Day 19: Tulsa tough

Fort Smith, AR to Tulsa, OK

Sunday morning, Fort Smith

I found a hipster coffee shop, Fort Smith Coffee Co. It’s in a former gas station, in a lovely reuse.

Fort Smith Coffee Co. (originally a gas station)

Left Fort Smith. Entered Oklahoma and stopped at the state welcome center.

Chair with “Oklahoma” fabric, state welcome center, Sallisaw, OK

It had concrete tepees with picnic tables in them and a roof over them. I stopped to eat a peanut butter sandwich. Very cozy being outside and inside at once.

Concrete tepees, state welcome center, Sallisaw, OK

Got to Tulsa and checked into the Tulsa Club Hotel, a former gentleman’s club built in 1926. The building closed in 1994, was renovated, and opened as a hotel on May 1, 2019, less than six weeks ago.

Lobby bar, Tulsa Club Hotel, Tulsa
Lobby, Tulsa Club Hotel, Tulsa

The renovation job is beautiful, but the pictures are a little misleading. The lobby is very small, not befitting the lobby of a grand hotel.

I tried Tulsa’s bike share system. Got a bike and rode it around deserted downtown. Decided to ride down to the paths by the river. When I got close to the river, there were signs something was up – police barricades, lots of people. Turns out it was a three-day “cycling festival” called Tulsa Tough. When I arrived there was a race going on (Grand Prix-style, through the streets) and a huge street party.

Street party for Tulsa Tough race
The flooded Arkansas River, Tulsa

I pressed on to Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza. It’s a tribute to Route 66 and to Avery, the road’s main creator and proponent, at the point where the route crossed the Arkansas River after passing through Tulsa. In Oklahoma they strongly embrace Route 66 and its mythos. There are plans for the plaza that include a visitor center and restaurants.

Cyrus Avery Memorial Bridge (Arkansas River bridge, former Route 66). Built 1915, now closed

Wound up at a casual joint called Open Container for dinner. It has outdoor covered seating. The place has enormous charm and the food is great. It’s located in the Boxyard, a mini-shopping center made out of shipping containers. Loving my trip.

Downtown Tulsa from Open Container
Open Container, Tulsa
The Boxyard, Tulsa

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