Road Trip Chronicles: Oklahoma

Friday through next Thursday my family and I will be road tripping it up to Tulsa, Oklahoma, right in the center of Tornado Alley. Sound dangerous? Well, not so much in the winter. Tulsa is a relatively low-key city where I have spent many a summer at my grandma’s house, visiting my cousins and aunts and uncles. I really like Oklahoma and, while the 12-hour drive through the middle of nowhere isn’t exactly thrilling, I’m excited to visit Tulsa for a week. I thought I would treat you all to some fun Oklahoma facts and a quick walk down my personal memory lane from my many visits to the Sooner state.

Image via Netstate.com

Oklahoma is probably most famous for… I’m not sure. The musical? The Dust Bowl back in the ’30s or the in-state college football rivalry between OU and OSU? (No, not that OSU or OU). My mom, who grew up in Tulsa and attended college at TU before going to grad school in Arizona, thinks Oklahoma is special because “the speed limit is 75 miles per hour!” Thanks, mom! That sums up Oklahoma.

Anyway, here are some fun facts about Oklahoma that I borrowed from Legends of America.com:

  • Per square mile, Oklahoma has the most tornadoes of any state.
  • Originally, Oklahoma was set aside as Indian territory, but Americans are selfish bastards and took over their land during the 1889 land rush. (Okay, maybe I added that “selfish bastards” part in but seriously!).
  • Oklahoma is home to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.
  • Garth Brooks was born in Tulsa.
  • Hanson (one of my favorite bands still to this day, no I’m not embarrassed) is from Tulsa.
  • Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any other state.
  • The state dance is the square dance.
  • The official state beverage is milk. And I think that is where I’ll end this list.

Even though to most OK sounds boring, to me the state represents family. My cousin was baptized there. My other cousin got married there. My sister broke her wrist at the Tulsa zoo. My cousin Kelli and I discovered an Old Spice bottle from the ’70s in my grandparent’s bathroom. My grandpa is buried in Tulsa. I remember flying to the city by myself for the first time and attending soccer camp with Kelli, and everyone thought I had a weird accent. I’ve been to Big Splash water park more times than I can remember (and it’s freaking awesome). I started to like golf when my family and I attended the 101st US Open in 2001 in Tulsa, even though I’m sure I complained a lot about the heat and that it was boring. But most importantly Oklahoma represents spending time with family and childhood memories – arguing with my sisters over the backseat for the long drive west, buying Eskimo Joe’s t-shirts at the mall, eating at Luby’s cafeteria/buffet with my extended family and sitting around my grandma’s house or swimming in their neighbor’s pool, all of us being together.

My family in Tulsa, 2007, at my cousin Kelli's wedding.
My family in Tulsa, 2007, at my cousin Kelli’s wedding. There are pictures of me from earlier years but I am saving you all from seeing me pre-2007. It wasn’t pretty.

Maybe I’m not selling it right but Oklahoma truly is awesome. I hate when people ask “what is there to do in Oklahoma?” because honestly there is so much that I’ll probably just shrug and say nothing. But that’s a lie because there is everything to do there, but it mostly revolves around family.

Ah! No more sappy posts! Just to bring some negativity to all of this mushiness, I am not looking forward to the drive there and back. But I do like driving underneath the world’s (now former, apparently) largest McDonald’s.

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