Sunday, February 14, 2010

Oklahoma City

I've driven through Oklahoma City many times, and I've caught glimpses of the city skyline. I've always wondered about the capital city, but never deeply enough to make a point of stopping. A few years ago my Mom attended a conference there, and told me she loved the place. She showed me pictures from her trip, and I HAD to get there. I've been trying to plan a trip North along 35 for almost two years to see the things she saw. I didn't want to commit to STAYING there until I was sure I liked it. Nobody talks about OK City. I thought maybe the conference was just REALLY boring, and she was just making the comparison based on that. It's been difficult to carve out a day to make the trip. It's about 3 (3.5) hours up the road from here. I've planned it on several tentative dates, but I also wanted a pretty enough day to do a little walking around, and a slow enough weekend to not be stressed about a day away. This Friday I had the day off work, and after recieving an unexpected day at home, I woke up on Saturday with no Saturday School (rare), snow still covered the roads, but the streets were clear, and so Mom and I drove north.

We stopped along the border to take a break, but the ladies in the visitor center were so sweet, and they kept offering up information, and we accidentally found out that this weekend there was a bull riding competition being held in the stockyards, AND a huge craft show on the fair grounds. I did NOT need to know this....
We arrived downtown, and our first stop was the Memorial-which is really the reason I wanted to go. I have to blog about this separately. It's beautiful. It's moving. It can't be sandwiches in this silly post.

On a side note, the men on duty that day at the memorial were just about some of the kindest, most helpful people I've ever met. I was asked at LEAST 5 times by each man I passed if I had any questions, or needed any directions. They are ALL invited to my birthday party.
After we visited the memorial, we drove down to the stockyards.

Sure enough there were enough cowboys to make the process authentic, but how about this little guy...

:This portion of the blog is brought to you by "My southern roots forget the letter g and other random, stereotypical southern sayin's.": I wanted to steal him reeaaal bad, but his grandfather looked very large. Not only was he stinkin' cute, he looked up at his Grandad as they were waiting to cross the street, and he said, 'Giddyup, Grandaddy.' All I'm sayin''s a good thing his grandfather is so big.
OK, so then we grabbed some 'grub.' I had read about the Cattleman's Cafe in 1,001 Places to See Before You Die (I'm one place closer).

It was worth the stop (I did take pictures of the food, but I'll save you). The important thing is they brought out these huge crouton's with the salad that were soooo good, and giant homemade rolls with the main 'stuff.' I got a Saturday lunch special, and for 8 dollars I got a salad, all the previous mentioned bread, corn, mashed potatoes, and chicken fried chicken. It was a steal. The booths, and innards of the restaurant were 'old,' but I think that's the point, this little landmark has been serving up meals for over a hundred years. We had to wait outside for about 30 minutes for a table (at 2:30 in the afternoon). I don't know if it was the competition in town, or if it's always this crowded, but it was a good choice.
I also managed to run into a little store called Stockyard's Mercantile across the street from the restaurant, and find a few cute things.
After the stockyards we headed over to the craft fair. They were hosting a HUGE craft fair called Affair of the Heart.

I'd never heard of this before, but apparently it happens several times a year (I think the next show is October 22nd). It was 6 bucks to get in, and we didn't even see half of it (because we weren't expecting to be going). There were no less than 7 HUGE buildings full of vendors (we walked through 3, and I managed to buy as many things). There was enough bows, rhinestones, and glitter to keep me happy. (I think a lot of the same vendors sell in Canton-a collection of homemade food mixes, sewn goodies, craft projects, jewelry, antique vendors etc).
We headed back down the road at that point, and didn't have time to see Brick Town (which Mom said reminds her of the riverwalk in San Antonio with restaurants etc built along the river), or hop on and off the trolleys at the downtown stop. They also have a great 3A baseball farm team that feeds into the Rangers (I feel a ballpark dog coming on in my near future). I'm definitely going back, and I'm definitely spending more time exploring the city. I coudn't have asked for a better combination of experience, or prettier skies. I think we are in serious like. Oklahoma City, where have you been all my life?
My entire album (almost) is here: