South Rim of the Grand Canyon Trip 2012 Trip Day 3

Monday May 28




Travel  393 miles today

The Blue Whale

The Blue Whale has become one of the most recognizable attractions on old Route 66 in Oklahoma. Hugh Davis built it in the early 1970s as an anniversary gift to his wife Zelta. The Blue Whale and its pond became a favorite stop and swimming hole for both locals and travelers alike. Hugh was an entrepreneur in the grand old tradition of those roadside attraction proprietors of old. Over the years his park became a destination in itself.

Catoosa Blue Whale


Arcadia and the
Round Barn
on Route 66

In the spring of 1898 William Harrison Odor, members of his family and his neighbors starting building a unique structure in the green countryside of Oklahoma. Little did they know at the time that the barn they were building would become a landmark on one of the most celebrated highways in America. This was the beginning of what would become know as Arcadia’s Round Barn. The circular form of the barn presented special problems, Odor figured that each rafter would have to be green lumber and soaked in water. The rafter was then shaped in a special jig to form the exact curve of the roof. Odor’s critics said the barn couldn’t be built, but he persevered to create the architectural wonder seen today. When the barn was new the lower level was used to shelter cattle, mules and hay. The upper level or loft was used for barn dances and other social gatherings.

Stop at Pops on Route 66 for gas and drink!!


Location: Arcadia, Oklahoma

Nostalgic for the road trips he used to take with his father, Aubrey K. McClendon, CEO of the natural-gas giant Chesapeake Energy Corp., planted Pops on some land he owns along Route 66 in 2007, naming it in honor of his dad and the fizzy beverages he remembers from those days. Conscious that “you have to have a clever gimmick to make it on Route 66,” McClendon hired


Oklahoma City Memorial

Monday through Saturday9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.Sunday12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Adult $10
Senior (62+) $8


The Oklahoma City National Memorial exists because of events on April 19, 1995. It was early morning on that nice Spring day when the profound explosion pierced the Oklahoma City downtown air. When the dust settled and the initial shock slipped away, the Aflred P. Murrah Federal Building, a United States Government complex, had been nearly destroyed. 168 people, 19 of them children, were killed. But the impact would be felt forever, and the shock could not be erased.
30 children would be orphaned by the tragedy, 219 more lost at least one parent. Timothy McVeigh would be executed for his horrible crime, and the citizens of Oklahoma City began to put their lives back together. One of the first steps in the recovery was erecting the Oklahoma City National Memorial, a stunningly emotional monument and memorial dedicated to remembering each and every soul taken that day.
As stated at the Memorial, it stands to "offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity."
Hours of Operation:

Outdoor Memorial - Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Memorial Museum - Mon. through Sat. 9am-6pm and Sun. 1pm-6pm
Museum closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day
Location of the Oklahoma CIty National Memorial:

Located on the soil where the Murrah Building once stood at 620 N. Harvey Avenue in downtown Oklahoma City. Get a full map with driving directions.
Oklahoma City National Memorial Design:

The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial design was selected in an international design competition that included 624 entries. It was designed by Butzer Design Partnership and is composed of several key concepts as follows.
The Gates of Time frame the moment of the bombing with one gate symbolizing the innocence of 9:01, the minute before the explosion, and the other 9:03, representing the healing that began immediately after.
The Field of Empty Chairs contains 168 bronze and stone chairs, some small in representation of the children and others large for the adults. They symbolize the absence felt for each life lost in the tragedy, each sitting upon a glass base with the etched name of a victim.
The Survivor Tree, Reflecting Pool, Rescuer's Orchard and Children's Area compose the other areas of the Memorial. The tree, an Elm, witnessed the violence and now symbolizes resilience while the reflecting pool is representative of healing calmness. The Rescuer's Orchard protects the grounds, and the Children's Area is a wall of painted tiles created by Oklahoma City children following the tragedy.
Weight of Grief, Strength of Peace:

The Oklahoma City National Memorial is the most important "essential" for every resident and visitor of our fine city. All other attractions or events pale in comparison to the powerful journey of this phenomenal museum and monument. If you have not yet been, it is critical for you to go. If you are new to the city, visit nothing else first. This one place represents the honor and strength as well as all of the pain of every person who remembers that historical day. You will likely grieve as you experience all the emotion involved, but you will never regret your visit. It puts everything else in this world into perspective and touches your heart in a way you probably haven't known before.


Big Texan for Supper:



Our World-Famous FREE 72oz. STEAK DINNER (if eaten in 1 hour) is only for the very hungry.
Many have tried. Many have failed.

How the FREE 72oz STEAK DINNER legend was BORN...

The FREE 72-oz. steak came to life not long after Bob Lee opened the doors to the Big Texan Steak Ranch. In those days, cowboys still worked the area ranches and came into town on their days off to get a good meal and have some fun. Both of those needs could be fulfilled at the Big Texan. One day a cowboy came through the front door bragging that he was so hungry he could “eat the whole, darned cow.”

R.J. "Bob" Lee Founder

Bob grinned as he put the first one-pound steak on the grill and the contest was on. When the cowboy finally yelled, “calf-rope” he had consumed 4 pounds of tasty Texas beef. Bob vowed from that day forward the dinner would be served “free” to anyone who could complete it in one hour.

Since then, 10's of thousands people from around the world have traveled to Amarillo and attempted to eat the specially cut 72-oz. top sirloin steak, a baked potato, salad, dinner roll and shrimp cocktail. Some have succeeded in completing the feat and joining the ranks of BigTexan champions. Many have failed.



Klondike Bill ate two.

Klondike Bill, a professional wrestler, consumed two of the dinners in the one hour time limit back in the 1960s.

Richard LeFavre, from Nevada, ate two of the steaks on the Donny and Marie Show in the 1990s.


Grandmother ate it.

The oldest person to eat the steak was a 69 year-old grandmother.

The youngest person to eat the steak was an 11 year-old boy.

Carlene and Richard Lefevre, a couple from Henderson, NV, have eaten the steak dinner at least 10 times since their first attempt 1995. Both of them usually complete the meal in less than 30 minutes.

Frank Pastore, who was a professional pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, ate the complete steak dinner in 9 and 1/2 minutes (May 3, 1987). Pastore actually has eaten the steak dinner seven times. On his first effort, in February 1976, he finished the steak in 21 minutes. He held that record for 21 years.

The record was broken by Joey Chestnut on March 24, 2008. He ate the entire meal in 8 minutes and 52 seconds.

Joey, seated , with Big Texan owners Danny & Bobby Lee and Dianna Lee Magill


It was an ordinary spring evening, March 24, 2008. The sky was overcast and the wind was blowing gusts of 20 miles per hour. Just another day in the Panhandle.

Joey Chestnut pulled up in the parking lot of The Big Texan on his new motorcycle.

Inside, he announced, “I’m here to try the big steak!” Sean Hamm from Drexel Hill, PA, gives his account. “My brother and I were on our way to California. We decided to have dinner at The Big Texan. I heard this guy say he was going to try to eat the big steak. When I saw the steak meal I thought, ‘This guy is not going to be able to finish this!’” “Then, it wasn’t long until the staff starting realizing this was something different. A lot of the customers stood up and crowded around the table, so it was difficult to see. After about four minutes, I realized that this was something to witness! I stood up on a chair.”

“At about seven minutes, that guy finished the steak and started in on the salad, shrimp, potato and roll. It was pure pandemonium. He was grabbing the potato and salad with his hands. Then, he was done. All that food in 8:52 minutes! I’ve never seen anything like it! Everyone in the restaurant was on their feet applauding. My friends and I came for a good meal and got to witness history!”

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut is currently ranked number One by the International Federation of Competitive Eating. He holds gobs of records, is just 24 years old and is simply the best competitive eater in the world, who will likely go on to break every record there is.

The unofficial record for the fastest time belongs to a 500-pound Bengal Tiger owned by Benjamin Heiple of Florida. His meal was limited to the steak only and he dined in the front of the building. The technique was the simplest we've ever seen: sniff, lick, gulp! It took him less than 90 seconds.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not brought six pre-qualified contestants from across the United States. Only one of them finished, yet a 120 pound lady reporter from The Wall Street Journal earned her T-shirt, certificate and no leftovers.

As the famous steak's reputation grew, so did the price. The meal was originally priced at $9.95. By the mid 1990s the price had climbed to $39.50. The popularity of the Texas beef drove the price of the meal to $50.00 just before the millennium. Last year higher market prices for cattle pushed the price to $72.00. If you come in to test your gastronomic skills, don't be offended if they ask for a payment on the meal before you begin eating. It's been our experience that – win or lose – everybody who tackles the FREE 72-oz. Steak dinner has trouble reaching in their hip pocket for a wallet after they push back from the table. We happily refund the money to the winners. We also give them a T-shirt, a souvenir boot mug and a certificate. They can add their comments to the winners on the "Wall of Fame" next to the lobby display, and then we'll add their photo to the gallery of recent winners. Their names go into the permanent list of Champions.

Meal consists of: Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Potato, Salad, with Roll, Butter, and of course the 72 oz. Steak

  1. Entire meal must be completed in one hour. If any of the meal is not consumed (swallowed)...YOU LOSE!
  2. Before the time starts, you will be allowed to cut into the steak, and take one bite. If the steak tastes good and is cooked to your satisfaction, we will start the time upon your acceptable approval. The time will not stop, and the contest is on, so make SURE before you say “yes.”
  3. Once you have started you are not allowed to stand up, leave your table, or have anyone else TOUCH the meal.
  4. You will be disqualified if anyone assists you in cutting, preparing or eating of your meal. This is YOUR contest.
  5. You don’t have to eat the fat, but we will judge this.
  6. Should you become ill, the contest is over... YOU LOSE! (Please use the container provided as necessary.)
  7. You are required to pay the full amount up front; if you win we will refund 100%.
  8. You must sit at a table that we assign.
  9. If you do not win the steak challenge, you are welcome to take the leftovers with you.
  10. No consumption or sharing of the leftovers is allowed in the restaurant once the contest is over.