In July 2012, Don and I took a one week road trip on the Mother Road in Oklahoma. Our journey included an evening at the Woody Guthrie Festival in Okemah, a dancing lesson with Farmer in the old Round Barn, numerous meals in quaint and quirky cafes and diners, but only 2 nights in motels on the actual route itself.
The Motor Inn
This motel at the north end of 66 was our comfiest stay on the Route. You have to love a place called Motor Inn. They no longer have the original sign, and I do love a retro sign, but there's a grand wooden tower that greets travelers today.
We spotted some other motels with interesting signs while on the road, but we had already made reservations after reading decent reviews about our motel in Chelsea.
Route 66 Room
When I talked to Trudy on the phone a week earlier, she told me about their Route 66 Room. We were pretty darn thrilled to book that room for $49.00.
My idea of perfect décor is a place that hasn't changed anything except the sheets and mattress since opening. But I happily went along with the Route 66 themed bedspread and curtains. I appreciated the enthusiasm with the framed prints and the mighty fun fake gasoline pump. But mostly we had fun with the map of Oklahoma on the wall. It was fun following the marked route and spotting the towns we'd been through.
Motel and House
The office door is at the end near the house. Owner Trudy greeted me upon arrival and warned us not to be worried when cars arrived later, "Family is coming to stay." I was sad to hear some hints about illness in the family. I so hope the motor inn is still open. I know they had big plans to make the house next door into a bed and breakfast.
We had the whole "porch" to ourselves. Since no one else had checked in, we borrowed a green metal chair and had ourselves a pleasant happy hour.
We cooled down with icy drinks, in front of our room, #5...
...and read up on some interesting facts about the Mother Road.
And we gazed across Route 66, to this funny old garage. We even had a few cars wave to us. Now that made my day!
We had dinner in Chelsea, at the Main Street Café. I had the meatloaf special with a navy bean dish.
In the morning we found more cars in the graveled lot. Trudy's family must have been at the house. I think a couple rooms were taken by some construction workers who had arrived late. We checked out and enjoyed a few of the sights a short drive from the motel.
You have to love Ed Golloway's colorful, 90 foot cement totem pole, completed in 1948...after 11 years of work.
And we were able to find this wonderful old bridge that carried Route 66 traffic, from 1926 to 1933.
We met an interesting man from Munich on the bridge.
He was visiting The States, riding his motorcycle across the continent and said Missouri reminded him of Bavaria!
There was nothing too picturesque or luxurious or even really historic about the motel itself. But the place was welcoming and clean and best of all right there on a 2-lane portion of Route 66! It was hot, but we did what travelers did back in the early days of automobile traveling...when motels weren't air-conditioned. We parked in front of our room and sat out front and watched the cars go by.
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!