ArcadiaCommunityDeep Fork DistrictSubmitted ArticleTourismTravel

Ramblin’ Joe: Route 66 Car Dreams and Songs About You

Bison Blinds

How are y’all? Sure hope everyone is being careful and staying ahead of the latest version of the Coronavirus. If you aren’t 100% heads-up, it might just GIT ya.

Man, it’s a beautiful day! It’s one of those January Oklahoma jewels. 65 degrees, light wind, high blue skies. Mrs. Baxter has a tendency to open a few windows on days like this and exchange that stale house air with some
fresh prairie breeze. A-CHOO! Days like this tickle my traveling bone. I think I’ve mentioned it before; Route #66 is great in the winter because you can see everything, and there’s usually less traffic between the towns. Puts me in mind of some of the great old cars and trucks I’ve had occasion to drive up and down Route 66 over the years. One of my guilty pleasures is surfing vintage vehicle websites. It’s surprising how many of those old cars and trucks
were part of my Route #66 experience. It’s shocking how much those old cars and trucks are worth in the 21st Century.

My first 66 road trip car was that old 1959 Chevy Biscayne that my dad bought from my grandma and sold to me for $150. My grandparents likely bought that car new from Carter Chevrolet in Okarche, or it could have been from the El Reno Chevy dealer. It was that perfect Red Dirt color, probably what Chevrolet called its “Gothic Gold” option in 1959. You old folks remember that color. A sort of red-bronze that curiously matched the red mud-and-gypsum roads that surrounded (still do) the Big B Ranch. No doubt that particular color was chosen on purpose. Grandma called her “Nellie”. I drove that thing from I-35 to Tulsa, and back. It was a great leap of faith; one that I doubt I’d have the moxie to attempt these days. On that trip, it used a tank of gas (around 12$) and a quart and a half of oil. The tires were balder than your Uncle Ralph. Great old car. Being a pre-I-40 car, that old Chevrolet also made a bunch of trips west on Old #66 over its lifetime.

I am interested in everybody’s favorite Route 66 car.
What did you drive on 66 back in The Day?

Ramblin’ Joe

The fastest car I ever drove on #66 was an old Plymouth GTX. That car was fast. It didn’t belong to me, but I got to drive it. I would NEVER break any traffic laws. Who, me? Heaven forbid! Let’s just say that we shaved 20 minutes off the Tulsa run, easy-peasy. I am interested in everybody’s FAVORITE Route #66 Car. What did YOU drive on #66 back in The Day?

I’ve driven VW’s, Impalas, Mustangs, Pickups – Chevys, Fords, Dodges, International, Lincolns, Chargers, Dusters, Cadillacs, Pontiacs, Buicks, Ramblers, Datsuns, Toyotas, a Renault, and even an old Checker cab. My favorite all-time Route 66 vehicle was that 1959 Biscayne. It was summer, and I was just a kid. I was feeling my freedom and heeding the call of the open road (and the prospect of a new girlfriend up in Sapulpa, but that’s another story.) It wasn’t the BEST car I ever drove on #66, but those were sure the best of times. I don’t think it ever got any better … How could it?

These days, I drive a little Honda hot rod. I bought it because it’s fast, fun to drive, and it gets 40 mpg. I call her “Alice” because she was assembled in England. She’s a fast girl. Alice LOVES Route 66. C’mon, race me! I would love to hear from folks about their own favorite Route #66 (or other back roads) cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

Things are peaceful around the Baxter house. We are enjoying the cooler weather and looking forward to Spring and a fun 2022. Jean took our dog, “Little Stinky” for his regular de-smelling. That’s a good thing. He was reaching critical mass.

I’ve been having fun making the run back and forth to Arcadia to work at the Arcadia Round Barn and play music. Speaking of music – I’m making plans for the year. Y’all better come see me play. How else are you going to know whether or not I’m writing songs about you?

EDITOR’S NOTE. Joe Baxter is one of my favorite people. He loves music, the Round Barn, his wife Jean, a club sandwich from Farmstead Cafe, Route 66 and America (not in that order). A songwriter and musician, he has a way with words and can turn a phrase such that you want to listen, or in this case, read for a while. If you are one of his “face friends” on social media, you know he can get you thinking with his posts and musings. He’s letting us post them here on The Luther Register! We’re trying something new. Find Joe at the Arcadia Round Barn where he is the head conversation aficionado catching stories from Route 66 travelers from all over the world, and getting the band together eight days a week! Thanks Ramblin’ Joe! ENJOY! – dawn

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