Saturday, August 08, 2009

2656.2 (301.4) Miles to Lebanon, Missouri

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Today was a day of backtracking, missed opportunities, near-missed opportunities, and confusion. Bullet points to follow.

  • Started backtracking 10 miles west on 66 to see the Blue Whale of Catoosa. This is a structure in the middle of a pond, painted sky blue, with ladders and slides off of it. Kind of like the old airplane park that used to be on 19th Avenue in San Francisco, for those of you to whom that means anything. So, in northeastern Oklahoma, near the home of Will Rogers, there's a blue whale. Go figure.
  • Nearly missed, but finally did find, the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum in Claremore. My directions had it at one address, turns out it takes up an entire city block about 3 blocks from that address. Just as I'd given up and was about to drive out of town, there it was. Anyone interested in guns HAS to see this place. Every rifle, pistol, or shotgun you can imagine. Plus muskets and swords and other (non-weapon) items, too. The largest private collection of such items in the world.
  • On my way out of Oklahoma, I drove through Quapaw. I know nothing about the place EXCEPT: It was the home of B.J. Hunnicut's father-in-law, as told in one episode of MASH.
  • Directions today were BAD. Highways dead-ended with no apparent way to get to the next stretch of road. Detours were recommended that, as near as I could tell, did not exist (some "historical loop" in Spencer, MO?). The wrong address I described above, plus nearly impossible "directions" to a supposed tri-state marker. And then, the big one: In Springfield, Missouri, the directions said to turn left, and the streat would become a county road and head north along with I-44. Instead, the road dead ended at the Springfield Airport. A man at a gas station was nice enough to tell me that the directions should have had me turn RIGHT at the road, and from there I was able to get where I was going (with the exception of that dead end that I mentioned). The man was very confused by my question, though. Why would anyone in their right mind want to get to whatever town WITHOUT taking I-44? I couldn't really answer him, but on I went.
  • Almost couldn't get a room in Lebanon. The country's largest gospel choir convention is in town this weekend. I was lucky enough that on the third motel I stopped at, someone had decided to leave a day early, so I got their room.
Tomorrow heading towards Saint Louis and Illinois, with stopps in Rolla and at the Meramec Caverns and wherever else I feel like.

Pictures: The Blue Whale of Catoosa (there's a blue whale in Catoosa!!!) and the last remaining Rainbow Arch bridge.


Katrina said...

That's a pretty sweet whale. And the country's largest gospel choir convention? Anyway, I wonder how they decided to name that city in Missouri "Lebanon"...

elena said...

please tell me you slid down that whale into that murky looking water. that would be awesome.

what happens at a gospel choir convention? did you find out?

Alan said...

You're not supposed to swim in the pond. Besides, even if it was ok, um....NO.

And at a gospel choir convention, I think (I THINK) they sing. And fill up motels.