Wednesday, July 13, 2005

El Reno, Oklahoma

Amazing driving on old alignments of Route 66 where neon signs still stand over now defunct motels, restaurants and gas stations through Missouri and Oklahoma. Getting diesel is not always easy even at major chains located at interstate service areas. Some advertise diesel, which has run from $ 2.39 to $ 2.74 (US) per gallon (US), but at the pump we find that the nozzle is made for the big rigs.

Stayed the the Best Western Stroud Motor Lodge, Oklahoma last night. Hotel clerk gave me free postcards that show the hotel and the 53 store Tanger Factory Outlet Mall that used to be behind it. On May 3, 1999 a tornado touched down, flattened the mall and tore over half of the roof off of the hotel where guests sheltered in the restrooms. The mall owner collected the insurance money but has not rebuilt. It had been the town's largest employer and 350 workers were out of jobs. Thank God that there were no fatalities. The massive lot is now up for sale. Any takers?

Now in El Reno ,Oklahoma where the smart car continues to provoke questions. Many are curious about the gas mileage, who makes it and where it's made.

Excellent local history museum housed in the Rock Island Line train station. The El Reno hotel was moved to this site from three blocks west. Upstairs the rooms are set out for various travelers including a doctor. The Possum Valley school house is a real gem - smells like a school inside too. Unfortunately the Heritage Express Trolley is not running due to failure of the drive shaft. A new part is being crafted in either Colorado or Nebraska depending on who you listen to. This historic town is in Canadian County between the North and South Canadian Rivers and has played an interesting role in local history.

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