At the last minute, on the way back to Winfield I saw a sign. The basic translation of this sign was “Last chance to go to Oklahoma, if you don’t exit the highway here you’ll be in Tulsa before you could get to Winfield.” So I kept on going. It was one of those times when my wife was trying to be nice but trying to let me know it was time to turn. “It’s time to turn” … “ok” .. “this is our exit” … “ok” … “YOU NEED TO GET OVER” … “no I don’t” I chuckle. It’s a good thing my wife understands me. “Oklahoma?” she says quietly “let’s not say anything to the boys and see if they notice” Two exits later Zander pipes up. “Hey dad weren’t you supposed to turn a while back?” … “Yep” I say. “Ok” he says as he goes back to playing with legos. It was a last minute decision to head to OK.
First stop Tulsa, again we picked a hotel on hotwire – man, I wish they were a sponsor – this time I took the hotel with the steepest discount–over 40% off and scored a nice hotel for about $70. It gave us a chance to rest and recover and didn’t scare us. By the time we arrived it was late. We reheated our leftovers from Lambert’s , went for a swim in the pool – it was still over 100 degrees outside – and passed out for a good night sleep.
Tulsa, Oklahoma is full of quick stop unique items. It’s like the once self proclaimed oil capital of the world was overcompensating for it’s close proximity to Texas and for the decline of oil in their state. If I were to make a dick joke here it would be about the pan handle being long enough. But I won’t. Tulsa is home to the heaviest bronze statue in the world, the tallest free standing statue world, the center of the universe and much more. We decided in our short stay to hit a few of the sights and then head to Oklahoma City.
The Center of the universe is an interesting location. A small red circle on a bridge near the railway station, and few other interesting buildings claims it is the center of the universe. It has to be somewhere, right, why not there? More than a red dot there is an acoustical anomaly here that was actually interesting and fun to play with. Basically if you are standing in the circle you hear your voice echo and other sounds amplified that you make within the circle. Anyone standing in the circle directly outside of the middle circle (think outer rim of a target) cannot hear the echos or amplification. Additionally if you stand anywhere on the outside circle you hear other people in the outer echo but you don’t hear your own echo.
It did some strange things to my camera too =)
After spending some time yelling, singing, playing music, and explaining the phenomena to other passer byers who couldn’t understand our interest in the spot. We headed on to a few other sites. Here are some pictures from our trek through Tulsa. My phone died unfortunately at this point and I was having trouble getting it charged, so these are pictures Gail took.
We had planned on going on a small hike that day too but time was running low. We did stop to stroll across the Arkansas river using the Jenkin Pedestrian Bridge. Not particularly unique but it gave us a chance to see the river and stretch our legs some more before heading to Oklahoma City. It was still interesting and would be a nice walk in the evening. IT WAS HOT!
Next Stop Museum of Osteology in Oklahoma City
The worlds only bone museum. The Museum of Osteology sounds like one of those museums you see along I-70. A small one-room house with old worn down stuff that hardly any people are interested in, but some DAD decided to pull off and see what it was about. Well, this ain’t that. Yest I – the dad – did find it online while looking for unique things to see in Oklahoma but it was my wifes interest in anatomy and physiology, after taking classes in college, that made me think this would be a good stop. Even if it was as described above it would still thrill and excite her. So we stopped.
To my surprise it wasn’t as described above, it was actually a high quality display of skeletons and osteology information. Almost any animal, species sets a normal person could think of is represented here. The museum is small, and if you like to stop and read every plack (not my style) it will take you several hours to make it through. For us we arrived about 90 minutes before closing and we wish we would have had more time. Regardless, we did have time to make it through and see everything they had to offer, but I certainly didn’t have time to read everything or go into discussion with my family about all that we saw. We took tons of pictures … tons. If I put them all here I think I would bore you all to death or at least get in trouble for recreating the museum online. If you are in the area stop and check it out, it was well worth it.
The museum and gift shop close at 5:00.
Oklahoma City Memorial
The heat of the day had began to dissipate ever so slightly as we arrived in downtown Oklahoma City. It was still hot, we filled our water bottles and headed over to the memorial. I don’t want to spend a lot of time going over the memorial because I won’t be able to justice to what we saw. I did notice that each person is affected in their own way by what we saw at the memorial.
My children tired from the weeks trip and still to young to grasp the depths and finality of death and murder, had an interesting time at the memorial. They in their innocence walked where people dare not tread and asked questions that people dare not ask.”It’s hot can I walk through the reflective pool?” – to which I though “that should be something you are allowed to do, in fact I would like to do that, but I think it will offend everyone around us, especially if it looks like we are playing and not reflecting” Would you be offended if someone walked through the reflective pool? They walked through the rows of chairs as people stood only on the borders -there was no fence blocking entry from the reflecting pool. They touched the witness tree and the tiles that were sent to the memorial from around the country. For them the memorial was a tactile experience that, when they understand, they will remember how it felt to be there.
The bombing happened when I was 15 and it was a world away. I didn’t know anyone in Oklahoma, let alone where Oklahoma was on a map – Did I mention I managed to skip geography in school? It meant little to me at the time. People were afraid and reacting to what had happened but in my mind it was so distant that I just didn’t connect. With all that in mind, the memorial was a bit of a somber experience, now at 34 I understand the depths of what happened, that some one thought these innocent people had to die because he had an issue with the federal government, labeled as an act of terror, I saw it more as a desperate mans faulty logic that changed our country. On the other hand there are people who deal with these kinds of acts on a daily basis. We are blessed that this is not a regular occurrence on our soil.
After several hours looking through and talking about the memorial we packed back into the truck and headed back to our base camp in Kansas. It was a great three day trip, that the family will not forget.
On another day we took a visit to Kaw Lake near the Kaw Indian reservation in Oklahoma. Kaw Lake is a must stop place for anyone with in a 6 hour radius. It s a beautiful lake with plenty to do. Interesting landscape for hiking around the lake and, of course, fun in the water. We definitely appreciate the Army Corps of engineers for this little gem.