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.