OKC is OK with me

Oklahoma City Travel Blog

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On the 7.5 hour drive from Memphis to OKC, we passed through Arkansas. I wish I had something interesting to write, but nothing. We did pass by several signs for state parks, and had it not been 102 degrees or if we didn't need to be in OKC by a certain time, it would've been nice to stop and explore a park or two. Arkansas calls itself the Natural State, which really made no sense to us until we passed by several lakes in a strikingly green, hilly area. Next time we do a drive like this, we're lugging our kayaks so we can stop and explore lakes and rivers at our leisure.

Oklahoma has proved an interesting state so far. From time to time, I saw small oil rigs on the right side of the road. I've never seen an oil rig before and found it odd that they're actually really small and work on their own without human supervision. Do computers supervise the rigs with no one around? Else how do they know when the rig strikes oil?

We passed through several Indian reservations, which was unexpected as well. I've passed by reservations before in Arizona but never driven through them. I had no idea that interstates were even allowed to pass though them. Shows what I know! George got a little confused when we passed through a Seminole reservation, since he's from Florida and thought that Seminoles were the only Indian tribe to refuse to leave Florida for the midwest. Actually, I just looked up Seminole on wikipedia and found out they were forced West with the rest of the tribes but about 300 to 500 stayed in the Everglades to fight. Very interesting.

We stopped at one travel plaza/casino about an hour east of Oklahoma City. We had passed by a Seminole Nation cop who was peering into our car as he passed us and then waved. We thought that was kinda weird, but he seemed friendly enough with the wave. A few minutes later we say him kick up dirt as he sped into a U-turn to head down the other part of the interstate. So when I was in the convenience store at the travel plaza buying some water, I saw this policeman talking with the cashier. He made some gestures and then I heard him exclaim, "And these people are from Maryland!" That was so funny to be recognized as a minor celebrity. He waved at us again as we drove out of the parking lot.

The anthropologist in me really really wants to explore an Indian reservation. I was telling George that I'd love to work on one near San Diego, so we'll see how that goes. I would to learn tribe traditions and learn what they think is important to them. One time I stopped at a gas station in Arizona and was invited by the clerk to an Apache reservation for a party that night, but I was driving from the Grand Canyon to Phoenix, a young single girl and my instincts said that as fun as that sounds, it probably wasn't the best idea to accept. I think about that invitation from time and time and kinda wish I had felt safe enough to go, but otherwise, it's only served to pique my interest more in reservation life. Plus, I'm part Scagticoke Indian (Connecticut), so the interest seems natural no matter which way you look at it. At least to me it does. ;0)

Enough about that! George and I are waiting around for a couple we haven't met yet to pick us up at the hotel and take us out on the town tonight. So looking forward to that!!

Kristin and Chris came to pick us up for dinner and a tour of OKC. I met Kristin on kaboodle.com, and we seemed to share a lot in common, so it was neat to get to know her in person. Kristin and Chris are very cool couple, and they warmly welcomed us to OKC. They took us to Abuelo's, a Tex Mex restaurant in Bricktown, which is a renovated warehouse section of the city. We spent a good couple of hours chatting away, eating tasty Tex Mex and drinking really yummy margaritas. This is embarrassing, but I had burnt my tongue a couple days earlier by chewing sticks of Big Red gum for several hours. So I had to stay away from the adobe sauce on my chicken and anything else even slightly spicy, which was really too bad considering how much I enjoy spicy food. I have now learned to stay away from Big Red--who knew it could burn your tongue?!

After our entertaining dinner, they took us on a driving tour of OKC. We stopped at the Federal Building Memorial, which was quite striking at night. What impacted me the most was going past the fence behind the memorial where people have stuck flowers and remembrances in the chain links. I think some of the items belonged to the victims, including a book bag. I saw one 8x10 portait of a young woman attached to the fence, too. Very very sad. George and I had an interesting conversation with Kristin and Chris about living in DC when the Pentagon was hit on 9/11, and it was really eye opening to get another perspective of a city in horror and shock and then mourning, especially as Kristin is from OKC and worked downtown at the time of the bombing. So sad that we've had to live through these events, but I guess that's just life.

They also took us to Braun's, a local chain of ice cream shops. I guess that's not even a detailed enough description, as the store included a market, which was unexpected. We sat at a booth and talked some more. We have so much in common, and it's a shame that we could only spend a few hours with them instead of several days. They continued to drive us around pointing out landmarks and describing the local color until we reached our hotel. It was just after midnight, and George and I were completely exhausted but really really glad we met them.

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