The excitement was building today as we left shortly after breakfast and headed the nearly 200 miles to Oklahoma City along I-35. The border between Texas and Oklahoma was about an hour’s journey and it came upon us very quickly. My daughter had fallen asleep in the passenger seat and I shouted ‘Oklahoma’ as I saw the ‘Welcome to Oklahoma’ sign but not in time for her to take a photo of the event.
Welcome to state 45 for Max.
Not far over the border is an enormous casino resort called ‘Winstar World Casino’ whose frontage has iconic buildings from around the globe. There was the Chrysler Building from New York and London’s Houses of Parliament as well as the Colosseum from Rome. A very impressive looking resort near Thackerville, Oklahoma.
We arrived in Oklahoma City about 11.30 and parked behind the Oklahoma memorial just opposite the 09.01 end. The museum to the bombing is right next door and separated by immaculate gardens from the reflecting pool and remains of the damaged walls that outline where the Murrah Federal Building once stood.
The memorial is just too beautiful to describe and is a well thought out and designed tribute to all those lives lost in 1995. On the opposite side of the reflecting pool are 9 columns of stone and glass chairs each representing the floor that someone died. There are many smaller chairs representing the children who fell victim to the atrocity. Below each chair that bears the name of the fallen is a light housed in the glass portion and although we were there in daylight to see it illuminated at night must be a sight to behold.
There are park rangers on hand to talk about memorial and what happened and why one end is called 09.01 and the other 09.03. The bomb went of at 09.02 and so each end reflects a before and after message.
We wandered around the city heading further downtown and again there were very few people around. There are some magnificent buildings in the city in over a couple of blocks.
One of the extras that Oklahoma offered was to experience a tiny portion of Route 66, the Mother Road or Will Rogers Highway. In Oklahoma City there is stretch of Historic Route 66 in a small area of Uptown. We found the Milk Bottle Building and Tower Theatre as well as RT-19 Robot who proudly stands opposite.
We treated ourselves to a donut at Hurt’s Donuts before heading over to check in at our accommodation for the evening in the Fairgrounds area of the city. It wasn’t the greatest location and the entrance to the car park was shared between the Super 8 and the Red Roof Inn. You got a feel for what it was like from the cars and vans that were for sale in the lot and a motorbike that had been vandalised just left between the two units. The room was acceptable but the walk in shower didn’t drain properly and was slopping over the shower tray onto the floor which was reported to reception and maintenance. They agreed to move our room if it couldn’t be sorted the following day.
In the early evening we headed east to Arcadia to explore what we could see of Route 66. Our GPS was the first issue because it doesn’t recognise Route 66 and we couldn’t get it to use US40 either. Finally we picked up some signage for Historic Route 66 and found Pops. Visitors are greeted by an enormous neon lit sculpture of a pop bottle with a straw. It stands at 66 ft (obviously) and is the entrance for a fuel stop and diner with the attraction being all the different soda’s that they colour scheme as well as Route 66 souvenirs.
The other attraction is the Round Barn a little bit further down the road. There are antique stores and signage to welcome visitors and there is available parking around the back of the Barn. It is historical and the last of it’s kind but not really that interesting if I am honest.
We drove back through the town of Edmund, OK which had a really attractive Main Street with bars and restaurants and a very old fashioned feel to it. Visitors to Route 66 search out the mural on Main St painted onto the side of a tyre workshop. One of it’s other claims to fame is the Blue Hippo that sits on Broadway Avenue. No one really knows why it is there but it has become an attraction never the less.
Day 8 – San Antonio, Gruene & Austin
Day 5 – Oklahoma City & Route 66 (part 2)
Day 2 – Waco to Fort Worth & Dallas
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