Day 31: Waiting on the Sun in Northeast OK

Yes, another weather-challenged day here.  Aggravating rain all day until around 3pm.  I thought for a moment there that the clouds might part and I’d get some sun.  But that only lasted about five seconds.  So, I’m futzing around in the northern nether regions of Oklahoma since I think I’m slightly ahead of schedule.   I even did a few Kansas stops today that I had to skip last summer when I was running short on time.  I figure Tulsa will probably take me two days tops, and then the rest of OK northeast of Tulsa about two days.  I have five days before I really need to split and hit the interstate for home.  So I’m trying to be patient so I can do Tulsa right — with sun.  And leave you all with a bunch of pretty pictures that will make you want to book your next vacation in Oklahoma of all places.

Got the dogs some grassy fields today.  I’ve had wet socks and shoes most of the day to prove it.  I think I’m out of clean socks at this point.  No time for laundry.  Still have underwear and tshirts and that’s what matters, right?  Nik took off under a barbed wire fence for some chickens squawking in the distance — somehow, miraculously, he came back to me before there was some horrific scene and possible lawsuit.  Grem was luckily on leash at the time.  Otherwise, it would’ve been a disaster as they are some dynamic duo when given the opportunity to work together.  Fixie watches from the van most of the time because she doesn’t like getting wet.  And Grip is getting a big Mr. Magoo-ish — wandering off and either not hearing me calling her back or pretending not to.  So I always have to keep one eye on her and usually go pick her up and bring her back to our area.

Time for the show.  Let’s start with Blackwell, OK.  This sign would be more fun and not so dreary if… you know… there was SUN.  Yes, I’m getting kinda pissy about it:

From Anthony, KS — I don’t know if sun would help this one.  Some paint perhaps:

Also from Anthony, the remains of their drive-in:

Back in OK for the remainder of this blog post.  This sign from Ponca City.  The dealership gone — a vacuum store below now:

In Pawnee — the building is vacant now.  Shoot ’em while you can folks — this one will likely disappear soon:

Jim’s Place in Barnsdall — a cute cottage station surrounded by a big gas station sign collection & some other stuff.

This is one incredible sign:

And I don’t know how old the Indian at this place is — but I love his expression:

Let’s jump ahead to Bartlesville where the dogs and I are calling it quits tonight.  This place has been closed for years but the sign is still in place.  The top part used to revolve.  Now, moves partially in the wind:

Late in the day, and shadowed by the building — this sign is really a deep navy blue.  Another business gone but the sign miraculously in place.  Jay’s Automotive is now in the space:

How about some mid-century stuff in Bartlesville.  A cool little building.  I have no idea what it housed originally:

A little strip mall:

I’m fantasizing that the sun will return tomorrow morning and I’ll be able to reshoot all the Bartlesville stuff.  And then zip on into Tulsa… with some caution.  I forgot to mention that I got a ticket yesterday in Hennessey, OK.  A total speed trap as I saw someone else get busted not even a minute after the cop was done with me.  It really seemed so like most of the highway-ish roads — not in town yet — which are 60 or 65.  This was 45 and I never even saw the sign.  So he showed mercy and made my 65 speed into 55 on the ticket.  But it was still $169 — a buck cheaper than my Texas ticket.  So now I have one expensive souvenir from each state.  Magnets or beer cozies would be nice, but hey, in the end, I’d rather have more photos.

12 thoughts on “Day 31: Waiting on the Sun in Northeast OK

  1. Love that Comanche Center sign and storefront. I’m looking forward to your take on Tulsa. We’ve got sun forecast for Thursday.

    • I’ve been to Tulsa before — pretty thoroughly — so about 90% of what I’ll be shooting is actually reshooting. So I don’t know that I’ll have a virgin “take” on the city or anything. I’ve been here about half the day and the one thing I will say is there are a LOT of crazy, fast, bad drivers. And I mean all three in one person which is very scary to be around. I’m hanging back and letting them make the moves. They also turn very, very slow — like creep down to 4mph because they are only driving with one hand (the other holding the cell phone). Generally, things have changed a LOT, more development, than when I was here maybe 5 years ago. I’m in the area around the Brook Theatre now and barely recognize it.

      I don’t know how I’ll stick it out til Thursday for the sun. Maybe if tomorrow is crappy I’ll go northeast and then come back for Tulsa. Seems crazy. I’m a very impatient person. But I hate taking dozens of photos that look like crap and will only need to be redone.

      The Comanche Center sign might not be around in a few years. Lots of new development going around (esp. south of town). That strip mall is only about half full with businesses. When somebody eventually buys the property, I’m sure they’ll want to either rebuild or completely “modernize” and the sign & cool bldg will be gone. It is sort of a wackily designed bunch of stores — almost feels like they are facing backwards with a skinny drive-way in. So there would need to be clearer signage for new, higher-class businesses to want to move there.

  2. Looks like the Indian is thinking: “Where the hell is the sun? Debra Jane will be pissed.”

    I think you’ve been lucky that one of your speeding ticket cops didn’t nail you for no safety belt, too.
    Oh, DJ.

    The Poncan Theatre building certainly is attractive but I prefer the look from the late 1930’s . Still, glad it still looks so good & is open.

    Any DINOS are welcome anytime.

    Probably no Mid-Century here but cool none the less:

    Lets get on with the sun, shall we? Jeez.

    • Debra Jane IS pissed! A promising day turned into a suckfest — ending with all too familiar thunderstorms. No hail yet (as they promised) but I’m waiting on that next.

      I’ve gotten TWO no-seatbelt tickets in NY. One a block from my apartment when I was looking for a parking spot. The cops in NYC LOVE to give those kinds of tickets. It really makes their day. They feel so cocky and powerful. They always say there’s no quota — but there has been evidence of late. Somebody found the minutes of a meeting or something.

      Toothpicks, balls of twine, all that — not my thing.

    • Mr. Sun teased me a bit — then abandoned me. I don’t know if I’m more depressed or just plain pissed. I love Mr. Limey. At least I got a sunny photo of him before I left Bartlesville. Most collectors want neon — not corrugated plastic so I’m worried what will become of him.

  3. The building with a steeple on the roof may indeed have been a restaurant, as you thought. That’s very similar to the old Howard Johnson’s restaurants, even the plain rectangular building. I have a 1955 atlas with a list of them, and it shows one at 5934 East Admiral Place, Tulsa, OK. Does that match?

    • I don’t think that building was ever a Howard Johnson’s. I’m pretty familiar with their designs. This building is located at 8125 East Skelly Drive at Memorial.

  4. Great job, as usual. Your website is awesome. I love all the art deco and mid-century modern architecture in Oklahoma. It seems those were boom-times for the oil industry there. I am currently working in Memphis and I have seen a few amazing ’50’s era signs.

    • I haven’t even started adding the new Oklahoma stuff to my site. Working daily on the TX photos though (you can keep tabs at the What’s New page). You must go sit in Joe’s Liquors parking lot at night to watch the Roto-Sphere like Elvis supposedly did. Glad you’re enjoying my blog and website. Another big trip coming up at the end of July.

      • I saw the “roto-sphere” and almost slammed on my brakes. It was the largest, coolest “Sputniky” sign I have ever seen. Are there many more like it around?

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