My Apologies Oklahoma

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.

A view of the Tulsa skyline at dusk.

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. 😉

Three generations L-R: son Keith, granddaughter Alyssa, and father Terry.

“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