Roadside Attraction: Catoosa Blue Whale

It’s been a glorious fall day here.  I took Miley for a quick run around the neighborhood this morning after teaching a beginner’s yoga class at Foolish Things Coffee.  I’m staying inspired by my clients and nature today.  In just a few minutes, after this blog is posted, I’ll be on the road for the first time to Memphis from Tulsa.  I’m really looking forward to seeing some new parts of this region, visiting some sweet friends once I’m there and bringing home a fun toy for the studio 🙂 Stay tuned!

 

Last week, I ventured outside of Tulsa for a little Oklahoma field trip.  Other than the small town stops along my route from Austin to Tulsa, I haven’t been anywhere in Oklahoma except this town.  I went with my friend Ashley to see her husband’s band – The Fabulous Minx – play at The Blue Whale.  Ash suggested it earlier in the week and proposed a picnic and concert evening.  How could I turn it down?

Catoosa is less than an hour east of Tulsa and the drive wasn’t bad at all.  Of course, I was just enjoying their company and Spotify playlists from the back seat but still, it didn’t seem to drag on.  We arrived at the Blue Whale, right off the side of the Route 66 road and parked in the gravel parking lot.  There were some other attractions there like a tamale stand and arc sculpture that weren’t open for us to explore.  But the whale was!

Welcome to the Blue Whale!

Welcome to the Blue Whale!

Ashley and I played on the whale while the boys set up stuff for the show.  She told me the tale of the whale, which I will now tell you.  Ol’ Blue is the name of the iconic whale that was built as an anniversary gift from a man to his wife.  Hugh S. Davis was his name and he owned the land with the pond on it.  For years people and kids played in the pond, using it to cool off in the hot Oklahoma summers.

Hugh was a fan of nature, having worked at the Tulsa Zoo before retirement.  In 1970, Hugh enlisted the help of his friend Harold (a welder) to construct the whale.  It took them 2 years and Harold helped out free of charge (that Okie spirit, I’m tellin’ you!).  Once the whale was complete, people just came to it.  They wanted to jump off the tail (much as I did) and slide off the fins.  The Blue Whale was closed for a while after Hugh died but has been a restoration project ever since.  It was a great backdrop to the concert!  Before the show started kids played and fished on the whale.  There were turtles, fish and snakes in the water but no one swam.  Ryan said people don’t really swim in the pond anymore (I certainly couldn’t have been persuaded, it was pretty murky and stagnant).

After sitting a bit on the tail with Ashley, we carefully climbed down and started our picnic with the rest of the bandmates and their wives.  It was a delicious homemade salad (recipe soon!) and beer.  I loved getting to hear the Minx play for the first time.  The girls and I lounged on the blanket looking at the stars and observing with (not sure exactly) what kind of emotion the underage kids smoking and drinking while their friends’ band played.  Once the Minx came on, we were up and dancing around to their rockabilly sound.  It was a great trip outside town and I can’t wait to see the Minx again.

If you ever find yourself outside Tulsa to the east, swing by Ol’ Blue for a free place to picnic and some funky history.

Whale tails

Whale tails

Time for Memphis!!

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