2017-06-14 Bartlesville, Oklahoma and Frank Lloyd Wright

No Airstream repair issues today! Just a romp through a rare icon of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.

We had a leisurely morning and an easy drive north from Oklahoma City to Bartlesville, OK, located north of Tulsa, and a few miles south of the Kansas border.  Bartlesville is an oil town, subject to oil’s booms and busts. Mr. Harold Price wanted to expand his oil pipeline business, and to do so, he needed a new building. In 1952, he contacted FLW and told him of his intention to build a 4 story building for about $750,000.  FLW visited Bartlesville, rejected the chosen site, rejected the concept of a 4 story building, and convinced Mr. Price that what he really wanted was a 19 story building that would cost $2,000,000.  It was completed in 1957, just before FLW’s death.  And, to make a long story short, here it is:

2017-06-14 Bartlesville Price Tower 3

2017-06-14 Bartlesville Price Tower 8

2017-06-14 Bartlesville Price Tower 6

2017-06-14 Bartlesville Price Tower 4

2017-06-14 Bartlesville Price Tower 2


The building is laid out on a hexagonal grid, with a structure of concrete and all else being non-bearing walls.  The ground floor contained the local utility company offices, a salon, the lobby, and a fancy dress shop. The tower floors each had three offices and one (2 level) apartment. The top floor, where you can see the facade steps back, is the office of Mr. Price and his secretary.  If you look at the tower, the areas with horizontal louvers are offices, and the areas with the vertical louvers are the apartments. There are eight 2 level apartments, about 850 square feet, each with 2 bedrooms. One apartment was kept by Mr. Price for corporate functions, two others were rented to long-term tenants, but the others were only rarely rented. The rent, in 1957, was $285 per month, so you can see that this was an extremely expensive place.

We had a tour of the building, seeing Mr. Price’s office and one of the apartments, all beautifully restored. There are 4 very small, odd shaped elevators (hexagonal grid, remember?). There is one stair. It is a delightful and beautiful building!

Mr. Price and his sons ran his firm from the tower for about 30 years; His firm was then bought by Phillips Petroleum, who used the building for about 10 years until they moved their headquarters out of Bartlesville. After that the building sat empty, until Phillips had it restored about 10 years ago. Here is the fun part:

The tower was converted to a hotel!

So we took the opportunity to leave the Villa in the parking lot next door, and we spent the night in the tower.  Our room was one on the office spaces. (The 2 story apartments are also part of the hotel, but they are much more expensive…)  The interiors of our room is not original FLW, of course, since it used to be one of the office spaces.  But is was designed by the FLW devotees at Taliesen, the FLW school and studio…

2017-06-14 Bartlesville Price Tower Interiors 3

Here I am sitting uncomfortably in the FLW-style stair (which are always uncomfortable…


2017-06-14 Bartlesville Price Tower Interiors 7

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The rooms are quite bright – only my camera skills make them seem a little dark…


2017-06-14 Bartlesville Price Tower Airstream

And the Villa, parked below…


We had a delightful time walking the town, having lunch in a local pub, and having drinks and dinner in the restaurant atop the Price Tower, located in one of the 2 story apartments…

I also took a selfie with Frank to celebrate his 150th birthday…

2017-06-14 Bartlesville Price Tower #FLW150 Flat Frank


And an enjoyable time was had by all…



















2017-06-13 A Visit to the Oklahoma City Airstream Dealer

Tuesday was a day spent in fear and anticipation, but all’s well that ends well…

As if our power situation were not enough to worry and annoy us, whilst traveling to the Airstream Dealer, we were hit with several gusts of wind. While control of the RV was never an issue, once things settled down we saw in our mirrors that our front driver-side rock guard was gone – blown away somewhere on the east-bound I-40. We stopped to survey the damage, and also saw that the vent cover on one of out fans was also gone. The missing rock guard “only” exposed vulnerable aluminum skin to the potential of damage from rocks being thrown up on the highway, the missing vent cover meant that we were exposing the interior to rain, which was sure to come.  Now we had more issues to report to the Airstream dealer…

We arrived at Leisure RV, the Airstream dealer in Oklahoma City, at 12:30pm for our 2:00pm appointment, chronically early, as usual. This is a large, multi-brand RV dealer with very impressive facilities. We spent our waiting time browsing the store full of gadgets and supplies, and we wandered through the sales lot admiring the brand new RVs of many makes and models.  Finally we met with our service adviser, we unhitched, and they pulled the Villa into one of their 16 service bays. Then we waited some more.

Our suspicions were confirmed that we had, indeed, blown the power converter. (This device takes the shore power and distributes it to the trailer as 110v and 12v power, also charging the batteries along the way…)  Fortunately, they had a new converter in stock, and repairs were underway. They did not have rock guards in stock, but they were able to replace the missing vent cover. So, at about 5:30, with one swipe of a credit card, we were once again on our way. We had called a nearby campground (KOA Oklahoma City East), who had a very nice camping site ready for us when we arrived a little before 6:00pm.

As soon as we arrived, we plugged into power to see that everything was once again working – no damage to any other electronics on-board; the one exception: The refrigerator did not switch over to 110v power when available, but it runs just fine on propane.

We took a quick dip in the pool to gain some relief from the stress (and heat – did I mention the heat?) we were able to have a restful night. Tomorrow we set out for Bartlesville…!

What the rock guard looks like and what it looks like when it’s gone:


Finally relaxing after settling in at the KOA…








2017-06-12 Driving across New Mexico, Texas, and into Oklahoma

So this happened:  Sunday night we inadvertently hooked up to bad power. 220V bad power, to be exact… I know, I know… I have an EMS to prevent this, but I was plugging into a 30 amp recommended to me by another Airstreamer.  Oops! Don’t do that! So we made some calls and altered our itinerary and headed to an Airstream Dealer and Service Center in Oklahoma City who could see us at 2:00 on Tuesday.  We didn’t know what the damage was, but the batteries were charging when we were towing, so at least the refrigerator stayed cold.

The drive east through New Mexico was quite green and scenic, although there is very little there… The road was very good, which was a treat. (Public Service Announcement: for those of you who think California has the worst roads in America: you have obviously never driven the 40 between Williams and Flagstaff, AZ…)

We stopped for gas just west of the Texas border, and again in Oklahoma, just east of the Texas border. So we crossed the Texas panhandle (180 miles) without spending any money. We did, however, stop at 2 rest stops, leaving appropriate things behind. There is a beautiful rest stop in Texas a few miles west of the Oklahoma border that is an homage’ to Route 66. We had a nice break, a few minutes of walking, and some time inside the air conditioned building looking at the exhibits.

We arrived in Elk City, OK, about 5:30, at a small RV park. We still didn’t know what our power situation was going to be, so we picked this place because it had a large, air conditioned Rec Room. Except that it didn’t…  Good news: Shore power was good, both AC units worked, electric water heater worked, rear TV worked, and everything else worked, except for the converter/battery charger, and the circuit into which the front TV and satellite receiver are plugged. We’ll have to wait and see about those… We also hooked up to water and sewer, so we both were able to enjoy long hot showers.

After a few adult beverages and some microwaved left-overs for dinner, we retired early. Tomorrow we see what the damage to our electrical system really is…


Entering Texas… Note the green countryside… Nothing but miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles…


And, finally, Oklahoma…

2017-06-12 Map - Oklahoma






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