Ash Grove, Missouri – May 2019 – Getting Your Kicks on Route 66 Missouri Style

As the song goes Route 66 went from Chicago to L.A., going through Missouri along the way. While much of it is gone, replaced by freeways, there are still portions that are intact.



Many unique places remain along these portions of the Mother Road. One such place is just west of Springfield, Missouri. It is a restored Sinclair Gas Station full of cool, quirky things, including numerous ‘vintage’ vehicles.



A very nice lady named Barbara is the current owner of the property, having taken over for her father after he passed away. Barbara enthusiastically welcome all visitors, and the visitors seem genuinely pleased to be there.

On the day we were there one of the old trucks her father had owned was returned to it’s rightful spot at the station.



As noted plenty of tourists make the stop to check it out. I suggest if you get the chance you do the same.
































Afton, Oklahoma – May 2019 – Darryl Starbird’s National Rod & Custom Car Hall of Fame

Darryl Starbird has been an innovative custom car designer since the 1950s. Originally from Wichita, Kansas, Darryl relocated his collection to this Grand Lake area of Oklahoma. His museum also includes some of the best from other amazing designers such as the George Barris.

The collection is amazing – and well worth the stop – say hi to Donna, Darryl’s wife who runs the museum.















































Bartlesville, Oklahoma – May 2019 – Frank Lloyd Wright Goes to New Heights

Those who follow this blog regularly know many of the postings are for architecture, and many of those have featured Frank Lloyd Wright. FLW generally is known for his homes, but did design some commercial properties as well.

One of his most famous commercial properties is the Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. While a 19 floor building in a small city might seem out of place there are a few other buildings of similar height, as it was the headquarters for Phillip 66 petroleum company, and continues to be a major employer as part of Conoco – Phillips.




As usual there are many unique touches to the design, including these inlaid logos in the floor for the original owner’s company.



The building houses an art museum, as well as a collection of the original furnishings.













The building was built with offices and apartments. The apartments have been turned into a boutique hotel – we were lucky enough to get a 2 level room on the 13th and 14th floors.

The furnishings are new but fit the style perfectly.















As with many FLW designs there is quirkiness to the design (the bathroom was insanely small, and the stairs were narrow and at an angle) but it was worth it to spend the night in a work of art.



Next door is a performing arts center designed by a FLW student.








The Price Tower is one of America’s great buildings!






Fairview, Oklahoma – May 2019 – Little Mountain on the Prairie

As you drive across the flatlands of Oklahoma one feature you do not expect is a redish mesa rising 200 feet above the prairie, but that is exactly what Gloss Mountain does.



In fact there are a few of these features in the area just outside of the small, appropriately named town of Fairview.



The hike up the mesa was on some sketchy looking stairs, but they worked – from the top you have a panoramic view of the area.






These unique features were formed long ago when the area was under a sea that left behind layers of shale and siltstone, with a top layer of gypsum. There is something known as selenite in gypsum that is glossy, hence the name.



The mesa’s were formed from erosion over thousands of years.





From here you have a seemingly endless view across the flat lands.





Once you reach the top you pass numerous fields of wild flowers.





Gloss Mountain – an unexpected and fun hike in the middle of Oklahoma.








Amarillo, Texas – May 2019 – Planting Vehicles in the Ground

For some reason the people of Amarillo, Texas like to take large vehicles and plant them in the ground.

South of town is Combine City. Since 2002 a farmer named Orville Ladehoff has been ‘planting’ old combines in the ground. Today there are 14 of them sticking up in the Texas prairie.









Slug Bug Ranch is east of town. Here there are 5 VW Beetles stuck in the ground much like the more famous one on the other side of town.










There are a few other items on the grounds that are also covered in graffiti.








By far the most famous in town, and likely in the world is Cadillac Ranch. Since 1974 these old Cadillacs have been sticking out of the ground in the Texas panhandle.

Note – they are not supposed to be in a pond, but there had been lots of rain so it appears they are partially under water.






















Clovis, New Mexico – May 2019 – Amazing Music from a Small Town

Thanks to a man named Norman Petty the small eastern New Mexico town has a big piece of American music history. It is here that Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and others first recorded their music.

When I was planning out the road trip I discovered this, and made plans to stop by the ‘studio’. When the navigation system said we arrived it was in front of a newer building that was the Chamber of Commerce, as well as a museum. Upon entry I asked about the studio, the person at the desk said that is across town – and rarely open. Disappointed, we checked out the museum.



The museum was in the basement. After watching a video about Norman and Vi Petty, we toured their exhibits. They have a number of nice displays.












After leaving I was able to google and find the actual studio address. It was located across town, just a couple of miles away.

When we arrived I noticed the gate to the compound was open. When I walked in I tried a door to a building and to my surprise it too was unlocked. There were four people standing in the lobby and when I asked if I could take some photos outside they said yes, but then said they were starting a studio tour – would we like to see it!



Our first stop and the room that the recording engineer worked the soundboard.




Our tour was lead by a man named Dave Bigham. Our good fortunate hit the jackpot here, as Dave was one of Buddy Holly’s backup singers back in the 1950s.

Dave was a fantastic guide – he was very knowledgeable, adding tons of background to each of the songs. When he started to sing his backup parts along with the song he was playing I got goose bumps!



While the mixing board was updated in the 1970s, most of the other equipment is from the 1950s when Buddy and others recorded here.







In the back of the building is an apartment where the musicians would crash when recording here. The story was told that they tended to record overnight, and sleep through the day.




The studio is where the magic occurred. Nearly all of the instruments, amps and other equipment is original from the 1950s.







We were very honored to have lucked into this tour, and to have Dave lead us through the facility. It was easily one of the highlights of the 3 week road trip.





The actual mic that Buddy Holly recorded all those classics. What an afternoon in Clovis, New Mexico.