A Story of Two Big Milk Bottles: The Milk Bottle Grocery on old Route 66 in Oklahoma City, in the USA vs. The Guaranteed Milk Company Bottle in Montreal Canada

Note: This post did not end as it started
Located at 2426 N. Classen, in Oklahoma City, on a street that USED to be part of the Route 66 network, but that is now no longer listed as such [No route 66 on Google maps, and no 66 signs on the building ???] is a tiny, one story, nondescript triangular-shaped brick building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is considered one of the iconic Route 66 buildings… albeit one with NO 66 signage … what’s that about?

4vyCmRQ3RCixSo%diloZeg_thumb_ada5.jpg

Wedged onto a bit triangular island (the result of three streets coming together at odd angles), it was built in the 1930’s initially as a street car stop (which sort of makes sense if you look at it) — [and Wikipedia did NOT know about this!! I found in on the National Park service’s page!!] …  but within a short time the street cars were no more, and it was then known to locals as “The Triangle Grocery” (from 1940 until 1948) — for fairly obvious reasons. In 1948, when the then owner, as a way of getting route 66 traffic to notice that his store was even there, got the brilliant idea to put a large metal milk bottle on his roof, so that the local community renamed it, appropriately enough… the Milk Bottle Grocery… a name which has stuck to this day.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_201e.jpg

Interestingly, according to the National Park Services’s web page, the Milk Bottle Grocery’s the bottle was never directly connected to the business upon which it sat, and has always been rented out like a normal billboard (but always to various dairy companies) as location to advertise their brands, and has been painted and repainted accordingly. (Kind of brilliant actually, as it supplemented the building’s income)

QJGMYh5kQ%ay9y+mo6gy7g_thumb_ad9e.jpg

Currently… the bottle advertises the 52 year old Bruam’s brand (i.e., didn’t exist when the building first went up), which is a well-known brand in this part of the country (I’d never heard of it till coming here). Braum’s headquarters is based in nearby Tuttle, Oklahoma (just at the edge of the expanding Oklahoma City region), and while they do sell their product in groceries, they are possibly better known for their about 300 drive through or dine-in outlets that are combination grocery stores and burger/ice-cream joints (with a few healthy options). These are scattered throughout the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Missouri, and Arkansas (kind of an overlap of lower midwestern states and western/southern states). I actually visited one while in town, but didn’t think to take any photos of it. That said, they are all very shiny and clean, and seem to be very popular with locals — it was STRONGLY suggested to me if I had not tried one I really should. That they are all GOOD.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_201f.jpg

Returning to the building: the neighborhood it is located in is currently Oklahoma city’s China town area, so I was unsurprised to learn (via Wikipedia) that for 25 years (until 2014) the building had housed a Vietnamese bánh mì shop (the Vietnamese take on the submarine sandwich). When that business left the building’s owner, Elise Kilpatrick, who had inherited it from her father decided to take advantage of historic preservation tax credits in order return it to its original appearance — in keeping with the move towards revitalizing route 66’s historic attribute. At which point a boutique called Prairie Gothic had moved in, but only managed to stay in business for about a year.

IMG_0738

The Milk bottle building is now the offices of an architectural firm (??).

Post Script:

That said, I’ve seen what I’m pretty sure is a MUCH bigger milk bottle which seems to double as a water tank sitting on top of a very dilapidated building on the Island of Montreal, ⁨while I was up in ⁨Canada in July of 2017. This one is called the Guaranteed Pure Milk bottle, and also has its own Wikipedia page.

Bki4WYgFTmOlwsjWrKqs1A_thumb_621e.jpg

According to the page, the bottle itself was ALSO (like the bottle above) built in the 1930’s but this one was renovated in 2009 by volunteers using privately raised funds, to the cost of $100K Canadian (WOW! Power to you guys!) … and that sum was for JUST fixing up the bottle. It stands 33 Feet tall (I have not been able to discover how tall the Oklahoma City bottle is, but I’m guessing it’s not more than 10 feet high) … ⁩BUT, that said…. considering the state of the building it is upon, and the fact that the area it is in seems to be in a mad rush of replacing all of its old buildings with shiny new ones, I’m not sure how long it’ll still be there…

Tqn3TJ55QuGvIUW3Viviow_thumb_6221.jpg
HOPEFULLY — and I hope someone out there is listening — the city of Montreal will have the good sense to either fund the renovation of the building rather than just knocking it down, at least …in this case… if that’s not feasible, PLEASE at least save the Milk bottle!!
Advertisements

Agawa Crafts & The Canadian Carver, Pancake Bay, Ontario Canada

Back in August of 2016, as I was road-tripping along the Trans-Canadian Highway on my way from Vancouver Island in the far west of the country to Stratford Ontario  (just east of Detroit Michigan) I came across this really unique combination store that I liked so much that I can actually see myself driving back there (albeit, on a more direct route next time) to buy things for my home… once I actually get one.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1fcc.jpg

It’s actually a combination of a few stores that is only open during the tourism season (closed in winter, even just before Xmas — which is a bit crazy if you ask me), as well as a liquor store and gas station which stay open all year round.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1fcd.jpg
Smoked Fish and wild rice!!! YUM

Agawa Crafts sells items made by the local First Nations (i.e., Canadian name for Native Americans) tribal members,

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1fce.jpg

while the Canadian Carver is a gift store, full of hand-made items from local artists

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1fcf.jpg

…some that looks a lot like cheesy stuff you could buy on-line or from gift-shops along highways … but ALL of it is in fact hand carved by artists they represent — although of varying levels of ability….

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1fd0.jpg

Qc6kqcpARFeB7XreL8Qm2w_thumb_46b.jpg

The better stuff, from more skilled artists, is usually is grouped together on a wall

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_499.jpg

or a shelf, with a photo and description of the artist alongside the items.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1fd1.jpg

Although some of it is just easy to self identify….

8rfhSHROQqmELsXJguVWUg_thumb_b991.jpg
was seriously wanting to buy this fruit bowl (left) and table (right) for myself, but no room

While I was here I did buy a carved duck, but as a wedding gift for two friends of mine who were getting married about a month later in September 2016, in Chicago.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1fcb.jpg
I’ve known the spouse since kinder-garden, the purple dress was purchased in Victoria, and is made of 100% hemp — so comfortable

 

It was of a sort decoy duck, a type of traditional North American Folk Art, usually carved out of a wood that will float — and sometimes used by hunters to confuse a duck into landing near them … like in the image below, only the one that I bought was MUCH nicer

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_459.jpg

the one I bought almost looked like it was breathing … I’m sorry to say I never took a picture of it before wrapping it … my bad… that had been carved by a master level carver by the name of Larry Fell, and was signed underneath by the artist. (Works from some of the more famous master carvers have gone on to be collector’s items that have sold in the high six figures — so I figured, good gift.)

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_474.jpg
I took this photo so my friends would know who the artist was who made their piece, should it ever become a collector’s item

… which I later, while in Stratford, ON… paid to have wrapped to my specifications (because when it’s worth doing right, pay a professional) at a high-end chocolate store called Rheo Thompson Candies

AcrX7zqgRoq1uwJluRcm%Q_thumb_1f8.jpg

Even though it’s a candy store, when I was walking through it one day I noticed that… because of all the people in that town who like to give chocolates as wedding favors, they had wedding gift paper with butterflies on it … so I asked them if they’d be willing to wrap my gift for me even though I wasn’t going to buy any chocolate, and they said they were…. I also asked if I could have these clay butterflies, which were on display as part of something else in the store, attached to it, and they agreed. I think the wrapping cost me like $30… but I think worth it… Getting the whole thing back to chicago without it being damaged was the tricky part.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Batchawana (Alona) Bay, Ontario

At this location along the Trans Canadian Highway there is an educational sign devoted to the wreck of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald. The Ship was a Great Lakes Iron ore freighter that sunk November 10th, 1975, during a storm that contained 25-35 foot waves and hurricane-force winds. The wreck occurred southwest of this location, in the waters of Lake Superior; The ship’s wreck was immortalized in song by the great Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot; and is historically important for all those who work the waters of the great lakes, for how it forever changed the safety regulations upon them.

seFD7uhPTN+EpNa073eNAA_thumb_4b4.jpg

For those who do not know, Superior is the third largest freshwater lake in the world both by volume and the largest by surface area; In fact it is so large that it contains about 10% of the worlds fresh water supply. UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4bc.jpg

And, because of its impressive size and volume, it is large enough to have its own tide, just like an ocean.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4c6.jpg

And while it is beautiful, it can also be as treacherous as any Ocean — especially during the months of November.

fpwj6XTYQcKFTeGy25ANDA_thumb_4c3.jpg

It has had 350 recorded shipwrecks, has taken over 10,000 lives, and her waters are notorious for not giving up her dead (as in the bodies never wash up on the surrounding shores).

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_50b.jpg

The Fitzgerald had been the largest freighter on North America’s great lakes when it was first launched in 1958, and to this day remains the largest to have sunk within them; and in large part this catastrophe is why no other freighters have sunk on the lakes since then.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4ee

The ship went down without a trace, taking along its entire crew of 29, and its singing, along with the notoriety the song brought it, led to changes in shipping regulations on the lakes. Now all boats must carry depth finders, higher freeboards, and undergo more frequent inspections of their sea-worthiness. In addition, these freighters are now required to carry survival suits for every member of the crew, so that even if the boat does go down, the workers can still have a chance at survival.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4ea.jpg

For those unfamiliar with the song,

I also found this 20 minute video on YouTube called, The Edmund Fitzgerald: a 40 Year Legend which goes into depth about what we know, or think happened to the ship:

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 11.31.32 AM.png
The various points along the route in the photos above, see my click map

Kakabeka Falls, in Oliver Paipoonge Ontario, Canada

Nicknamed “the Niagara of the North” Kakabeka Falls is located on the Kaministiquia River, 30 miles west of Thunder Bay Ontario, in the municipality of Oliver Paipoonge Ontario Canada. At a height of 154 feet with a drop of 130 feet, it is the largest waterfall in the Lake Superior Watershed.

fullsizeoutput_4e0d.jpeg

IMG_5293

 

 

IMG_0545

IMG_0546.JPG

IMG_5290

Hoito Finnish Restaurant, Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada

The Hoito is an unimpressive looking but historically important Finnish restaurant located in Thunder Bay Ontario Canada.

IMG_5317

It drew my attention both as being one of the highest ranked restaurants in Thunder Bay on all the customer review websites (pulling four or five stars at each), but all because FINNISH food!!! Seriously how often do see that being offered up.

fullsizeoutput_4e04.jpeg

My airbnb host asked where I was intending to go for my meal and when I said “that Finnish place, the Hoito”, he said, “Good choice, I love that place.”

fullsizeoutput_4e06

After I arriving there I discovered the Hoito is historically important restaurant, established in 1918 (Wikipedia). Founded by loggers over 100 years ago, and running continuously since then, the restaurant is co-operative and is so deeply embedded in the labor movement that it is considered to be socialist.

IMG_0536.JPG

Regular customers buy membership cards that allow them to vote at the Finnish Labor Temple located directly above the restaurant, and until the 1970’s customers could buy meal tickets to if they ate here regularly, and the food was served on long communal tables. This restaurant was even written about in the New York Times.

IMG_5306.jpg

I had suolakala (pronounced soo-la-ka-la) which is described as a salted fish sandwich — open-faced. It’s a bit like gravlox, in that it’s cured salmon… only it’s not smoked. Thing is I eat lox sandwiches almost daily so…

IMG_5304

— I HAD wanted kalakeitto (a salmon soup) but they have run out. They are also giving me a single Finnish meatball (to try) … definitely NOT on my diet

13906743_10208086080684360_6670930185835158734_n_10208086080684360

 

IMG_0538.JPG

 

 

Kinniwabi Pines Restaurant, in Michipicoten, Ontario Canada

The Kinniwabi Pines Restaurant is located on the Trans-Canadian Highway, Route 1, in Michipicoten, Ontario Canada, and based on the reviews is hands down the best restaurant in the area, if you don’t include chains…

IMG_5446.JPG

I was staying up the road and according to Yelp, this was the best restaurant in the area where I had a decent chance of getting a healthy meal… and there was BISON on the menu!!!! Love me my bison.

fullsizeoutput_4dff.jpeg

My first impression was this restaurant couldn’t make up its mind about what it wanted to be. Take a look at the menu offerings… at best they seem to want to be all things to all people… There’s German, Polish, Italian, American, Chinese, Caribbean, and lord only knows what offered on the menu

IMG_5449.jpg

IMG_5444

Unfortunately, not only were they out of the Bison, according to the waitress they’d not had it in a while and she wasn’t sure why it was still on the menu… grrrrrr….

IMG_5450

The tomato soup was offered to everybody as free with our dinner — mostly I think because it was a full hour wait between when I ordered and when they brought me my food. I talked to some locals and they said this is normal at that restaurant, so if you know this about your chef, if DON’T at least dull the customer’s hunger with some free soup, odds are you won’t have many.

IMG_5472

So my dinner, because there was no bison, was the grilled trout– The fish was supposed to come with dill potatoes and some other stuff I couldn’t eat, but they modified it to meet my needs. That said, the food was very good… but clearly the chef has no idea how to cook quickly. So it’s a good thing he hasn’t much competition in the area.

IMG_0521.JPG

Because the wait was SO long… I asked them if I could wander around their patio and garden while the food was being made, and could they come out and get me….

IMG_0522.JPG

While they do have a beautiful view and garden — what they did not have was any Wi-Fi … which is particularly egregious as there isn’t any 3G or anything in this town. So all in all, its supposed to be the best place in town, but be ready for a VERY long wait

River rafting on the Thompson River, east of Lytton British Columbia

As I was driving along the Trans-Canadian Highway, Route 1, I spotted a bunch of cars pulled to the side of the road and people alongside a wall, looking out at the river, so I stopped… River Rafting…

IMG_5014.JPG

I admit, this is one of those bucket list things I didn’t do when young, that I’m physically incapable of doing now that I’m old…

fullsizeoutput_4df4.jpeg

fullsizeoutput_4df5.jpeg

Inside the ‎⁨British Columbia Parliament Buildings⁩ in ⁨Victoria⁩, Vancouver Island, ⁨Canada⁩

Located in the heart of the city of Victoria, on Vancouver Island right off of the Tran Canadian Highway (Route 1) and overlooking the bay, is the Parliament building of the entire province (not state) of British Columbia. It is an incredibly beautiful building and worth taking the time to admire.

IMG_2936.jpg

In the summer of 2016 I had actually been living in Victoria’s China town for about a month when I finally got around to doing this… there’s actually quite a lot to do in that city… to those who come here for a few hours on a cruise, seriously… you’re missing out.

IMG_3476

I had come intent on doing the 3:00 tour, but it turned out that instead of doing it for everybody, they did it for JUST two people (VIPs who turned out to only be the general manager and concierge of the Empress Hotel). Personally, I think that was incredibly rude of management (absolutely no reason they couldn’t have joined a group of other people, or done it between tours). Anyway I kind of stalked the VIP group (who you would assume would have the best docent) … just enough to pick up some of the spiel; and, since it didn’t sound like their guided tour was even going to be all that interesting anyway (it sounded a bit boring actually), I didn’t bother to stick around a full hour for the 4 o’clock guided tour and opted to do it alone.

IMG_3539.jpg

IMG_0481

One of the major differences you see in Canada is the respect (or some might say over whelming guilt) that they accord to their Native populations, which they call the FIRST Nations, as in they were there FIRST. Laying on the floor (ground floor) in the picture bottom right is a quilt devoted to the issue of the dead and missing indigenous women of Canada (explained by the image below) … this is a HUGE problem in the US as well, only in the US it gets no press coverage.

IMG_3486

Having now been in Australia, whose government has only just recently even bothered to recognized that Aboriginal populations were on the continent at all, when the British Landed, I have an even greater appreciation to the mea culpa Canada has chosen to embrace

IMG_0483

IMG_0486

This recognition of the respect due to the First Nations Peoples of Canada, is not the only ‘we’re getting better’ that the building proudly advertises, but also its treatment of what used to be referred to as “the fairer sex.”

fullsizeoutput_4df3

IMG_3528.jpg

IMG_0485
Members of the Legislative Assembly in 1898 (white males) and in 2016

IMG_3519

IMG_0488

Along the walls of the building are also nods to Canada’s history as part of the British Empire, from which it only recently separated itself in 1887… but that in its zeitgeist hasn’t quiet, as documented below…

fullsizeoutput_4df0.jpegIMG_3489IMG_0482

You don’t see Americans emotionally embracing the traditions or monarchy of England in quite this way…. SO for instance their war memorials were ‘informative’ in that respect. IMG_0487.JPG

Pay attention to symbols and language, a knights sword, the WWI 88th regiment “who gave their lives for the Empire” and “for King and Country” — which they separated from which they had separated from 17 years earlier… and if you look closer in the Korean War (upper left), about 30 years later … there it still says “at the call of King and Country” left their families to serve the in the war.

IMG_0484

IMG_0489

IMG_3535

IMG_3537

After touring the building, I caught the little play that they do which gives some of the history of the founding of Victoria and the development of its buildings.

IMG_3475.jpg

IMG_0480.JPG

It was very cute, and informative… although a bit hard to hear (not the best acoustics) I did however love the fact that they hired a really tiny girl to play Victoria

Height of Land, Arctic/Atlantic Watershed, Huronian, ON

There are a whole bunch of continental divide points in north America, this is along Tran-Canadian Highway (route 1)

IMG_5268

Map from wikipedia

IMG_0428.JPG

I was kind of amazed by the rock around here… there was black shiny rock embedded into what almost looked like maybe it was marble. I collected smaller stones to take to Chicago to put on my father’s grave.