When we began this road trip I was determined to find some hidden gems in the Midwest and perhaps change misguided opinions along the way, particularly in the state of Oklahoma. In the spirit of full disclosure, Oklahoma is one of those states that has been difficult to wrap my head and arms around, mainly because of their weather. Sorry Oklahomans, but I do try to be honest.
Some fun “weather facts” about Oklahoma:
“Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain…”
- Oklahoma is besieged with an average of 54 tornadoes annually and 15 of those are significant.
- On 11/11/11, Oklahoma City reported both a record high temp of 83° and a low of 17°.
- The nation’s first tornado warning was issued on March 25, 1948, when a tornado touched down at Tinker Air Force Base, with no injuries thankfully.
In early November, 2011, my husband experienced his first earthquake while sitting in our RV near Oklahoma City, a 5.7 magnitude, nothing to scoff at. At the same time he felt the shock so did the meteorologist we were watching on television. The look on each of their faces was interesting. This earthquake was followed by two rather significant after-shocks and after a day filled with hail storms, flash floods and several tornadoes reported in the area. So, perhaps there is a reason for my inability to fully embrace Oklahoma life.
Since we have children and grandchildren in Oklahoma, visits to this midwestern state are necessary, and during this visit we decided to do a housesit in Tulsa, allowing us more time in a relaxed environment to enjoy family. Our housesit was in a desirable area, right next to the bike path, which we had read had been expanded upon in recent years.
It was a trip filled with home-cooked meals and relaxing conversation, long bike rides, walks through local parks, a hike with Terry’s youngest son Keith, and a visit to a lovely historic site, the Philbrook Museum, which features lovely statues and framed artwork, as well as beautiful gardens reminiscent of a scaled-down Versailles in France.
And a few unusual Oklahoma facts:
- Because of so many sightings, an annual ‘Big Foot Festival’ is still celebrated in eastern Oklahoma.
- The World Championship Cow Chip Throw is held each April in Beaver, Oklahoma. No shortage of cow chips here I’m guessing, as Oklahoma is the 4th-largest cattle producing state in the US.
- There are 200 man-made lakes in the state and a rule on the books that whaling is illegal in all of them…hmmm.
My opinion of Tulsa has been raised considerably with this visit, but not so much that I would want to make it my home. There is still that crazy, unpredictable weather to consider. 😉
“We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand
And when we say
We’re only say-in “you’re doing fine Oklahoma,
Oklahoma OK.” ~ Oscar Hammerstein
49 thoughts on “My Apologies Oklahoma”
Oklahoma sounds like one quirky kind of place!
It is rather quirky.
You made Oklahoma sound rather interesting!
Tulsa really surprised me, in a very pleasant way!
Some places take a little more effort than others. I think the only reason I’d visit OK would be to visit the Pioneer Woman’s place. Love the photo of Terry with his son and granddaughter.
Thanks Ingrid! I had talked to Pam about their visit to the Pioneer Woman’s place. Wish we had had the opportunity to get there.
Your flower may be a purple Angles Trumpet. A Datura. Member of the Jimpson Weeds.
Thanks Connie. I told Terry when we were in those gardens that it reminded me of a datura plant.
Other than the temps and tornadoes, Oklahoma is actually OK 🙂 You’ve got great captures of beautiful art especially at the Gathering Place. We are only 100 miles apart for we are currently in OKC but leaving tomorrow 🙂
We normally go to OKC while in OK but didn’t this visit, as we were doing a housesit. I was pleased to find some interesting things to do while in Tulsa and get some exercise.
I don’t know why, but I have never had a desire to visit Oklahoma, but you have taken some beautiful pictures, and I’m glad you had a chance to visit with family. Sounds like you were able to get a house sit, there. That’s great to be able to do that, because it’s cheaper than hotels/motels, and you don’t have to worry about imposing on whoever you visit.
Forgot to ask: How’s your finger doing?
Steadily improving Joan. Thanks for asking!
I have felt the same about OK Joan, but given the kids and grandkids live there, we will continue to visit. We were glad to find some interesting places to explore. There are lots of beautiful neighborhoods in Tulsa as well. It was rather charming.
I have to admit that my impression of Oklahoma (which I’ve been to but don’t remember much about) is more the log cabin and less the museum that looks like Versailles 🙂 That grevillea flower is beautiful! Are the earthquakes a result of fracking? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t considered “earthquake country” before that started. Yikes!
Your impressions matched mine, but this visit happily proved me wrong. I still couldn’t live there due to weather alone, however. Scientific studies do attribute the rise in earthquakes to be a result of fracking. Wikipedia states that between 1978 and 2009 OK averaged two earthquakes per year of at least a 3.0 magnitude, then between 2014 and 2017 that figure jumped to hundreds per year…wow!
How fun to be with family! I have never been to Oklahoma.
It has been fun to visit family. OK has been an acquired taste for me Nicole. 🙂
It sounds like a great family visit, but, chuckle, I’m glad I don’t have family in Oklahoma 🙂
It was a good family visit. And I know what you mean Alison. As I told Nicole, OK has been an acquired taste for me. 🙂
Hi, Luann – I have never been to Oklahoma but you did make it sound very interesting (despite your honestly). I love following your travels!
Thanks so much! With much of our family living in the Midwest, I have had to embrace a part of the country I ran from right out of high school.
Oklahomans have to be hearty people to face all of that turmoil. That was quite an earthquake.
Looks really lovely in your pictures, and I agree with you the weather is a point not to get settled there.
Thanks Ute! With so many natural weather disasters, I can’t fathom choosing to live in “tornado alley”.
some beautiful things in OK, but those roads!!!!
Those roads are definitely not to our liking either. Hope you are doing well David. We are now in WI and would love to see you and Les if you are up to it.
I have never been there, even though we lived in the Midwest for a long time, but Chicago and therefore Wisconsin and Michigan. i love that ceiling photo, the nature shots and the three generations. That’s always fun!!
Honestly Peta, I would probably not spend much time in OK if it wasn’t for family. Chicago, Wisconsin, and Michigan are all areas we enjoy very much.
We drove through OK once and I remember it being a boring drive. Just spent a few nights in campgrounds but didn’t do any exploring since it was too hot and humid. Tulsa does look like a nice city, though.
Until this last visit, I would not have even included Tulsa in a city I’d care to visit. They seem to be upping their game. The bike path along the river is great!
Hi LuAnn – I have not been to Oklahoma so thanks for sharing your story and photos of interesting sights in Tulsa.
My pleasure Natalie.
Always interesting things to see on your travels. Great photos.
We didn’t take time to stop in Tulsa since we were too busy in Pawhuska. Sorry you didn’t get a chance to check out the little town. The Gathering Place structure is really neat. I kept enlarging the photo trying to get a feel for how it looked in person. Whaling is illegal…too funny! There are so many “whales” in OK! Glad you had a nice visit with family.
We had a great time with family. Wish we had made a bigger effort to get to Pawhuska but since OK is always on the radar, there will be another time. Enjoy your time back home. Hope to see you both again soon.
Oh goodness Luann – I love reading about the history behind your adventures and the pics are amazing. Can’t wait for your next adventure.
From your photos, Tulsa looks beautiful and interesting! We were surprised at how much we enjoyed our travels in the Midwest last spring. We didn’t encounter any tornadoes, so that helped. 🙂 Sounds like you had a good visit with family—love the photo of Terry with his son and granddaughter.
So….is this why you never want to visit us in May? Tornadoes make life exciting! 😊
Haha! I must say that you guys in OKC like to live on the edge. 🙂
Hi LuAnn! I must admit that your photos make Oklahoma look like a very desirable place to visit. They should hire you as a travel promotor…of course, then there is the weather!!!! Yikes. What a challenging place to live. It looks like you picked a good time to visit though and having family around sure makes a difference. Hey…i just noticed that you “winter” in Temecula. If you and Terry ever want to meet up for lunch sometime let us know. We aren’t that far away and could meet in the middle or???? Just let me know… 🙂 ~Kathy
I was determined to change my opinion of OK, and from the perspective of Tulsa, I was able to do just that. But the weather is still a major deterrent for us, which is why we winter in So. Cal. And I would love to meet-up for lunch sometime. BTW, I am loving your writing. So glad I was introduced to your blog.
Me too with your writing 🙂 But I had subscribed to your blog a while back but I have to go to a “reader” to see your current posts. Any chance you can set up an email notification? WordPress makes it pretty simple. That way I would never miss one of your posts….just a suggestion 🙂
That’s weird Kathy, because I had my blog set up to be able to enter your email address. I don’t like to have to go to my reader to read others’ blog posts so would not want others to have to so for mine. I will check into this.
I went back in and set up another email notification. Hope you are able to see it on my side bar. Thanks for pointing this out Kathy.
Your photos show that you did indeed find some beauty.. as well as quirkiness… in OK. Love the parks and the thought that went into making the area beautiful.
We were pleasantly surprised!