Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Top 10 List for Oklahoma

Today I took my two youngest to Oklahoma City, where I met my parents. Oklahoma City is the halfway point from Wichita to Dallas, and the kids were going to spend a week with Grammy and Papa because their house was "too quiet". Definitely not something I can say about our home. So with many tears, I handed over my precious children and headed back to Dallas. It was a very quiet car ride. It was weird. But it did give me time to think. We have traveled through Oklahoma multiple times, but have never really stopped (except for gas and food) to see some of their sights.

Why not? Well sometimes we are in a rush to get to Kansas or Texas, but still... could it really hurt to stop and spend a few hours in Oklahoma? And if we did... what would we stop and do? With these questions in mind, I stopped at the Oklahoma Welcome Center and picked up their travel book to just see what Oklahoma has to offer. And here is my top 10 list for the Oneys in Oklahoma.

1. Attend a Native American Cultural Event/Festival/Pow-wow. Oklahoma is home to 39 Native American tribes and it's name "okla-homma" means "red people" in Choctaw. I think this one should be pretty achievable.

2. Oklahoma City's Stockyards City. Curious to see how it measures up to the Fort Worth Stockyards.

3. Forts Gibson, Sill, Reno, and Supply were outposts for the famous Buffalo Soldiers (US African American military soldiers who protected settlers from the Native Americans) were known for their bravery. I'd like to see at least one of them.

4. Hike and perhaps swim at Turner Falls Park. Waterfall and a good hike.... I'm in!

5. Go to the Chickasaw Cultural Center. It's not far from I-35 so that is a definite plus since it wouldn't be too out of the way for us when we are travelling back and forth between Kansas and Texas.

6. Drive through the Wichita Mountain range and hike at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Hiking and wild animals who will not likely bother/eat our children.... I'm in!

7. Alabaster Caverns State Park. Sounds intriguing. Kansas has a salt mine, but it would be interesting to see a gypsum mine. And a neat opportunity to search for black alabaster.

8. Go gambling. If you've driven through Oklahoma, you've perhaps seen a casino roughly every 30 miles. I've always lost in Vegas.... perhaps my luck will change in Oklahoma..... or not. Still... worth a try.
9. Tour Pahuska to see where my grandmother grew up and perhaps even see the "Pioneer Woman". This is out of the way, but I can't remember a time when I was here, although I know my dad used to visit here often with his mother. It would be nice to just see the town she came from. And a chance to perhaps run into the "Pioneer Woman" at a grocery store or park or parking lot, would definitely be awesome. Perhaps I should carry all of her cookbooks with me when travelling through the state. That way in case we collided... I could get them signed. Wishful thinking this one... but dream big right?

10. Visit a Native American reservation. I'm hoping my friend Melissa might be able to help me with this one. And perhaps #1 as well since she has the connections.

Some of these will be more practical, as they are not far from I-35. Others are a bit out of the way, but still worth perhaps visiting sometime.

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