Prev: Day 1: St. Louis to Oklahoma City
Next: Day 3: Amarillo to Albuquerque and Karens Cactus Adventure
10/11/2007: Day 2: OKC to Amarillo, Route 66, and the fastest man ever
We rose at the Rodeway Inn right at the foot of the onramp of I-40 in Oklahoma City.
Rodeway Inn sign against a pretty Oklahoma sky
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But, what if I want to make a call?
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Oklahoma is discovering that there is more energy to be harvested above the ground than could be found in the formerly vast oil reserves below it.
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By 10:06 we rode up the ramp and headed west. We didn't get very far before I saw a sign for the Thomas P. Stafford Airport and Space Museum. I had to take a look.
Oklahoma is discovering that there is more energy to be harvested above the ground than could be found in the formerly vast oil reserves below it.
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A space museum on Rt. 66 founded by a 4-time astronaut from here.
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Karen poses with a second-stage Titan missile engine. As with most exhibits in the Thomas P. Stafford Museum, it is real.
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There are many vintage airplanes in this museum. Some are working models, since the originals have rotted away, or are hanging in the Smithsonian.
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Karen with bigger engines, from Apollo stages. Yes, these are the real deal.
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Some Apollo memorabilia that Stafford himself used. But explain to me the usefulness of a machete and sunscreen to Apollo astronauts.
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Remember the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey where the traveler puzzles over the toilet instructions? This is a working prototype of the Skylab toilet and shower, used in training.
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An actual MiG stands among the modern fighters here. But notice the little bomb on the far left (next slide, please).
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This cute little bomb is field settable to anywhere between 300 and 340,000 tons yield, and for a wide variety of delivery options.
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Karen reads about this actual Apollo Mission Control console.
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Karen stands in a used section of solid fuel booster from a Space Shuttle. Behind her is a Shuttle cargo palette, and note the Gemini command module hanging from the ceiling.
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Okay. I am prone to odd points of view. Here, I am looking up from the floor to see the NASA banner on the ceiling (past a mannequin in a Shuttle seat).
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One of the displays of a variety of launch vehicles, showing the ones currently in use by various nationalities. I had no idea how many countries have active space programs. The tires on the right are off of a Space Shuttle. They were only used once.
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Looking along a Titan rescued from a nearby silo, with its (presumably hollow) warhead standing on the floor, we see Karen diligently reading about this machine just beyond the in-orbit torque wrench in a glass case.
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Karen reads about the (used) orbital rocket pack. Note the little sign asking people to preserve space history by not-touching the actual artifacts.
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Stafford flew in Gemini IV, and commanded Gemini IX, Apollo X, and Apollo-Soyuz. He was the first U.S. General in orbit. The return leg of Apollo X had the highest relative ground velocity of any manned flight, so he has moved faster than any man ever has, or will until someone travels farther than the moon.
He's also a gifted mathematician and strategic thinker who is still consulting for the Navy and NASA. He walked in just before we left, so I got to shake his hand and chat briefly with a man who'd seen the far side of the moon firsthand.
Gen'l Thomas P. Stafford is the gent standing between us. Pardon the blurry picture, but it was taken by a (cute) college design student who was apparently a bit shaky. Maybe excited?I was caught looking into the distance after a fairly long wait for her to shoot.
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Karen is a meticulous museum go-er. We spent only 3 hours in Weatherford at the museum because I pulled her along after the first few rooms. This collection gives the Smithsonian Air & Space collection a serious run for the money.
So, onward to Clinton, OK for one of the better Route 66 museums. Musea?
At the end of this road, parallel to the runways at the Stafford airport, you see a modern alternative to trees as a favored end-of-runway obstacle.
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Clinton, OK has a really nice Route 66 Museum. Note the back of a visitor's AirStream trailer to the left, and it's reflection in the window.
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More about Will Rogers. Look him up yourself for a great American humorist.
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This museum has themed rooms for each decade of the "Mother Road", with artifacts and music typifying each era. Worth a stop.
Well, it was getting late, so we hit the road. And soon stopped at a little town named AlanReed.
Alanreed, Texas. It's just a dot on the map, but claims gas, food, camping, lodging, and a Post Office
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Alanreed is two buildings. Show here is the Jail, Post Office, gift shop, and general store.
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Late afternoon in Alanreed, I virtually get into the picture.
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One corner of the AlanReed main building. "Slow Down Frank or You'll Blur the Picture"
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That was a relatively short stop, but the sun was low minutes later as we pulled into one of Texas' new Safety Stop rest areas. Energy efficient and designed for trucker and traveler needs.
Snapshot of the rest area just west of Alanreed
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This rest area is wind-powered, among its energy efficiency features.
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View from the top of the sod roof of the rest area, with a concrete Texas outline in the red circle.
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Self portrait in the rest area, showing the low sun shining across from the identical west wall star.
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A final shot at the rest area on I-40 at Texas mile 130ish, with Karen and Dan shadows pointing East toward the Interstate through the picnic shelter.
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I took pictures more inspired by visuals than by thematic interest. And we headed on toward the sunset.
Setting sun in the middle of the Texas panhandle
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More sky with setting sun between those structures
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A last sliver of sun
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And nothing left but pastel skys over the highway
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So, it was dark and we'd only gone about 1/3 as far as yesterday. Here's a map of the 2 days drive:
Overview map of first 2 days travel from Google (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&saddr=63104&daddr=35.424868,-97.624512+to:amarillo&mrcr=0,1&mrsp=1&sz=6&mra=mi&sll=36.89923,-96.02513&sspn=8.447733,13.491211&ie=UTF8&ll=36.315125,-97.03125&spn=9.484849,14.941406&z=6&om=1)
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Next: Day 3: Amarillo to Albuquerque and Karens Cactus Adventure

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