Thursday, May 28, 2015 – The second half of our visit to Oklahoma City was spent enjoying the beauty of their Myriad Gardens and Observatory. Click here to read the post about the first half of our day.
This amazing place is smack dab in the middle of downtown Oklahoma City. I thought how nice it would be for New Orleans to have the raunchy part of the French Quarter plucked out and this type of beauty put in its place. Right behind much of the beauty were skyscrapers where people were working. How wonderful this must be to work in this beautiful and clean city and get to spend time in the gardens.
The pictures below are from within the The Crystal Bridge Tropical Observatory, the round building below.
From their website: The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory’s unique design has earned attention and praise in the architectural community. It is 224 feet long, 70 feet in diameter, and is covered by 3,028 sections of translucent, double-layered acrylic panels. The Conservatory includes 13,000 square feet of plant display area in two distinct climates: the Tropical Wet Zone, which is at the south end and is watered daily; and the Tropical Dry Zone at the north end which receives water from April through September, followed by drought from November through March. Some 2,000 varieties of plants and a 35-foot waterfall round out the spectacular features of the Conservatory.
As I press the PUBLISH key to get this out to ya’ll we are on the road north headed to Wichita, Kansas for a week. The route we are taking is more scenic than interstate so it will take us a little longer than usual to get there. It should be a four hour trip but as usually happens with us since we stop a lot it could take 6-8 hours! The weather is already drying up as we get out of the rainy area we were in. Hope this continues!
Thursday, May 28, 2015 – The first stop on today’s adventure was at the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial in Oklahoma City where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed on April 19, 1995. I’ve copied information from their website about the various areas at the memorial and added my pictures to each section.
I personally was overwhelmed at the emotions I felt walking through the area, seeing each of the individual memorials and the hundreds of remembrances left on the fence. The reflection pool being where the building originally was and the symbolism of the two gates – one 9:01 and the other 9:03. I hope the descriptions below will help you get some tiny idea of what an important and well done memorial this is. It was a very reverent place. No one was yelling or running around and it shows the true respect visitors here have for those who lost their lives in this horrible terrorist attack.
The stones we walked on around the reflection pool were recovered from the building.
Gates of Time These monumental twin gates frame the moment of destruction – 9:02 a.m. – and mark the formal entrances to the Memorial. The East Gate represents 9:01 a.m. on April 19, and the innocence of the city before the attack. The West Gate represents 9:03 a.m., the moment we were changed forever, and the hope that came from the horror in the moments and days following the bombing.
Reflecting Pool The pool occupies what was once N.W. Fifth Street. Here, a shallow depth of gently flowing water helps soothe wounds, with calming sounds providing a peaceful setting for quiet thoughts. The placid surface shows the reflection of someone changed forever by their visit to the Memorial.
Field of Empty Chairs The 168 chairs represent the lives taken on April 19, 1995. They stand in nine rows to represent each floor of the building, and each chair bears the name of someone killed on that floor. Nineteen smaller chairs stand for the children. The field is located on the footprint of the Murrah Building.
Survivor Wall On the east end of the Memorial stand the only remaining walls from the Murrah Building. These walls remind us of those who survived the terrorist attack, many with serious injuries. Today, more than 600 names are inscribed on salvaged pieces of granite from the Murrah Building lobby.
The Survivor Tree The Survivor Tree, an American Elm, bore witness to the violence of April 19, 1995, and withstood the full force of the attack. Years later, it continues to stand as a living symbol of resilience. The circular promontory surrounding the tree offers a place for gathering and viewing the Memorial.
Rescuers’ Orchard Like the people who rushed in to help, this army of nut- and flower-bearing trees surrounds and protects the Survivor Tree. An inscription encircling the Survivor Tree facing the orchard reads: To the courageous and caring who responded from near and far, we offer our eternal gratitude, as a thank you to the thousands of rescuers and volunteers who helped.
Children’s Area In the aftermath of the blast, children from around the country and the world sent in their own expressions of encouragement and love. That care is represented today by a wall of tiles painted by children and sent to Oklahoma City in 1995. In addition, buckets of chalk and chalkboards built into the ground of the Children’s Area give children a place where they can continue to share their feelings — an important component of the healing process.
The Fence The first Fence was installed to protect the site of the Murrah Building. Almost immediately, people began to leave tokens of love and hope on the Fence. Those items now total more than 60,000 and are collected and preserved in our archives. Today, more than 200 feet of the original Fence gives people the opportunity to leave tokens of remembrance and hope.
We did not go to the Memorial Museum which is an interactive learning experience that takes you on a chronological self-guided tour through the story of April 19, 1995, and the days, weeks and years that followed the bombing of Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The story tracks the remarkable journey of loss, resilience, justice and hope.
After taking so many pictures today and wanting to share so many of them with ya’ll I decided to break up what we saw today into two posts. Tomorrow I will share with you the amazing Myriad Gardens and Observatory that are just a few blocks from the memorial in downtown Oklahoma City.
We’ll leave here early in the morning headed to Halstead, Kansas (outside of Wichita) in the morning for more adventure and fun.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 – We pulled out of Terra Starr RV Park in Checotah, Oklahoma at 9am this morning headed west to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We’re making a stop along the way to have lunch with my long time friend from church Susan Randels Ward in Shawnee, OK about 90 minutes west of Tulsa. We have not seen each other in at least 30 years, probably more.
Here’s Susan and I today! Susan took us into the old downtown part of Shawnee for lunch at an old local restaurant, Hamburger King. You order on the phone that is in your booth. I got to experience ordering that way and it was cool! The burgers were quite delicious and it was really neat to enjoy some of their local charm. We both really appreciate Susan taking us there!
On our way there we drove through Oklahoma Baptist University where Susan graduated from. Her dad, my childhood pastor, and her mom (Bro. and Mrs. Randels as I knew them) went there also! Beautiful old campus that has grown considerably since Susan graduated.
We had a wonderful visit, catching up on everyone in each other’s lives. We have so many common childhood and youth memories and couldn’t possibly touch on each of them during a short visit, but we tried hard too!
On Tuesday (yesterday) we went into Tulsa, OK and looked around. It’s a spread out beautiful city. We made a stop at Sam’s Club and ate for the first time ever at a Whataburger. Very good food! We wanted to see a movie but of the 10 showing there wasn’t one we wanted to see.
On our way back to the RV Park we stopped at Matt and Alanna’s again. Matt was outside working hard cutting the grass and we sat inside in the cool with Alanna and the girls. We played and visited. When we were here on Saturday none of the pictures we took were of Alanna or I so we corrected that and got a couple today!
Until I knew exactly when we were leaving the Tulsa area, I couldn’t make reservations for travels past the park we were in. That’s usually not a problem. However yesterday afternoon and evening when I called multiple parks in and around Oklahoma City they were all full. Seems the flooding and tornadoes have misplaced a lot of people into parks and brought insurance adjusters into the area. I tried RV parks, state parks, city parks, casinos and nothing. If it was available it was well out of what we want to pay. Because of that, we’ll be staying a couple of nights in a Walmart parking lot in Shawnee and one in Oklahoma City. We don’t mind the Walmart set up, but we’ve never done it two nights in a row.
To show you how quickly RV life changes, we now have reservations for two nights at the Shawnee Exposition Center in Shawnee. A friend (fellow RVer) who is from Oklahoma mentioned it, we called and they have plenty of openings! We are now here parked under some nice shade trees enjoying the Oklahoma sunshine. It’s rained so many days that I want to acknowledge the goodness of God’s beautiful sunshine!!! We are about 35 miles from Oklahoma City and will spend all day tomorrow in the city trying to see and do all we can fit into one day!
Our recent plans were to stay in the OKC area a week and then head west to Amarillo, TX, Albuquerque, NM and up to Colorado. Seems most of those places are having weather issues also, so we’re changing course again and going to head up toward Wichita, KS after leaving Shawnee and stay for a week at a Coast to Coast park there. From there we’ll go west to Colorado and hope to stay at least a month in that state!
That about sums up all that’s going on and is planned.
Monday, May 25, 2015 – Happy Memorial Day! My friend M’Lou Thompson put the following statement on Facebook this morning. She said it so eloquently that I want to share here:
On this Memorial Day, as I enjoy and appreciate seeing the pictures of husbands, fathers, uncles, etc., posted of handsome young men in uniforms, it occurs to me that we always see these soldiers smiling and looking directly into cameras, and we forget for the moment, or even dismiss, that those cameras show us nothing of their actual sacrifice–the physical and emotional pain, the scars that never heal, and of course for some, the loss of a precious life. We owe them so much!
We spent our Memorial Day enjoying the Oklahoma Renaissance Festival at Muskogee, Oklahoma about 40 minutes north of our RV park. Since 1996, the festival features over 90 artisans and merchants, you can dine on renaissance fare, and interact with scores of dashing nobles, peasants, and regal knights. From the village to the king’s royal castle to the magical depths of the Enchanted Forest, there are dozens of locations throughout the Castle’s Kingdom for visitors to explore and enjoy. The festival is held on weekends in May and Memorial Day.
A very well constructed and planned event. Around every corner were small structures with all manner of craft demonstrated and sold, resting places, entertainment from olden times, and renaissance related food. Since it rained continually for the last few days the walking areas were damp but the sun shone the whole time we were there (an amazing thing right there) and the thousands of people attending the festival all seemed to have a great time.
It’s surprising to see the large percentage of visitors wearing renaissance period clothing. Several of the small structures sold men’s and women’s clothing, corsets (!!), hats, chains and anything you’d need to dress like they did. This was their 20th annual event and it clearly has grown into a well oiled production. They even had people just sitting throughout talking in the old way of talking and visiting with whomever would talk to them. One man had Roy and I individually sit with him while he made up a song using our name!
When we stopped for lunch I ordered a Rat on a Stick and Roy got a sandwich with an odd name. The Rat on a Stick was polish sausage hand wrapped in garlic fry bread. Yum! I saw folks walking around with fried turkey legs and lots of old time beer steins all around!
I’d highly recommend this festival to anyone in the area in the month of May each year. It’s on N Fern Mountain Road in Muskogee, OK. Here’s several pictures of what all we saw today. A wonderful family event for families of all ages.
Well that was our Memorial Day adventure! We are hoping for a good weather day tomorrow as we are going into Tulsa to see what’s there!!! Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!!
Sunday, May 24, 2015 – Good thing we love being in our RV because we’re doing a lot of that!!!! After watching the waters rise in the river in Arkansas we hoped that would be the last we’d see of rising waters. But noooooo, Lake Eufaula (Oklahoma) has risen well over its banks before we even arrived and is still growing! We are parked several hundred feet from the edge of the water.
Yes we do things other than watch water rise but at the present time that seems to be the only thing to do while it continues to pour down. The pictures below start on Thursday and go through today Sunday. From what the locals say the water is a good 100 feet past Lake Eufaula’s banks and has been that way for about a week.
Today’s pictures really don’t show much more water coming on shore except in one picture. I’ll point that out. With the way my Severe Weather watch on my phone kept going off last night about Flash Flooding I’d have thought it was outside our RVs front door. I’m thankful it was not.
We did spend some dry time going to church with a young couple we know. Matt and Alanna Traylor and their girls Hope and Karstyn now live in Oklahoma about an hour from where we are staying. Ours sons, grew up at Trinity (our home church) with Matt. Alanna was my student worker at Southeastern for a few years including being together on September 11, 2001. One thing I remember about that day was Alanna printing out a scripture with Phillipians 4:6-7 and stuck it to the file cabinet next to her. That paper stayed on that file cabinet for many years. The scripture is in the picture below. Man did I need that scripture that day.
We went to their church, LifeChurch.tv. They have several churches in seven US states including 17 in Oklahoma. The one in Broken Arrow has 8 services on Saturday evening and Sunday They are also accessible globally online at lifechurch.tv. I’ve never been to such a mega mega church. I believe the sermon is broadcast to all of the churches preached by either the Senior Pastor or one of the staff. Being from a traditional Southern Baptist church this was big different! They told us before we went it that the music was very loud and there were ear plugs which Roy took advantage of. This generations church is very different from ours but as long as we are all praising our Lord, I believe God is satisfied. A biblical sermon was preached from Phillipians and it was really neat to be in church with our wonderful young friends.
We went over to their house which is near the church and had a great visit getting to catch up on each others lives. The girls were a joy to be with especially since we’ve been Madisyn deprived for a few weeks. They danced, played the violin, had a pillow fight with us and were just delightful.
Their family moved to Oklahoma so that their youngest daughter, the little violinist, could get intensive treatment for her extremely severe allergies. I admire them so much for not only the Christian couple they are but for being willing to uproot their lives in Florida and go to where their daughter could get the best care.
I did promise Roy that I would share with ya’ll that I wouldn’t leave their home in time for us to get home before dark. I was having to much fun talking. But anyway, since we left much later and stopped at Walmart we wound up driving home in the pouring rain during a tornado watch. With no roadside lights for miles and miles, lots of wind and pouring rain it was a scary experience. Okay, honey I told everyone I threatened our very existence because I like to talk!
We are hunkered down in our RV today while I do my RVillage work and we watch television. Tomorrow should be better and we plan to get out to do some sightseeing.
May 21, 2015 – Here we are in the beautiful state of Oklahoma!!! The first picture below is me looking rather ratty as we arrived in Oklahoma at their Visitors Center. This really nice lady loaded me up with books and magazines of everything to see in and around Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma sign on a nearby tower looked so cool that I had to take a picture.
We (Roy, not I) drove a little over 250 miles today to reach Checotah, Oklahoma where we are staying at Terra Starr RV Park. This is a Coast to Coast Resort but since we stayed the last two weeks in a Coast to Coast resort we have to be out for one week before staying in one again. Terra Starr also accepts Passport America so that’s what we’re using to give us a discounted rate of $12 per night plus $1 for 50 amp service.
This is a good size park with very clean buildings and grounds Their pool is sparkling so I’m hoping we have a little warmer weather while we’re here so we can enjoy a dip. I am always looking for cooler weather and this is perfect for general living, just not swimming. It is cool with a slight breeze right now and we’re sitting out under the trees next to us enjoying some relaxing after the long drive.
Roy made it through a very stressful first part of our trip driving through all the winding curves of the Arkansas mountains. That flatland Louisiana boy is not use to that! The second half was in mostly flat Oklahoma land.
I worked for about an hour for RVillage which is kind of fun to do on the road while the RV is traveling 60 miles per hour! I learned some new stuff I’ll be doing this weekend and on Memorial Day.
One thing I’ve never seen before, which they have at this park, is a storm shelter. First thing I saw upon checking in was a notice of bad weather coming over the weekend. The check in lady told me where the shelter is and that it will always be open.
What a blessing to pull up at our spot and find out we are right across the street from the storm shelter. It’s decoratively painted on the outside, I guess so it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. We went over to look in and took a couple of pictures. This is a novelty to me that I hope I never have to be in during bad weather. This is inside: This is outside:
I am quite thankful it’s across the street from us and that the clubhouse is next door where they serve Ice Cream in the evenings for the guests!!!! The swimming pool is right next door with volleyball, tennis and basketball courts nearby.
The park is on Lake Eufaula which has risen over its banks as it seems much of the rivers in northern Arkansas and this part of Oklahoma has done over the last several days. We’re far enough away from the lake that I hope it will not come visit us! We just came back from taking a walk down there and what a sight!!! I’ll write about that and share pictures tomorrow.
We’re both looking forward to the next few days of resting, sightseeing and visiting with friends.
.Monday, May 18, 2015 – Today my mom, Josie Mae Blum Traylor would have been 95 years old. If you’ve been reading our blog for a while you know how very much we loved her. She’s with God in Heaven and I know is looking down on us with love. Happy Birthday mama!Now that I know for sure (or as sure as RVing goes) where we’ll be going in Oklahoma and when, I want to share so you’ll know what will be coming up in our adventures in just a bit. We have two more full days of Arkansas exploring and then we’ll be taking on Oklahoma later this week!
We have to be out of our Coast to Coast resort system for a week before we stay at another one for free, so the two parks we’re staying at in Oklahoma are Passport America Parks.
Terra Starr Park in Checota, OK – near Tulsa, OK
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma to see Matt and Alanna Traylor and their girls! Alanna was my student worker at Southeastern and her husband Matt grew up with our boys at our home church.
Oklahoma Renaissance Festival in Muskogee, OK near Tulsa
Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Refuge in Bartlesville, OK north of Tulsa
Blue Bell was on the list and hopefully they will re-open by the time we get there.
Braum’s Family Farms – Ice Cream tours of dairy processing plant in Tuttle OK near Tulsa.
On to AAA Adult RV Park in New Castle, OK near Oklahoma City
Visit with Susan Randels, my childhood pastor’s daughter, who was my dear friend throughout my childhood and my youth!
Myriad Gardens OK City–One of Oklahoma City’s public spaces, offering its visitors a 15 acre natural escape in the very heart of the metro known as downtown Oklahoma City. May also go to the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory within the Gardens grounds.
Oklahoma City Memorial Museum and outside symbolic Memorial – Museum and memorial dedicated to the victims of the bombing in Oklahoma City of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
These were all recommended by friends so thanks you guys! The recommended places in Boise, OK are too far away from our travel route but you never know when our route may take us there in the future!
I have a couple of back up things to do in case some of these don’t work out. Then again this might be too much for us so we’ll cut back or add as needed.
As always, our RV life is constantly changing so any or all of the above could get changed at a moment’s notice!
I hope you guys will continue following our adventures as Dora and the Explorers take on Oklahoma!!!!
Thursday, May 14, 2015 – We’re staying in the park today but yesterday we went into the town of Mountain View, Arkansas. We walked around much of the downtown main street checking out the shops. Our RV park is a couple of miles outside of the town. It’s a beautiful drive with lots of mountainous scenery. Here’s a couple of pictures of the downtown area of town.
We first visited a fudge shop owned by Mr. Ernest, Stonebrook Fudge Factory and Candy Company. He let us taste some of his fudge, Roy tried Chocolate Cheesecake and I tried Banana Pudding fudge. Oh how delicious! If I didn’t have diabetes I’d have purchased a pound of each. We browsed the shop buying a few salt water taffy and a couple of treats for Madisyn.
We went on to the local Military Shop/Flea Market. That was a cool place to visit and of course we left there with a couple of things for us and some fun things for Madisyn!
Lastly we stopped at this hippie shop called For Mother Earth! I love hippie shops!! Must be from being a teenager in the 60s and 70s!
The man working at the hippie shop was so nice and even told us where there was some pickin going on today! Finally we get to hear pickin!!
We found this giant rocker on the sidewalk and of course immediately thought Photo Op!! Roy wouldn’t climb into it but I did real fast.
Making our way down this little alley way we came across the lovely Pickin Square. Really pretty place with blooming flowers, lots of benches and a gazebo in the middle from which beautiful sounds of music were coming! How very super cool, quaint, peaceful and happy this was!
The weather was beautiful again yesterday and the breeze was nice and cool. We sat and listened while the musicians played several songs. Can’t say how I like this quaint little town. I could easily live here and come hear these folks every day. Seems like different folks come every day and play for as long as they want to. If we didn’t need to get on to zip lining I’d have stayed much longer. We will definitely come back again to sit and enjoy this folk music in town! Here’s pictures of the pickin and a video!
Our friend, Elizabeth Halpin Smith, told us that there was a bench in the park in honor of her father in law, Donnie Smith, who played music here before he passed away. We saw that bench today and asked the musicians if any of them knew Donnie. Some did and they said he was a great musician! It’s kind of neat to connect our Louisiana life with things in other states! Here’s a picture of his bench.
Roys outside working on his fly fishing rod so he can do some fishing now that the river’s gone down!