Earlier I shared some roadside attractions for Oklahoma City. That was just part of the trip. Here is a look at some of the other roadside attractions in the surrounding OKC area.
The Blue Hippo – Edmond, OK
He’s known as “Buddy,” and no one seems to know where he came from or who created him.
According to edmondoutlook.com. “He goes back 30 years. ‘I was told that he once belonged to an aquatic center that went out of business… Water used to shoot out of that box the hippo’s holding.’”
Bud Fisher bought the hippo when he purchased a construction company in 1991, he found the hippo in several pieces. After putting him back together, he put the happy hippo on display in front of his store.
He is made from fiberglass and pranksters use to move him all over his hometown of Edmond.
At some point his base was filled with concrete and he doesn’t get around as much as he used to.
Buddy is part of the Edmond Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s list of Public Art.
Chief Touch the Clouds – Edmond, OK
The statue is 18 feet tall (not including the base) and the arms stretch out 15 feet across. The 20,300-pound sculpture by Dave McGary was purchased by Edmond from the Houston Livestock Rodeo Association. The statue used to sit in front of the Astrodome. It was going to be demolished until the city bought it and moved it to the University of Central Oklahoma.
Touch the Clouds was born in 1838, the son of the Lakota Sioux chief Lone Horn. In 1875 he became the chief of the Lakota after his father’s death, leading the Lakota during the Great Sioux War. Touch the Clouds was present as his cousin, Crazy Horse, died in his bed. Touch the Clouds was forced into the Cheyenne Riverside Indian Reservation of South Dakota, where he died in 1905.
The Yellow Ribbon Monument – Edmond, OK
Roadside America describes this as the “Going Postal” monument, which is not funny. This memorial, named “The Yellow Ribbon” honors those killed or injured in a mass shooting.
On August 20, 1986, an employee at the Edmond Post Office killed one of his supervisors then walked around the facility shooting his co-workers. In less than 15 minutes he shot 20 of them, killing 14, before turning the gun on himself. This is when and why the phrase, “going postal” was created.
The memorial, created by sculptor Richard Muno, features the statue surrounded by 14 water jets and the names of each victim.
Pop’s – Arcadia, OK
Dedicated to all the fun of Route 66, this has become a modern icon of the mother road since it’s opening in 2007. Besides the huge selection of bottled sodas, the highlight is a 66 foot tall pop bottle in front of the building. The pics don’t do the 40 ton art piece justice, as its much more impressive at night when it lights up. Meanwhile back inside is an old school diner and a shopping collection of around 700 flavors of soda pop, that includes about 80 different root beers.
I always love stopping at this place. We did not buy any sodas; we did buy a couple of waters. They have a section of gross flavors like Butter, Maple Syrup and Pancakes, and Kitty Pee. PASS! Still a nice place to stop. The bathrooms are always clean. I bought a Pop’s shot glass. I can’t believe I never picked one up before. I added it to my collection of over 3,000 shot glasses. That’s not a typo, that’s an addiction.
Eskimo Joe’s – Stillwater, OK
Another great tradition: good food, cold beer, and a lot of merchandise. This roadside eatery has been serving college students and alums since 1975. It was only a bar until the drinking age went from 18 to 21. That’s when they added the restaurant.
The famous icon Eskimo Joe is usually seen with his dog, Buffy, both created by an art student at OSU.
This is the Oklahoma equivalent of the Hard Rock Café. I have never bought a shirt there, but I usually get a shot glass with each visit. They have a wide selection of shots. Here’s a short rant from me. Tourist places need to have more than one version of everything. Nothing worse than going to a museum and seeing the same exact shot glass you bought there ten years ago. Rant over. Jeremy and I like their stadium cups, we use them all the time. It has been a few years since our last visit, so we stocked up on a variety of colored cups.
First Sonic Sign
This was a fun stop. I love the foot longs at Sonic. They have been one of my favorites since I was a little kid. The business was started in 1953 by Troy N. Smith Jr., the drive-in was then known as Top Hat. The name was changed to Sonic in 1959. Their slogan was, “Service with the speed of sound.” This was the first location to change its name. Next to the sign is a statue of Gene Longworth, the first manager of the Sonic.
Smith built a franchise empire with 3,600 restaurants across the country. He stepped down from running the business in 1983 but remained on the board until 2007. He passed away on October 26, 2009 from Alzheimer’s.
So, my favorite story about Sonic happened when I worked in L.A. I traveled a lot with several great people. They, and I say this lovingly, were L.A. people. Healthy, trendy, and sometimes a little high maintenance. So, we were in Austin, Texas to run an audition. There was a Sonic across the street from the bar where we were holding the auditions. I was excited because at that time I don’t think Sonic was in Southern California. I told the ladies I am going there to get lunch and asked if anyone wanted anything. They all turned up their noses at the greasy fast food. I got my usual: an extra-long Coney with cheese, chili cheese tater tots and a cherry limeade. I returned to the bar with my food. The ladies could smell it, asked for a bite, which of course I agreed. Within an hour, they had all gone across the street to get food. They kept saying, this is so good… and I was like, I know, right?