Not finding any $10 bills floating around the old gas station ruins, we headed west to Arcadia and a famous round, red barn which promised some shopping for Youngest-daughter. She hadn't purchased anything for more than a day and she is so concerned about the country's financial problems, you know. She was just itching to help the economy.
|That is one, big, red, round barn!|
|Wash tub "swimming pool"|
|Exposed ceiling inside the big red barn.|
|Youngest-daughter in front |
|I have no idea where they get some of |
these drinks, but they are very cool!
We soon ran into the suburbs of Oklahoma City - housing developments, road construction, strip shopping malls, and the beginning of rush hour traffic. There are few remnants of pre-1953 Route 66 in Oklahoma City and given my aversion to the hustle and bustle and overcrowdedness of large cities, this is the one spot where we deliberately veered away from the route and took the freeway to get through as quickly as possible. Thankfully, we were jut ahead of the stop-and-go traffic of everyone trying to get home from work and it didn't take all that long to get to the small town of Bethany, another suburb of Oklahoma City, where we rejoined Route 66.
There are many stories of ghosts and haunted places on Route 66, but passing through Yukon (boyhood home of Garth Brooks), we came upon what is reputedly the most haunted stretch of the old highway, from El Reno to Fort Reno and on to Hydro. Fort Reno was built in 1874 and it's soldiers helped suppress the Indians, escorted cattle drives through the area, and guarded 1,335 German prisoners of war (they had been part of Rommel's forces captured in North Africa) as well as a few Italian prisoners during WW II. It also served as a Quartermaster re-mount depot until 1947. Horses continued to be raised and trained here even after 1947. Black Jack, the riderless horse used for President John F. Kennedy's funeral was born and raised at Fort Reno. The facility is now used as a grazing lands research center, owned by the government, with some of the buildings, but not all, restored for tourists.
|Entrance to Fort Reno|
There are other buildings on the grounds; buildings locked up tight so nobody can enter them due to their unsafe floors. There is still furniture in some of the rooms and the guides say the furniture is often moved around, but the locks remain undisturbed and there are no footprints in the dust on the floors. There is the story of the flickering light sometimes seen floating around the grounds. It appears to be flames moving from one location to another that quickly disappear whenever someone brave enough tries to approach. Some think it is the ghost of poor Hans Seifert, a prisoner of war who accidentally set himself ablaze while trying to light a natural gas stove just the night before he was to be released and sent back home after the war. He died trying to run away from the inferno that engulfed him. And then there is the documented story of the post's minister's funeral. His horse-drawn hearse was carrying his body to the cemetery when a bolt of lightning struck it, killing one of the 4 horses pulling it. Another horse was brought up and hitched to the hearse, but before arriving at the cemetery, another bolt of lightning struck the hearse, killing another horse and causing the hearse itself to begin smoldering. Men in the procession, as quickly as they could, hand-carried the coffin and the body of the minister the rest of the way to the cemetery, threw him into the hole and ran back to the safety of their barracks, quickly passing right by the still smoldering hearse with the dead horse laying beside it.
We didn't see or hear any ghosts and we made it through without incident. I was hoping to maybe feel a ghostly tapping on my shoulder, but Youngest-daughter was fine with our lack of a paranormal experience. Maybe we would have better luck at our next stop, Hydro, and the apparition that appears to be an elderly humped back man doomed to walk the Mother Road forever.
Go to the first Route 66 entry here.
Or go to the first entry of each state: