Sunday, July 25, 2010

Roadtrippin'....again (Part Two)

(Betcha thought I was going to forget to do Part Two, huh? With a hilarious afternoon as we had, I couldn't forget to post about it. Go here to read Part One if you haven't already.)

When we last left off, we had just left The Blue Hole after a great morning and early afternoon full of fun. We drove back through the town of Pryor, Oklahoma, where we should have taken a left to go back south and head home, but after filling our tanks back up with ice cream and cherry limeades at Braum's, we turned right instead, and headed a little bit further north to Adair.

No, Adair was not our destination, as there isn't a whole lot going on there, but we did pass through, turning back west towards our intended next stop. After passing field after field, cow after cow, we saw it. There, on the left, was...



Yep, we're nothing if not a bit peculiar, I mean, unique, here in Oklahoma.

It was on our summer bucket list, and since we were so close, we just had to cross it off.

A little bit about the Totem Pole Park (taken straight from Wikipedia):

"After more than 20 years as a manual arts teacher at the Children’s Home orphanage in Sand Springs, OK, in 1937 Ed Galloway retired and moved his family to a small farm near Foyil. Shortly afterwards he embarked on an ambitious folk art project to create a three-dimensional totem pole using modern building materials. After eleven years of work, Galloway’s totem pole was completed in 1948 and topped out at approximately 90 ft (27 m) in height. The totem pole’s construction took six tons of steel, 28 tons of cement, and 100 tons of sand and rock. The base is 30 ft (9 m) wide and rests on the back of a colourfully painted turtle. It is decorated with approximately 200 bas relief images of brightly colored Native American portraits, symbols, and animal figures that cover the entire totem pole from the base to its pinnacle.

The park also features Galloway’s eleven-sided “Fiddle House” which is supported inside and out by 25 concrete totem poles. It previously housed his hand-carved fiddles, handmade furniture, and bas relief portraits of all of the US Presidents up to JFK. Unfortunately, many of the items in the Fiddle House were stolen in 1970 and never recovered. The park also contains four smaller concrete totems, two ornate concrete picnic tables with animal-form seats, a barbecue, and four sets of animal-form gateposts.

Galloway lived at and worked on the park every day up to his death in 1962 of cancer. Some say that he hoped to use his work to educate young people about Native Americans, but others claim he thought it would be a good thing for youngsters, Boy Scouts in particular, to visit."

Heck yeah, folks, we've got the world's largest concrete totem pole. What have you got???

The funniest part came when we popped our heads into the "Fiddle House" which also serves as the visitor's center and gift shop. The lady working the desk took one look at my son and asked what tribe he was from. Ha! True that -- he totally looks like a little Indian warrior, but I told her he is technically an Indian of the Central American sort instead since he's got some Mayan Indian in his heritage. The true Native American was this pasty white, red-headed, freckled-armed gal that was his mother -- ha! She didn't look convinced, and it was too hot for me to walk back to the car, get my official tribal membership card out of my wallet and show her. Oh well.

So after we ran around the grounds like a bunch of wild natives, we hopped back in the car on our way to yet another bucket list destination about half and hour further down the road, the Mother Road, in fact. Yep, we soon found ourselves heading south (west) on good ol' Route 66.

On our way to our next (and final stop), something on the side of the road caught my mom's eye, so I zipped it on back around and whipped out my camera to take a picture of this:

(You might have to click on the picture to be able to read the sign.)

Amy, Katie, you girls recognize this?! We were tickled pink to see a name we recognized up on the sign. Yay for our friend, Steve! He was just named the pastor of this church, and we just happened to drive by while his name was up on the sign. So fun.

We kept driving south and took a little short driving detour through Claremore, Oklahoma (home of Will Rogers, who never met a man he didn't like) and saw some pretty old buildings like the Belvidere Mansion

and this adorable diner that I want to go back to sometime.

Both great excuses for another roadtrip, don't you agree?

After our little detour, we continued on Route 66 towards Catoosa, where, you might have guessed by now, we arrived at our final destination, that infamous Route 66 landmark -- the Blue Whale.

According to Wikipedia:

"Hugh Davis built the Blue Whale in the early 1970s as a surprise anniversary gift to his wife Zelta, who collected whale figurines. The Blue Whale and its pond became a favorite swimming hole for both locals and travelers along Route 66 alike.
Originally, the pond surrounding the massive Blue Whale was spring fed and intended only for family use. However, as many locals began to come to enjoy its cool waters, Davis brought in tons of sand, built picnic tables, hired life guards, and opened his masterpiece to the public."

Remind me never to begin collecting animal figurines so my husband doesn't get it in his head to build me a surprise anniversary gift someday...

(Can you see me in this picture? You might have to click on it, but there I am, up on the tail.)

It was fun to see up close and personal. The boy wanted to know why we couldn't swim in the water, which, let me just tell you, was N-A-S-T-Y. I would have had a heart attack and died right on the spot if I had touched any part of my body in that water. Ha!

So there you have it.
Adventure can sometimes be practically in your own backyard, folks, if you'll only look for it.
I wonder where the wind will blow us next???


Kristin Ann said...

Awesome road trip! You can't beat a big smiley whale. The best memories are made off the beaten path.

Country Dreaming said...

Part two sounds like quite the trip. How far are you from OKC and Edmond? My sister-in-law and
her family live in Edmond.
Will there be a part three?


LJ said...

The totems are very interesting. As a girl we travelled a lot during the summers, when I was 9/10ish I remember visiting Vancouver, BC. It sparked a love of history and the way people lived.
I can see you waving on the whale! too cute! :)

Rebekah said...

what an awesome road trip! We've been toying with the idea of an across the west road trip next summer and I'm always on the lookout for fun tourist attractions to visit!

That fiddle factory is so cool. I love looking at the wood patterns of stringed instruments.

Rhonda said...

What a truly wonderful day! I love reading your adventure stories!

My favorite part was the Fiddle House lady that didn't believe the tricky heritage origins. Nice!