Thursday, August 29, 2013


     The KOA in El Reno had surprising proximity to Route 66. Before leaving, we all agreed to to eat a quick snack and have "brunch" somewhere that looked promising along the way. The old section of 66 was maintained but was rough and far from perfection.
     The somewhere we landed on for brunch was The Fat ElvUS Diner. It was truly one of those opportunities that was too good to pass up. Once inside, we realized what a great decision we had made. Adorned from front to back with music memorabilia, it was a greasy spoon well fitting for the vibe of the area.
     Our waitress was older but full of energy. The menu was standard fare with budget minded prices. They also served onion burgers that the area is known for: ground beef with raw onions and pressed in and grilled. Chris has a serious sweet tooth and couldn't resist getting a milkshake. In his defense, it was about 10am. We ordered and after finding out the waitress made the shakes and seeing Chris', Wes decided to order one too. Luckily for me, he is counting calories so I was given half. Thick, rich and 100 percent old school, it was a killer addition to breakfast. I was trying to go light but the guys kept piling food on so I got a good meal out of the deal.
     Before leaving, I was taking pictures and noticed the cook was a dead ringer for The King. He was very gracious and the restaurant was full of family photos. This is the kind of Route 66 gem that you don't find in the guidebooks. Maybe that's a good thing.
     The big destination for the day was the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. I had spotted it on the way in and it looked massive. It looked even bigger up close.
     It is really hard to write about something so huge, just like it was hard to find a starting point to go through it. I elected to start at the Lone Ranger display, a brief history about the character from its radio show roots to the recent movie adaptation. I moved on to the art and realism of the paintings on one end of the museum. It took me awhile to get through even one room. The detail in the the paintings took time to absorb and I was a little taken aback by how effected I felt.

     There was a recreation of an old pioneer town. It was pretty complete with a jail, post office jail, etc. Its dark and the ceiling was painted to look like the sky and the effect works.
     The amount of information to read and see is staggering. Hundreds of cowboy and Indian artifacts and history. Really, it just needs to be seen. If you are anywhere even close I highly, highly recommend it.
     Our next stop was Stockyard City, the city's cattle exchange. Famous for Cattlemen's Steakhouse, it was a no brainier to eat there. With an over 100 year history, they've been doing something right. George Bush Sr. deemed their t-bone the Presidential Steak and its been on the menu ever since. Wyatt decided to get one and it looked stellar. I opted for the club cut which was no slouch either. Pair it was a loaded baked potato and a salad and it was one of the best meals I've ever had.

     We walked around and Wyatt picked up a snazzy western shirt. We laughed at some of the goofy boots and ever harder at the prices. Unfortunately, many of the shops were closed but we got an eyeful through the windows. It wasn't as big of an attraction as we expected but still cool to see. 
     We loaded up and hit 66 again. The road was rough but it got us back to our cabin. We perused the gift shop and bought post cards to send home. Beer was still elusive but it didn't stop the good times from staying strong. We talked outside before turning in, the nearby interstate and sounds of the outdoors providing the perfect backdrop.

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