Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi Travel Log, Part 1

Ready to go on another trip with us?  Prior to my most recent post, I hadn’t written anything since January of 2020.  That post was all about the cruise we had taken in 2019, so I am anxious to tell you all about our road trip this summer.  We touched ten different states, made stops in at least nine cities or towns, drove more than 2,000 miles, and had an amazing adventure!

What are you waiting for?  Come on, let’s go!! 🙂

Day One: Travel Day.  It was a dark and stormy night when the four of us left our small town….just kidding, no need to be that dramatic.  We wanted to get a head start, so we left after work on a Thursday evening and headed toward Saint James, Missouri.  Doing that knocked about 5 1/2-6 hours off our drive for the next day.  While it did storm, there’s really nothing else to say except that our airbnb for the night was right on Route 66.  Picture the scene from Cars with the Sh-Boom song when Lightning McQueen has helped fix all the neon signs.  Got it in your mind?  Yeah….nothing like that, but our airbnb was cute.

Day Two: Oklahoma, here we come!  Somehow we left EARLY this morning.  What?!  That almost never happens for us.  We made a quick stop at Master Donuts in Saint James.  I would say they were better than Krispy Kreme, but obviously not as good as Jack’s Donuts [IYKYK].  On to see the Blue Whale of Catoosa, one of a few stops we made on Route 66.  A little history on the Blue Whale – a husband built it for his wife as an anniversary gift, and it grew from there.  Please don’t get any ideas, babe. 😉  Whoops! How could I forget?  On our way to the whale, we were bombarded with billboards for a town called Uranus.  Did we stop as goofy as it was? Yes, yes we did.  Were there some inappropriate things?  Yes, yes there were as you can probably imagine.  Did the boys enjoy talking about Uranus for several more days?  Yes, yes they did.  Alright, moving on.  Next stop, The Center of the Universe in Tulsa, OK.  No, it’s not really the center of the universe, it’s just an acoustic anomaly in the middle of downtown.  If you stand on the center of this circle, your voice sounds amplified  & there’s kind of an echo, but the people outside the circle don’t hear it that way.  Pretty cool & worth the stop, in my opinion.  Lunch time!  We chose Mother Road Market since it was a food court with options for everyone.  We had food from Howdy Burger, Curds and Whey, and Andolini’s.  Of course, we couldn’t resist a cookie from Farrell bread and bakery and ice cream from Big Dipper.  Alright, gotta go, we have a lot more to see and do before we can end day two.  Time to go to Oklahoma City.  First stop, the Centennial Land Run Monument.  This was a lot larger than I expected with several exquisitely detailed bronze sculptures celebrating the land runs of 1889, posed along the Bricktown Canal.  I had read a book by Jeanne Bishop in preparation for our trip, and I couldn’t help but think of a passage she had written:

“Celebrating the Oklahoma Land Rush was an annual school ritual.  Students were urged to dress up like settlers and pose in wagons meant to look like the ones pioneers had ridden into the territory.  An unfortunate photo exists of middle school me in such a wagon, wearing a long orange paisley dress and matching cap, my unruly mane of brown hair sticking out from underneath.  Years later, I heard a radio interview of a man with Native American ancestry saying how uncomfortable he was as a boy during these commemorations.  In the privileged cocoon of my upbringing, it didn’t dawn on me that the event we were reenacting was, as University of Oklahoma anthropology professor Daniel Swan put it, “a desperate, dark day” for Native Americans.  I am ashamed of that ignorance now.”

That passage just made me stop and think about ALL of the history behind the monument.  Getting tired yet?  We were, so we checked into The Daisy Duplex [our airbnb for the night], and rested for a minute.  We chose Whiskey Cake for dinner.  This restaurant isn’t unique to Oklahoma, but, as I wrote in my vacation journal, “it was pretty darn good.”  One more stop to make on Route 66 – Pop’s Soda Ranch.  Pop’s has soda, souvenirs, a restaurant, fuel, and our main reason for going – the giant [66 feet tall – how fun is that on Route 66], lighted soda bottle.  Must.keep.going. Skydance Bridge was our final destination for day two.  This is a pedestrian bridge with a sculpture modeled after the Oklahoma state bird.  It is lit with LED lights which change colors and made for a nice way to end the day.

Day Three: We started this day on a somber note by visiting the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.  I thought they had done a wonderful job on such a heartbreaking event.  One of the things that stood out most to me were the letters that family members still leave along the fence just outside the memorial.  We took the time to read some of them and they were incredibly touching.  If there are any Karen Kingsbury fans reading this, I would highly recommend reading her book To the Moon and Back, which partially inspired our trip to the museum.  If you’re into researching things before you visit, I’d also recommend the book I mentioned above by Jeanne Bishop – Grace from the Rubble.

The sign at the Memorial reads – “We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope, and serenity.”

 

We stopped for a quick lunch at Deep Deuce Bar & Grill, and then decided to risk it [we had plans in Fort Worth later] and try to make the other two stops in Oklahoma that we were interested in.  Those stops were Turner Falls and Travertine Creek.  *Tip- if you want to visit either of these places, get there early.  Turner Falls was at capacity for the day, and parking was full at Travertine Creek – 100% on us for not researching this better.  On to Texas!  I’ll share more about the rest of the trip soon!

P.S. We very much enjoyed our time in Oklahoma & would definitely go back for a long weekend trip to explore more!

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