Oklahoma City | Travel Blog


Published: November 8th 2023

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We have made it to Quartzsite, AZ, where we’ll be staying for a month before moving on to Yuma for the Winter.

For now, though, we’ll write about our stop in Oklahoma City, where we spent a couple of years courtesy of Boeing, 43 years ago. This is when we met Rinda and Richard, the boys learned to ride their new bicycles, and Natalie was the Popcorn Lady every Friday morning at their school. It was truly a pleasant experience to drive by the old neighborhood, wonder where all the neighbors have scattered and see how the neighborhood has aged. Some was rebuilt after a tornado took out blocks of homes that were near us before, but you really couldn’t tell the old from the rebuilt. And Oklahoma is one of the prime candidates for us when we do decide to drop anchor. Probably not Oklahoma City itself, perhaps a suburb or Tulsa. There is a lot we really like about Oklahoma. Are you singing their theme song yet???

On our trip through western Arkansas, though, we passed the exit for Dyer, AR, and had to take a picture of the exit sign. We overlooked the photo though for

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our last entry, but had to include it anyway, even if not in the right record in our blog.

Natalie noticed a book about the King Ranch in one of the gift shops and had to take a picture of it because we have a Ford King Ranch truck, and the hub covers and several features of the truck show the King Ranch brand. We never put the symbol on our truck together with the idea it might have come from the real King Ranch. Even more interesting about it to us, though, is the fact I spent many hours in the air over the King Ranch while stationed at NAS Corpus Christi in early 1972. The connections between the past and present are happening all the time, so much it makes you shake your head in amazement.

One major event we were not here for was the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. This trip, we had to go visit the memorial to learn about the event, and the people’s response and it was a very touching experience.

The memorial itself consists of the whole area where the

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building once stood, and includes a good variety of symbolic elements, each of which has very good explanatory signs. This part is open to the public 24/7, and is very well done. There is also a particularly excellent museum which describes every aspect of the event, from just before the explosion all the way through the conviction and sentencing of the perpetrators.

As one example, the museum begins with you in a room describing the day and one meeting that started at 9:00 the day of the explosion. Then a door opens and lets you into a room just like the meeting room, and an actual recording of that meeting. Before you get seated, you know the bomb is going to go off just over a minute into the meeting, but the sound and visual effects are still startling when the explosion occurs.

Another thing that really hit me was on the memorial fence. This fence is just a section of cyclone fence that surrounded the blast area when crews were dealing with the aftermath, and people attached memorabilia to the fence. When the area was cleaned up, they saved this section of the fence and made it

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part of the memorial, and people continue to decorate the fence to this day. One item I noticed was a letter, since laminated, some child had written to his mother, who was one of the victims. It was a touching letter, and you could almost feel the child’s anguish, knowing he would never see his mother again. Then you think: how many more were there?

The lawn along the reflection pool has a chair for everyone who died that day, in the area they were when the bomb went off: each chair has their name on it, big chairs for the adults, child sized chairs for the children. None of these folks will ever be forgotten.

One remnant from the bombing was The Survivor Tree. It is an American Elm that did not burn or die with the explosion. It was a testament to the resilience of the people of the city. Interestingly, that tree is from the 1920’s as it is in a photograph of the back yard of the original home built there, now long gone for.

Another day, we were able to have lunch with some friends from our time there 40

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The chairs each represent one victim and their location in the building at the moment.

years ago, and had a very good BBQ lunch in a relatively new area of downtown Oklahoma. They now have a Triple-A Ball club known as the Oklahoma City Dodgers. The ballpark was built in a historical area of the city now called Bricktown, and it is a very nice area to visit, beginning to rival San Antonio’s River Walk. After lunch, we walked through a very nice city park with an open-air amphitheater opening onto a big pond and a huge greenhouse known as the Myriad Botanical Gardens.

Possibly the highlight of our tourist visit was our visit to The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. The museum was a pretty special place 40 years ago, but it has expanded and grown to much more than I could have imagined. It is now jam packed with some absolutely stunning and amazing art – both sculpture and painting, especially my favorites, Charles Russell and Frederick Remington.

Possibly the main sculpture of the museum, the “End of the Trail,” was there last time we were here, but it is in a new, more prominent place, central to the entryway. Most everything else has been expanded and improved,

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At 9:01, it was a normal day at the office, or the day care.

even though some things I remember have been moved to storage for now. For example, there once was a section consisting of letters to and from pioneers, trappers, and others moving west in the early days of that stage of our history. I’m sure Louis L’Amour and other western authors referred to them while doing research for their novels. Also, there was a large collection of John Wayne’s Kachina dolls, but there are only a few now. Of course, museums have enormous collections the public doesn’t see, and they rotate exhibits into and out of the public areas regularly, all the while collecting new things to be prepared for exhibit.

Regardless, the Cowboy Museum is an absolutely wonderful experience. The art is way beyond amazing. One thing that made it even better was the guided tour, and all we had to do was show up at the appointed place at the right time. Our tour guide wore a nice ten-gallon hat and took us through each section of the museum and explained a whole lot of the history behind some of the artists as well as much of the story behind many other parts of the museum. It was

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At 9:03, the world had turned upside down.

amazing how much he knew about the history of the West, and the displays. The free guided tour lasted a couple hours, and made our experience even more enlightening and enjoyable.

We had time to take visit another museum: The Oklahoma History Center Museum, which was also very interesting, covered some of the history we had already seen, but added history from a much broader perspective. This museum had some mighty nice exhibits describing the state’s unique history from the land rush which led to the settling of the state, through the development of farming, growth of communities into cities, founding of some noteworthy businesses, the dust bowl and depression, show business, all the way to space exploration.

During our RV travels, we frequently fuel up at truck stops, one of which we like is Love’s, and they have very nice truck stops across much of the United States. I never would have thought they started in Oklahoma. Similarly, we have yet to grab a burger at a Sonic, but they also started in Oklahoma. TG&Y also started here.

And then, the main airport in Oklahoma City is Wiley Post International Airport. Wiley Post was

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an aviation pioneer from the era of Charles Lindberg and Amelia Earhart.

One somewhat surprising section described a paddleboat that disappeared on the Red River and its recent discovery. The idea was surprising to me because I’ve never thought of Oklahoma as a place where boating was even a concept. (Of course, I spent most of my life in Seattle, where there are plenty of boats. And places to use them. But Oklahoma? Oh well, I guess we can all learn something new.)

Oklahoma City is smack dab along the middle of the historic Route 66. We are still able to travel this famous route, right on or alongside the original road into the towns of yesteryear so journey along in our next chapter as we show you some gems we discovered.


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