t find a single 7-up candy bar or stick of clove gum. Too bad.

Several photos later it was back to the camper for a late night of paperwork filing and preparing for more shops on Friday.

Friday the work was heavy and by the time we got to bed we were more than ready for it. Saturday saw us on the road headed back toward the Arbuckle Mountain campground near Davis, OK. Blue grass was calling our name!

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