Oklahoma at last. Only a few tribal Nations were indigenous to what is now the State of Oklahoma. All others were removed from homelands across the contiguous U.S. to Indian Territory, the trail of tears. What seems even more outrageous is that they moved some of the few indigenous tribes to make way for the influx. In 1907 Oklahoma became the 46th state to enter the union. The state’s name comes from two Choctaw words “Okla” and “Homma” meaning Red People.
Another long drive – 6 hours – to Oklahoma City.
Start the trip at the equivalent of spaghetti junction and the 10 year olds from Apple, those that can’t tie their own shoelaces and yet are allowed to write Apple’s software, strike again. Apple maps packs up just as you really need it. What a joyous way to start the day.
150 miles of nothingness, other than plastic bags hanging on trees, more Indian tribal
Lands and associated casinos than Muslims at a stoning. Apparently there are 39 tribal nations here in Oklahoma. As part of the trail of tears the American government shipped them all from East of the Mississippi river to a barren wasteland, the place we now call Oklahoma. But bless, they allowed them to have casinos on their tribal lands as compensation for all they had suffered. Even when I asked at the visitors centre if there was anything worth seeing on the way to Oklahoma City, she replied it’s a bit of a desert. Now I know why everyone laughed when we said we’re going to Oklahoma.
Love the speed signs “75 MPH no tolerance”. Then there’s the sign “Don’t hit our workers, $10,000 fine”. So a worker life or injury is ok for $10,000, bizarre.
Decide we’re finally going to try a Cracker Barrel for tea, those cheesecake pancake billboards have been tempting me for weeks now. We both try the taster plater, a cholesterol special, will we ever walk out of here, fortunately there’s a nurse sat at the next table. I have to leave room for the pancake so we both give up on the platter and consign half of it to a doggy box. Good old fashioned wholesome food and they now serve wine and that nats urine they call beer.
DDSS – Daily Dose of Sublime Stupidity
Credit card pin is locked out, apparently too many PIN attempts, yet contactless and Apple Pay still works. How’s that for security? You really couldn’t make this stupidity up.
The U.S. state of Oklahoma has been popularly nicknamed the “Sooner State” since the 1920s.
Sooners is the name given to settlers who entered the Unassigned Lands in what is now the state of Oklahoma before the official start of the Land Rush of 1889. The Unassigned Lands were a part of Indian Territory that, after a lobbying campaign, were to be opened to American settlement in 1889. President Benjamin Harrison officially proclaimed the Unassigned Lands open to settlement on April 22, 1889. As people lined up around the borders of the Oklahoma District, they waited for the official opening. It was not until noon that it officially was opened to settlement. The name derived from the “sooner clause” of Proclamation 288 — Opening to Settlement Certain Lands in the Indian Territory, which stated that anyone who entered and occupied the land prior to the opening time would be denied the right to claim land.
The designation “Sooner” initially had a very negative connotation. While “Boomers” were merely expressing “pioneer spirit” in their desire to take and settle formerly Indian territory, Sooners were essentially stealing from other white settlers by cheating on the claim requirements to get better land. However, these negative connotations rapidly cooled as time passed after 1889 and land claims were settled. By the time of statehood, Sooner had become an affectionate term for Oklahomans as a whole with a whiff of rebellion.
Oklahoma City seems a tad sparse for tourist attractions on a Sunday. The museum we wanted to visit is closed, well it is Sunday!
Opt for the First Americans Museum which given Oklahoma being the end of the Trail of Tears seems the most appropriate place to visit anyway. It’s not been opened long; amazing architecture, I’m sure King Charles would be amazed; great exhibits and presentation. Makes you appreciate how badly the Indians were treated. Interesting to note that the snowflakes and wokes responsible for the 1619 project overlook the Native Americans in their debates about U.S. history. Virginia Indians tell stories of settlers who would not have survived without their help during the long brutal winter of 1609-10. The natives, including the powerful family confederation of Powhatan and Pocahontas, taught the colonists how to plant food and even traded with them during the initial years of their relationship.
It’s also disturbing to realise that even after the cruelty and horrors of the 19th century Trail Of Tears, the American government were exercising eugenics in our lifetime with forced sterilization performed by the Indian Health Service in the 60s and 70s, the effects of which are still felt within tribes today.
It’s an awesome museum, one of the best I’ve ever been to.
Then it’s onto the The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture. It’s also pretty impressive and lots of enjoyable exhibits.
Tea for me tonight is warmed up doggy bag from last night.
As it’s our first time in Oklahoma, and probably our last, I decided to drive to Wichita via the back roads and hope that we’ll get to see some of Oklahoma. Sadly it’s a lot of nothingness. What did we see along the way, cotton fields, old, rundown towns that make even Belthorn look attractive; nodding donkeys alongside solar panels, and overshadowed by windmills, the old being overtaken by the new. What’s with the snowploughs we keep seeing, Oklahoma will never make it as a ski resort. Then as we leave Oklahoma and head into Kansas it starts to snow, that probably explains why we’ve been seeing so many snowploughs. It chucks it down and being on back roads is not such a good idea in this weather. Thanks to the snow I lose my mobile connection, satnav, lane tracing assist, dynamic radar cruise control and pre-collision emergency breaking. Bloody hell I’m going to have to start driving the car using the steering wheel, accelerator and brakes. All these first world problems.Well it’s not our first time in Kansas but to be fair we only touched on it in Kansas city back in 2013 so it’ll be good to see more of it. On these back roads it seems very similar to Oklahoma. Lots of nothingness. Tea tonight is a burrito from across the road. It’s like a subway for burritos where you select your own contents. Pretty good.
The Chisholm Trail was a trail used in the post-Civil War era to drive cattle overland from ranches in Texas to Kansas railheads. The trail was established by Black Beaver, a Lenape guide and rancher, and his friend Jesse Chisholm, a Cherokee merchant. They collected and drove numerous cattle along the trail to Kansas, where they could be shipped east to achieve higher prices. The southern terminus was Red River Station, a trading post near the Red River along the northern border of Texas. The northern terminus was a trading post near Kansas City, Kansas. Chisholm owned both of these posts. In the years of the cattle drives, cowboys would drive large herds from ranches across Texas to the Red River Station and then north to Kansas City.
Wake to a freezing cold but blue sky day, overnight snow.
Have the best breakfast so far this trip, a really good choice.
Sadly there’s not really that much to see in Wichita. It would have been better if we could have gone to the state capital, Topeka, but alas it was too far.
Set off to see the Keeper of the Plains statue. In quite an impressive location, lovely park but oh so cold. The Chisholm trail seems to feature a lot around here.
Then drive down to Old Town but typical of most American cities Old Town’s there’s never really anything there, have a drive around.
Then we head to the Wichita and Sedgwick History museum. Only $5 in and to be fair quite interesting. Watched a film on Wichita’s aircraft industry. It seems that the brand new Cessna I had to buy for Stanley Shorrock came from here. Sadly when Shorrock’s were taken over it had to be sold along with a few others.
Wendy then gets her fix with a trip to a Walmart super centre for tonight’s tea. For me it’s a tinned chilli and a Cinnabon cake. Really getting into this American sugar kick with desserts.
On a summer afternoon in 1968, songwriter Jimmy Webb was driving on a road in Oklahoma. There were no houses along the road, and no trees—just grass in every direction. Next to the road, there were telephone poles. The poles were in a straight line that went all the way to the horizon.
In the distance Jimmy saw a man on a ladder near the top of a telephone pole. He was a lineman. His job was to check the telephone lines to make sure they were OK. At that time, private companies did not own the telephone lines; county governments owned them. So the man was an employee of a county in Oklahoma—he was “a lineman for the county.”
As he got closer, Jimmy could see that the man had a phone in his hand, and he was
talking to someone. What was the man saying? Perhaps he was reporting that there was a problem on the line. Or perhaps he was reporting that the line was OK.
After he drove past the lineman, Jimmy couldn’t stop thinking about the work he did. It was a lonely job, Jimmy thought. What did the lineman think about all day? Maybe he thought about someone he loved. Maybe he thought about the weather. Maybe he worried that next winter a snowstorm could take down some wires. Or maybe he hoped for rain so that he could take a small vacation.
Jimmy wrote a song about the the lineman. Although he had seen him in Oklahoma, Jimmy imagined that the lineman lived in Kansas, near the city of Wichita. He called the song “Wichita Lineman.” The song became famous. It was a big hit for singer Glen Campbell.
Later Jimmy said, “This song is not just about a lineman. It is about anyone who can think about other things while they work—a truck driver, for example, or a farmworker. It is a song about an ordinary person who has extraordinary thoughts.”
Drive to Lincoln Nebraska, our first time in Nebraska, that’s another state off our list, only 4 more to visit to get a full house. It’s below freezing but clear blue skies.
Again a lot of nothingness as we say goodbye to rice in Oklahoma, then cotton in Kansas and now there’s corn fields as far as the eye can see. There’s a distinct lack of originality and imagination in this state as road names are either letters or numbers. Traffic cones are lined up on the sides of the highways, just waiting to be deployed and fulfill their purpose and destiny of traffic chaos.
It seems like we’ve said goodbye to the Chisholm trail and say hello to the Oregon Trail, Lewis and Clerk trail and the Mormon trail. Fence posts are littered with hawks rather than the plastic bags of Oklahoma and Kansas.
It’s way below freezing today, so best to stay indoors.
Start with a tour of the Mormon Winter Quarters museum, as with all Mormon tours etc. it’s free and our personal guide is very informative. Never cease to be amazed at how those pioneers pulled those handcarts all the way to Salt Lake, men and women of steel.Then we go to the Spirit of Nebraska Wilderness and Pioneer Courage Park. The statues are amazing, but it’s oh so cold.
With a windchill of 19F / -7C time to try a root beer float from a traditional soda fountain at long last. Interesting choice as I don’t like root beer, but my great friend and guru Hal, rest his soul, always told me I really should try one. Hal, you were so right they are good.
Way below freezing again so the plan for the day is to stay indoors again.
First stop is the state capitol where we get a personalised tour. Very interesting although Wendy thinks he goes into too much detail. Wendy’s idea would be just a 5 minutes tour, running if necessary. For a state capitol it is a very unusual building with a 14 story tower that can be seen for miles around. The first floor is like a dismal dungeon from hell, expect a vampire to pop out any moment. The 2nd floor is very impressive with an amazing mosaic floor, wall murals and vaulted ceiling with murals. This capitol is unique in that it is the only – unicameral state – just a house and no senate, although the 49 representatives are called senators.
Then we set off to the history museum but give it a miss. Wendy’s had enough history for one trip, so we set off to the Pioneer Park where there’s allegedly a herd of buffalo and nature centre. The place is deserted and the “small herd” consists of 4 buffalo asleep on the prairie.
Call at a Hy-Val supermarket for some excitement., has to be one of the most impressive supermarkets in America we’ve been to. Wow, they sell Hofbrau original and get a Basil Haydn Red Wine Cask Finish Bourbon, that’s a new one to try.
Overall Lincoln has to be the most disappointing place we’ve been to, not help by the cold weather, I have to prise Wendy out of the car each time.
At long last I get to try IHOP’s Jaelapeno burger for tea. What an over priced disappointment that was. I think I’ll reserve any visit to IHOP for a sugar fix with there pancakes and french toast.
Atop the 400 foot tower of the Nebraska State Capitol stands a figure casting the seeds of life to the winds….the Sower. The statue of the Sower, modeled after the traditional method of hand sowing grain for planting, is a symbol of the importance of Agriculture to the development of civilization. Agriculture is the foundation upon which Nebraskans have built a noble life.