The fifth day of the BMW CCA Celebrate BMW Tour has begun! We’re on our longest leg of the trip, running from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Albuquerque, New Mexico. But first, check out our progress and video blog from day four. For all the rest of the updates, click here!
Route 66, as we colloquially call the menagerie of roads that make up the route of the famous Main Street of America, is an interesting route in the modern day. Equal parts blissfully ironic and genuinely impressive, the road makes for a touching addition when you branch off the mammoth I-40 and I-44 and write yourself into the immense history of the Mother Road.
For us, it was a mixed journey. We departed the Crowne Plaza in St. Louis in the morning, and began our route by exiting the city by way of the GPS. As we got about two hours out (the indicated drive was seven and a half), and the road began to feel a little wrong. The major cross-country Interstates are impressive modern achievements, but occasionally the cross-country driver gets a glimpse of the staid two-lane road twenty or thirty feet off the side of the road. And soon enough, despite the protests of our GPS and the steadily-rising arrival time, we had to branch off.
A lot of the charm of Historic Route 66 lies in the decrepit, but we found ourselves welcomed everywhere we went by inquisitive locals, for whom these tourism- and travel-based towns are very much alive and well. We answered numerous questions about the car (and how much we’d tested the TwinPower Turbo six-cylinder, to which the answer wasn’t very exciting), and spent ample time stopping at any small gem that looked cool.
As the day ticked by the temperature climbed, we decided to jump back on the major highway and rely on our Michelin travel guides for the highlights. To two first-time Route 66 drivers, these were incredibly helpful and brought us almost first thing to the Will Rogers Memorial. Rogers, as it turns out, is one of the most famous figures associated with the road, and on a beautiful lush-green hill overlooking the quiet town of Claremore, Oklahoma, we took a few minutes to breath and take in the beauty of the state.
As the sun creeped down, we hit the road again for the final two hours into Oklahoma City, and the welcome air conditioning of our Crowne Plaza. Once plugged into the Wi-Fi, we took another moment to look at the city at night before getting to work on the day’s content. Oklahoma, it turned out, was a state of surprises.
Tomorrow is Texas and New Mexico as we inch forward to the BMW Vintage & Classic Car Club of America “Roads to Monterey” drive in Colorado, and after that Monterey Car Week. Onward and forward! —David Rose