Thursday, 8 January 2015

DAY 29 - Gettin' Our Kicks On Route 44

Hi y'all, greetings from Oklahoma City, the capital and largest city of the state of Oklahoma and 27th most populous city in the US.  On a sad note, it was also the scene of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995, in which 168 people died.

Today was a transit day. In fact it was our longest distance/time transit day so far and will be the longest for our holiday. We travelled a distance of 498 miles / 802 km from Chesterfield, north-east of St. Louis and took over seven hours to get here. Interestingly, when I first plugged the location into Bob (our GPS) I inadvertently selected the 'no toll roads' option and the distance was 551 miles / 888 km. So when we started the journey, the roads didn't seem like the vast highways we have become accustomed to. A quick re-route of the GPS and instantly our travel time was reduced by around 90 minutes.

When we were packing the car in the morning, I moved the car to the sheltered drive through of our Hotel to make things easier. The temperature at the time was minus 16 degrees C and according to the weather bureau, the wind-chill factor made the 'feels-like' temperature minus 22 degrees C. I for one would subtract a few degrees from that because the location that I parked the car, appeared to be a wind-tunnel. Needless to say, it was f-ing cold (those who read yesterday's blog know that 'f-ing' stands for freezing).

Route 44 all the way from St. Louis to Oklahoma City
What the route would have looked like without taking toll roads

The route only covered the states of Missouri and Oklahoma, but it got awfully close to Kansas (around 600-feet /200 m) at the border. The route also shadows and includes aspect of what is now called the Historic Route 66. Route 66 changed over the years to the extent that the actual Route 66 was decommissioned back in 1985, with some parts of the road allowed to degenerate to become non-existent, it is no longer a real traceable route. So they have established the Historic Route 66 which takes in as many aspects of the original route as possible. So in the end we had to settle for getting' our kicks on Route 44.

This is an example of one aspect of our route along the I-44 and how it shadows the Historic Route 66

The drive was long and fairly boring. We almost stopped in Waynesville, Missouri after seeing a sign for a Vacuum Museum; that was until Kyle suggested that it would suck (true story). We did; however, stop in Joplin, Missouri for lunch, but alas there was no sign of Janis (obviously). We passed the cities of Springfield, Missouri and Tulsa, Oklahoma. We also cracked up laughing as we passed the town (no...the Nation) of Kickapoo. But, in all seriousness, the Kickapoo are an American Indian, Woodland tribe, who speak an Algonquian language. It is said that the name Kickapoo means 'here and there' attesting to their nomadic lifestyle. And, we laughed again as we passed the 'Kum and Go' Gas Station with it's impressive building that spans across the turnpike. Oh, and for the Australians reading, a turnpike is essentially a toll road.

Really, they couldn't think of a better name?

The building was pretty impressive, though

The I-44 essentially has a speed limit of 70 mph (equals 80 mph to most US citizens), until you hit the Oklahoma Border Turnpike when the speed rises to 75 mph (85 mph). The turnpike comprises two tolls of $4 each and as noted above cuts around one-and-a half hours of the travel time.

Here's some photos taken along the way:

Stopping for lunch in Joplin, Missouri

Welcome to Oklahoma (Will Rogers Turnpike)

A very typical view along the way

Nice skies in the late afternoon along the I-44

The Turner Turnpike Toll Collection

Great looking skies

Crossing the Arkansas River

Tulsa, Oklahoma, the second largest city in Oklahoma

Getting towards the outskirts of Oklahoma City

We arrived at our Hotel late in the afternoon after discovering that a Freeway which cuts through the middle of Oklahoma City doesn't exist in Bob's memory bank, resulting in my taking a wrong exit, getting lost and having to get Bob to reroute to our intended location.

The Hotel is on the approach path for the airport...*Bliss*.

Well that's it for today, tomorrow we deserve a rest, and the best news is that the temperature in Oklahoma City tomorrow will be a warm and balmy minus five degrees C.

PS: Steve, I hope that you will be pleased to know that we have not had to use your knives in anger, yet.

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