Bartlesville, Oklahoma

June 5, 2017

I traveled to Bartlesville, in northeast Oklahoma, for one reason – to spend the night.  Specifically to spend the night in Price Tower.


(Photo credit:

When I visited the home of Walmart headquarters in northwest Arkansas earlier in this trip I picked up maps and brochures for the area, one of which mentioned Price Tower.  Price Tower was designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  Those of you who have followed this blog for the past two years know of my mild obsession with Mr. Wright’s work.

Harold Price commissioned Mr. Wright to design an office building for his oil pipeline and chemical business based in Bartlesville.  Mr. Wright designed this 19-story tower.



The significance of the “66” in the first building photo is that Bartlesville was also the corporate headquarters for Phillips Petroleum, whose gasoline brand was Phillips 66 (a reference to Route 66).

I learned that Price Tower was subsequently sold to Phillips (which seems to own just about everything in Bartlesville) and a portion of it is now a hotel.  I broke my routine of staying primarily in Airbnb’s during my trips and booked a night here.

I stayed on the 8th floor and after checking in, took the elevator up to my floor.  This was, by far, the smallest elevator I have ever been in.  The only way I could think to convey this in a photo was to take a picture of my feet.


I didn’t check the “Cherie Berry” certificate to see what the maximum occupancy was but it can’t have been more than 3 or 4.  For those of you not living in North Carolina, that is a reference to our long-time Labor Secretary whose photo is in every elevator in the state (her department inspects elevators for safety and issues certificates with her photo and signature).

The common area to the hotels rooms on the 8th floor wasn’t exactly spacious either.


The room itself was nice.  An odd shape due to the footprint of the building, but well used space.




There was a large book on the desk in the room which explained the history of the building and included lots of photographs of it’s construction and how it appeared back in the day.  The building now has an art museum on the lower floors (I’d be leaving in the morning before they would be open), several floors of hotel rooms and several floors of offices.


This was the view from my room:


There is a restaurant and bar on the top floor but it was not open the one night of the week I happened to be there.  I was also very disappointed to find that another restaurant in town which has an excellent reputation, Murphy’s Original Steak House, was also closed, the sign on the door indicating that the closure was only temporary.  I walked around downtown in the early evening and ending up having a few slices of pizza.


Hallett Motor Racing Circuit

June 5, 2017

Today was a travel day as I’d say goodbye to Oklahoma City and drive about 2 1/2 hours northeast to the town of Bartlesville.  I could have taken the dreaded interstate and gone through Tulsa but saw on my map a road racing course I have heard of and decided to take some smaller roads and check it out.  I was in for a pleasant and totally unexpected surprise.

My GPS actually took me on a series of small roads right to the track, out in the boonies.  I saw a police car coming towards me from the other direction as I was approaching the entrance and it turned in towards the track as well.  I thought perhaps there had been a burglary or something as it was a Monday and I wouldn’t have expected there to be any racing taking place.  In fact I wasn’t even sure if the facility was still in use or be open.


Well, not only was it open but I almost drove across a “Hot” (in use) track….

The gate on the small entrance road was open and just before I would have crossed the racing surface to get into the infield two cars came screaming by, on the track!  I backed off to a safe place and got out of my car to observe.


If you look closely at the photo above you’ll see a white car on the left and a dark blue car in the center of the picture, just to the left of the open white gate.



Yes, those are police cars…


Lots of police cars….

After a while someone who works at the track drove out in a golf cart to see what I was up to.  He said it was perfectly fine for me to stay where I was and watch.  I suggested that they close the gate, or at least put a sign up advising people to stop before crossing the track.  Understandably since the track is so remote they really don’t get many “drop-ins”.

He explained that what I was seeing was official, high-speed training for Tulsa police officers.  They use this facility periodically to simulate high-speed pursuits in all conditions (day and night, in rain and snow and dry conditions).  I wasn’t in any particular hurry so I hung out for a while to watch.  At times they actually pursued a blue chase car, driven by a professional race instructor.  Sometimes the police cars turned on their lights and sirens to simulate the actual conditions for which they were training.

When I finally decided I had seen enough I caught this scene as I approached a bridge which passes over the highway the police were using to get to the facility.


All of those are Tulsa police cars (and more to the left of my road, getting off the exit ramp).  I guess maybe today would be a good day to rob a bank in Tulsa!

I didn’t.

If you had asked me before I left Oklahoma City this morning what I would have been seeing today, this wouldn’t have been on the list.



Tinker Air Force Base

June 4, 2017

My final full day in Oklahoma City I drove out to Tinker AFB, east of town.  They do not have a Visitor Center but did have a display of aircraft outside the Main Gate.






And a B-1 Bomber – too big to fit in one photo: