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Oklahoma to Home 6/25-28/2023

by Chris Guenzler

6/25/2023 The two travellers arose in McAlester and following our morning preparations, we checked out and went for breakfast at Angel's Diner. Afterwards, I drove us to Durant and followed Elizabeth's excellent directions to our first stop of the morning.

In Durant was Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railway post office/coach 376 "Pikes Peak" built by Budd Company in 1938 and rebuilt into a diner-lounge-dormitory car. We would then find the freight station.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas Durant freight house, now a hardware store. The Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad ran from Baxter Springs, Kansas and Muskogee, Oklahoma, to Dension, Texas. From Muskogee, the line travelled on a southerly route through the small towns of Calvin, Allen, Tupelo, Clarita, Bromide Junction, Wapanucka and Coleman on the west side of the present Oklahoma Route 48. At Coleman, the line turned southeast toward Durant, passing through the town of Kenefic. From Durant, the line continued south and east, crossing the Red River at Carpenter's Bluff Bridge, arriving in Denison from the east side of town.

From here I drove us to Denison, Texas across the Red River.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas Denison station built in 1879. It was the center of operations for the railroad until its merger with the Union Pacific Railroad on August 12, 1988. It now houses the Red River Rail Museum.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas F9A 401B, nee MKT F3A 203C built by Electro-Motive Division in 1947.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas caboose 1021 built by International Car in 1973.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas caboose 141 built by International Car in 1949.

Missouri Pacific transfer caboose 13731 built by the railroad in 1977.

Dover Chemical tank car 488 built by American Car and Foundry.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas gondola car 753.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas one dome tank car 6066, nee MKT 116066, builder and date unknown.

Equipment display here at the Red River Rail Museum in Denison.

Texas Historical Commission North South Railroad Connection sign. From here I drove us to Sherman.

St. Louis-Southwestern Sherman Depot plaque on the building.

St. Louis-Southwestern Sherman freight house built in 1888. We then drove to the other station.

Texas and Pacific Sherman station used by the Texas Northeastern Railroad, a shortline owned by Genessee and Wyoming.

Dallas, Garland and Northeastern Railroad 3GS21C 2001, ex. Dallas Garland and Northeastern SD20 2000, exx. Dallas Garland and Northeastern 1000, exxx. Central Oregon and Pacific 1000, exxxx. Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad 1000, exxxxx. llinois Central Gulf 2000; exxxxxx/ Illinois Central 2000, nee Union Pacific SD24B 400B, built by Electro-Motove Division in 1959.

We made our way to Gainesville and a surprise for Elizabeth.

The former Gulf Coast and Santa Fe, later Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, Gainesville station built in 1902 which housed a Harvey House Restaurant until 1931. The station saw no passenger rail service from December 5, 1979, when the last Amtrak Lone Star operated, until June 15, 1999, when the first Amtrak Heartland Flyer came through. The Santa Fe Railway deeded the depot to the city on October 19, 1981; however, its restoration was not completed until 2001.

Texas Historical Commision Santa Fe Gainesville Depot sign. I then drove us to Henrietta.

Gainesville, Henrietta and Western Railway station. The Gainesville, Henrietta and Western Railway was built in 1886 starting in Gainesville and progressing westward from there. It was responsible for the founding of a number of towns along its route, reaching the town of Saint Jo in 1887, and eventually Henrietta later that year. By 1900, the railroad had extended to Wichita Falls, using a rail line adjacent and parallel to the existing Fort Worth and Denver Railroad line. In May 1887, the Missouri Pacific Railroad assumed control of the GH&W.

Burlington Northern caboose, nee Fort Worth and Denver 172, built by International Car in 1979.

We stopped in Wichita Falls then headed onto Lubbock, where we went to Bob Evans for a much-needed meal before driving to the Best Western Lubbock Windsor Inn for the night.


Elizabeth and I started the day in the usual manner then checked out and went to the International House of Pancakes for a very good breakfast before I drove us to our first station of the day.

San Luis and Rio Grande coach 1547 "Eddie McMahan", ex. New Jersey Transit 5410, exx. Penn Central 1547, ex. Pennsylvania Railroad coach 1547, nee Pennsylvania Railroad 21 roomette sleeper 8428 "Cambridge Inn" built by Budd in 1949.

Santa Fe Wolfforth station built in 1925 and used by the Lubbock and Western Railway, which had previously been in Whiteface. The town was established in 1916 and developed as a railroad town when the Panhandle and Santa Fe Railway built through the area.

We continued on to Dimmit.

Fort Worth & Denver South Plains Railway station. We made our way to Clovis where we stopped for petrol then started to parallel the BNSF manline.

BNSF trains on the way along US 60 to US 64 to Interstate 40, where we switched drivers and Elizabeth drove to West Albuquerque, where we had linner at Jersey Mike's. I then resumed driving, taking us the rest of the way to Grants, where we checked into the Quailty Inn for the night.

5/27/2023 We arose and following our morning preparations, checked out and drove to Denny's for breakfast then started the day's westward drive on Interstate 40 out to Prewitt, where we set up for pictures.

A coal train waiting for the passage of the Southwest Chief.

BNSF 3784 West, a crude oil train, came by our photo location, with BNSF DPU's 8010 and 7816.

The eastbound Southwest Chief, Amtrak Train 4, came through Prewitt half an hour late. I drove us to Flagstaff then Elizabeth drove to the highway bridge on Route 66 at Crookton and we pulled off, hoping for a westbound train. After an hour's wait our hopes were realized.

BNSF 4117 West. We then drove to Kingman and went to the Black Bear Diner for another fantastic dinner before going to the Ramada Inn where we checked in for the night. Elizabeth was not a happy camper at this hotel, the main reason being her first impression when driving into the parking lot was that the walls were covered with graffiti. In reality, it was paintings and Route 66-related images. Neither of us knew this when making our reservation and we would not stay here again.

Ramada Inn Kingman.

The front area of this motel.

Conoco Gasoline.

Route 66 Drive-In Theater cartoons.

John Wayne on the left side of the picture.

Jerry Lewis as the Bellboy with Phyllis Diller and Frank Lewis.

Jimmy Stewart, Doris Day and Marlon Brando.

Elizabeth Taylor and Andy Devine.

Superman, Get Smart and the Smothers Brothers.

Charltib Heston, Rita Hayworth and Louis Armstrong.

Smothers Brothers, Elvis Presley, Ed Sullivan and an unidentified character.

James Dean.

Canyon 66 Restaurant and Lounge.

Tonto and Zorro's horse Tornado.

A lion out front.

Lee Marvin and Houdini.

Canyon 66 Restaurant and Lounge sign out front of this motel.

Get your kicks on Route 66.

Clint Eastwood.

Marilyn Monroe.

Nothing can stop the Blob.

Route 66 Ramada Kingman, AZ.


Route 66 Restaurant and Lounge.

Motorcycle Parking.

Evil Knievel.

Live Music and Live DJ with Rodney Dangerfield.

The Mirage.

Get your kicks on Route 66.

Route 66 locations.

Missouri Route 66.

Texas Route 66.

Oscar Meyer Weinermobile Route 66.

A full wall of art work.

Gas Route 66.

St. Louis Arch Route 66.

Pink Cadillac.

Housekeeping Happy Maids.

Psycho Movie.

29,736 Physicians says "Luckies".

Three Stooges Auto Repair.

If it is'nt broken, don't fix it!

Philup D. Tenk manager.

Gas Route 66.

Mona Lisa on a motorcyle.

Guest Laundry.

Vincent van Gogh replica painting.

Arizona Route 66.

Rest and Enjoy, so cool you got a, room at the, world famous, Kingman Ramada, Burma Shave!

Indian Motorcycle since 1901.

Ma and Pa Kettle.


Route 66 Yippy Kye Yay!

Kingman, Arizona.

James Dean on a motorcycle.

Flying A Gasoline. I went into the restaurant.

A motorcycle.

Canyon 66 Restaurant and Lounge.

Ramada Kingman painting.

Charlie Chaplin.

Route 66 painting.

United States Flag and motorcycle.

Johnny Cash.

Live to ride. Ride to Live.

Canyon 66 Restaurant and Lounge.

Four branches of the United States Military.

Route 66.

A car in a corner of the restaurant.

Harley Davidson since Day One. I went back outside.

Andrews Sisters.

Points along Route 66.

Godzillaa Crossing.

Chuck Berry.

Elvis Presley.

Andrews Sisters.

Great painting.

Chicago Skyline Route 66.

Can't Stop.

Santa Monica end of Route 66.

California Route 66.

Creature from the Black Lagoon.

A fake elevator.

Indian Pueblo New Mexico.

Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Plan B from Outer Space.

Judy Garland Wizard of Oz.

Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable.

More Doctors smoke camels.

Oaklahoma Route 66.

Flaming escalators.

Elvis Presley.

John Wayne.

Burma Shave Route 66.

Arizona road signs.


The Monstermobile

The Batmombile.

Spread your legs.

Kansas Route 66 Main Street of America.

Harley Davidson Motorcycle.

The last picture of the night. I came back to the room, had a shower and called it a night.

6/28/2023 Elizabeth and I arose and after our final morning preparations of the trip, we checked out then went to Cracker Barrel for the the last excellent breakfast. After a great meal I drove us west on Interstate 40 to US 85 to Lake Havasu City and the first stop of the day.

London Bridge

We drove across the bridge and parked in a lot then walked then to the target of our desire.

Early History of The London Bridge

For nearly 2,000 years, a series of bridges has spanned the River Thames in London. The "Old" London Bridge of nursery rhyme fame was a stone bridge built by Peter of Colechurch, an architect and priest, between 1176 and 1209. It replaced various wooden bridges built by the Roman founders of London from AD 50–1176.

Olaf II of Norway, King of Norway from 1015 to 1028, led military campaigns to unite Norway into one kingdom. One of these campaigns was a sea-based attack in 1014 that pulled down one of the wooden bridges. Two other wooden bridges were built and subsequently destroyed during this turbulent time in England's early history.

Due to uneven construction, the bridge required frequent repairs yet survived more than 600 years.

One of the more grisly periods of the bridge's history was at the southern gateway between 1305 and 1660. There it was customary to display the severed heads of traitors, impaled on pikes and dipped in tar to preserve them against the elements. The head of William Wallace, a Scottish knight and landowner who led the Wars for Scottish Independence, was the first to appear on the gate. Other famous heads on pikes included those of Jack Cade in 1450, Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher in 1535, and Thomas Cromwell in 1540. A German visitor to London in 1598 counted over 30 heads on the bridge. The practice was finally stopped in 1660, following the Restoration of King Charles II.

By the end of the 18th century, the old London Bridge needed to be replaced. It had fallen into severe disrepair and was blocking river traffic. Designed in 1799 by Scottish engineer John Rennie, who died before his design was approved, the "New" London Bridge was dedicated on August 1, 1831.

Due to the weight of the automobile traffic crossing the bridge in the early 20th Century, it began sinking into the River Thames at the rate of an inch every eight years. By 1924, the east side of the bridge was some three to four inches lower than the west side.

The London Bridge in Lake Havasu City

In the 1960's, Robert P. McCulloch, Senior, an inventor and entrepreneur who had great success in the boat motor and chainsaw markets. In need of a body of water to test the motors, McCulloch moved his company from land-locked eastern California to the Lake Havasu area. He purchased a 26-square-mile parcel of raw desert along the lake's eastern shore.

McCulloch wanted to grow his tiny company town into a thriving city and tourist destination. His friend Cornelius Vanderbilt "C.V." Wood, who was known for designing Disneyland, planned and developed the new community. A vigorous marketing campaign in the freezing Midwest drove sales of residential lots in the sunny desert.

In 1967, the City of London was looking for someone to buy the defunct and dismantled bridge. Oddly enough, McCulloch had a hunch that this iconic piece of British history would drive growth in Lake Havasu City.

McCulloch placed the winning bid of $2.4 million on April 18, 1968 (over $17 million in today's dollars). McCulloch arrived at this figure by doubling the estimated cost of dismantling the structure ($1.2 million), bringing the price to $2.4 million. He then added on $60,000, a thousand dollars for each year of his age.

News of the purchase brought McCulloch's tiny town to the world's attention. Contrary to popular belief, McCulloch was not under the impression that he was purchasing the Tower Bridge of London.

The purchase included ornate lampposts made from the melted-down cannons captured by the British from Napoleon's army, after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Overlooking the Bridgewater Channel, these lampposts line the London Bridge today.

After it was dismantled, each of its 10,276 exterior granite blocks from the original bridge was shipped to Lake Havasu City. Each block was numbered before the bridge was disassembled.

The blocks were shipped overseas through the Panama Canal to California and trucked from Long Beach to Arizona. The shipping and assembly of the bridge, and dredging of a man-made channel underneath, cost $7 million. The inside of the bridge is hollow because it was rebuilt with a steel framework faced with granite. This reduced its weight from 130,000 tons to 30,000 tons, while strengthening the structure in order to accommodate auto traffic. After three years of reconstruction, Lake Havasu City rededicated the bridge in an extravagant ceremony held on October 10, 1971.

To welcome visitors and support the sale of residential lots in the new city, McCulloch Properties also built the English Village: an open-air mall to the north of the London Bridge.

The London Bridge Today

On October 20, 2018, Lake Havasu City celebrated the 50th anniversary of the purchase of the London Bridge. The celebration included the 690th Right Honourable Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Charles Bowman, and a proclamation by Arizona Governor Douglas A. Ducey. The celebration closed with a traditional sheep crossing over the London Bridge, with sheep from the La Paz County/Colorado River Indian Tribe 4H Youth Program.

In October 2021, a month-long celebration commemorated the 50th anniversary of the London Bridge's dedication in Lake Havasu City. Over 300 media outlets worldwide featured the kick-off event for the celebration.

McCulloch's hunch paid off in spades. Today the historic and, some say, haunted bridge is the most-visited built attraction in Arizona. Attracting visitors from around the world, its many fans include photographers, filmmakers, travel writers, history buffs, boaters, kayakers, paddle boarders and music lovers at live concerts under its acoustical arches. Lake Havasu City is currently home to over 57,000 residents and a major driving force for tourism and industry in the region.

Our Visit

Looking east across the London Bridge.

Four views of this incredible bridge.

The sign on the bridge.

One of the ornate lampposts.

British and American flags above the bridge.

History of the London Bridge.

Another plaque on this bridge.

The east end has American, British and Arizona flags.

Elizabeth and the ornate lampposts.

The view towards the Colorado River.

Two of the lampposts on this structure. We walked back to the car then I drove us to Parker.

Arizona and California Railroad B40-8 4014, ex. General Eletric Transportation Services 5950, exx. CSX 5950, nee Conrail 5060, built by General Electric in 1988.

We crossed back into California, taking California Highway 62 and I drove to Morongo Valley where we switched drivers. Elizabeth drove us to Interstate 10, then California Highway 60, to Interstate 215 to California Highway 91, to California Highway 55 then off at Chapman Avenue to our post office where we picked up our mail then home to our apartment, ending another fantastic railfan adventure. At the culmination of our journey which started May 26th and ended June 28th, we had driven a total of 8,775.0 miles.