Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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To You, Blue

#1 son told me last week at his birthday party that he reads my blog, except for one day of the week. “I don’t like to read recipes, Mom. They’re boring.”

So, no recipe today, and it’s Danny’s fault. As the number one son, and being the possessor of an outrageous imagination, I’ve heard that phrase more than once in my life. And, to be very honest, life with Danny has never been boring. 🙂

Once when he was just out of high school, he decided to take a Route 66 car trip with a friend. He wanted to go all the way to the ocean, but his friend got homesick for his girlfriend, and at the Grand Canyon, they turned around and came home.

I’m not a Route 66 know-it-all, but there are a ton of books out there that can tell you all about it. They have pictures of all the great attractions along the way between Chicago and LA.

From what I read on one site, Route 66 is the way the route the mountain men and immigrant wagon trains took when they went west.

And so it began.

Cyrus Avery, an Oklahoman who wanted to improve the highways to and through our state, is credited with the Great Idea.

Supporters of the major east to west route from Chicago to Los Angeles wanted to follow the Old Santa Fe Trail, which would by pass Oklahoma.

This road would be linked with the Old Santa Fe Trail across the Southwest, which would then be connected to Beale’s wagon route through California to form the National Old Trails Road.

Avery knew that a major highway through Oklahoma would boost that state’s economy so he relentlessly pushed for an alternate route.

Cyrus Avery used a little known trail from the California Gold Rush that ran through Oklahoma, as he drew plans for the route that would become Route 66. He was successful in his bid to have the new route pass through his home state.

This route was designated U.S. Highway 66. On November 11, 1926 a bill was signed in Washington creating the American Highway System. Route 66 along with the rest of the early two-lane roads became a reality.

Route 66 would become the most celebrated and famous of these two-lanes. Route 66 was about to become the “Main Street of America.”

For a while, anyway. Route 66 is still in use in some places, and pretty much ignored in others.

There are lots of wonderful places to visit if you follow it to California (just ask Danny) such as in Claremore, Oklahoma, where you can see the Will Rogers Museum and the Davis Gun Museum, and Catoosa, Oklahoma, the home of the Blue Whale.

Have you ever visited the Blue Whale?

Sadly, I haven’t. But I’ve seen him many times alongside the road. There’s a great story about where he came from. A very imaginative man built him for his wife for their anniversary. (And it wasn’t her idea!)

For a while they opened it to the public as a swim park. Wouldn’t that be a great place to play in the summertime?

The whale fell into disrepair for a few years, but in recent years, it’s been adopted by the City of Catoosa and Hampton Inns.

See the cap on Blue’s head? I always wondered if that cap originally belonged to Jonah.

What do you think?