Road Trip to Texas Trans Ams 2004
By Alex Manz
 - Page 1

Question…what’s the coolest way to get from Ohio to Texas? Route 66 of course. Except that legendary highway doesn’t actually go through any part of Ohio, and nowhere near Dallas-Ft. Worth. But it does go from Tulsa to Oklahoma City, and that’s on the way to DFW…hell yeah!
A very narrow iron bridge on Route 66 with red brick decking. Hey, that sounds safe…
And who should go with me on this trip to TXTA? How about my good neighbor and friend, Dan Bauer who collects and restores old gas pumps and also owns a ’34 Chevy Master Town Sedan 2 door with 27k miles on its odometer…who else?
And what vehicle should we take on this trip? How about “Ruby the Deerslayer”, the 1995 Geo Prizm that is responsible for the deaths of 3 deer…of course. Was there a strong possibility of running into deer on this trip? You bet. Was Ruby capable of cruising at 80-85mph while achieving 32-34 mpg? Uh huh. Would that help save some of the earth’s precious fossil fuels for us to waste in our gas-guzzling, environmentally unfriendly 400 Pontiacs? Hell yeah!

So on Thursday Nov. 4, 2004 at 0530 hours, Dan and I were off on a guy adventure (euphemism for “getting away from the wives”) to TXTA. The ‘70s CDs, road food, jumbo coffee cups, cheap sunglasses, cigars, Old Style and Upper Canada Lager beers, and numerous boxes full of rare NOS parts (for the resto of my ’79 Formula 400) had been loaded and we hit I-70 on the east side of Columbus with a vengeance. Aside from brief stops in Indy and St. Louis, it was a pretty fast trip to Tulsa (832 miles the first day). We stopped at my sister Marji’s house in Tulsa for an hour and then hit the hay for 7 hours of dead sleep.
Dan really wanted to see Rt. 66, so we took our time on Friday morning to drive the longest remaining stretch…105 miles from Tulsa to Okla. City. It branches off from I-44 on the west side of the city and immediately goes through the large town of Sapulpa (pop. 19,000). It’s difficult to imagine that thousands of semis and cars rolled through the town every day from the ‘20s through the late-‘60s (when I-44 was completed). Okies are not real keen on tearing down old gas stations, motels and restaurants, so a large number of them still survive. West of Sapulpa there is an exit sign on the highway that says “Old Route 66”. Take it and you’ll find yourself on one of the earliest sections of the original 1925 highway.  

Sounds like the perfect time for a “TXTA History Lesson” (to avoid boredom please skip to next paragraph). Way back in the Roaring ‘20s a Tulsa businessman named Cyrus Avery devised a plan to link Chicago with Los Angeles with a new U.S. highway. The new highway was named “Route 66” and was unusual in one key respect from other U.S. highways of the day…it ran diagonally instead of the typical E-W or N-S configurations. It became an immediate hit with the motoring public, especially with cold northerners looking for jobs in the warm western states during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Author John Steinbeck named it “The Mother Road” and immortalized it in his book “The Grapes of Wrath”. It has become a symbol of the American spirit of hitting the open road and wandering to a new and better place behind the wheel of a beautiful automobile.

A 1925 viaduct along Route 66.
The first stretches of Route 66 made wild turns as they followed the land’s contours.
Riveted iron girders support this old bridge on the original stretch of Route 66.
Another view of an old iron bridge on the original stretch of Route 66.

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"Restoring Old Dreams"

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Fort Worth, TX  76140

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