Tulsa Time

Itching for a road trip after completing a month of Whole 30 (which makes it extremely tough to eat out), I wanted to explore a new city. Well, new to me anyway. Back before I met Keith, right after he got out of the Navy, he chose Tulsa to live. At the time, it was American Airlines hub and he had great visions of being able to travel easy being located in the middle of the country and get cheap flights. The reality was a low paying job and barely making ends meet.

Many Beautiful Murals around Tulsa
Many Beautiful Murals around Tulsa

For me, Tulsa was always represented by the movie The Outsiders, and even though that movie is old, and many of the places featured in the film were long gone, I still wanted to check the city out.

So, Tulsa for the weekend. We stayed in the Aloft hotel (gotta love pet friendly urban hotels) and it was super easy to walk around downtown Tulsa. Our first visit was at Hey Mambo that had pet friendly outdoor seating. Samantha garnered much attention (of course) and we enjoyed walking around, with a visit to the center of the universe. Last time we visited the center of the universe, it was in Idaho  – who knew there were so many centers?

Another Center of the Universe!
Another Center of the Universe!

The next day I had off, but Keith had to work. After some delicious breakfast at Dilly Diner, I set off to explore the Philbrook Museum of Art. This museum was beautiful and I really enjoyed the exhibits. I also really enjoyed the grounds – it was a perfect day to wander. The temps were a bit colder than we expected, so I did a last minute shopping trip at Utica Square where I got some amazing end of the season deals! Stocked up on sweaters, we continued our exploring.

Philbrook Musuem and Gardens
Philbrook Musuem and Gardens

After work, Keith, Samantha and I again walked miles & miles, checking out the art deco buildings and just generally enjoying being out & about. With Samantha sufficiently wore out, we left her in the room for an hour or so and had a drink at Fassler Hall, and dinner at Juniper. Juniper could have been a bit better, but it was still nice to have a date night.

Outsiders Film Location
Outsiders Film Location

The next day we ventured out to Keith’s old apartment complex. It was worlds away from downtown and I could see why he didn’t get out too much. He was biking distance from his work, and that was the priority. We checked out Riverside Park, enjoyed the blooms at Woodward Park, drove by ‘Ponyboys’ house and the infamous park (that no longer has the fountain featured in the movie) and we also visited the K-Dub Food Truck Festival and had a local beer from Marshall Brewing.

Admiral Twin Drive In
Admiral Twin Drive In

That night, we packed Samantha up and went to the Admiral Twin Drive-in. It had been FOREVER since I’ve been to a drive-in, and even though the screen has been replaced after a fire, it was another Outsiders movie location that was neat to check out. We watched Batman v Superman (which I thought was a bit of a snorefest) and then watched Deadpool, which made me literally laugh out loud at times. Samantha didn’t understand our fascination of sitting in the car going nowhere.

As seen on Route 66
As seen on Route 66

The next day we finally had to make our way back home, but decided to take the scenic route and drive about 100 miles of Route 66. We still have potentials dreams of driving the entire route in a classic car – we’ll see if we make that happen in the future. It was still a nice break from the interstate and then we finally hit Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City Memorial
Oklahoma City Memorial

In 1995, I was supposed to stay in Oklahoma City on my journey cross country to Vegas. After the Oklahoma City bombing, I had to change my plans, as a few months after the bomb occurred downtown was still quite a mess. It’s always been ‘on my list’ to stop and visit the memorial, so we made a brief stop there. I think they did a beautiful job with this memorial and it was nice to finally pay my respects.

I enjoyed Tulsa much more than I expected to. It had a great vibe, people were friendly and the downtown seems to be in a restorative state. We haven’t done much traveling in Oklahoma, so it was nice to dip our toes in for the weekend.

Summer Plans in the RV

So, after all of our hemming & hawing, and sorta kinda settling down, we are antsy and need to travel. No matter that even after buying our little abode, that we’ve squeezed in some trips like NYC, Cleveland, a Cruise, and San Francisco) . We both just REALLY LIKE TO TRAVEL and those side trips aren’t the same as long term road travel. So, we’re heading off on the open road in our RV again. Even though we aren’t full timing it any longer, we’ll be on the road for about 4 months and we’re seriously looking forward to it.

Another thing that spurred us back into the RV is our dog Samantha. She is our Constant Companion and such a great traveler. Unfortunately, after 3 (very successful) surgeries, we are starting to see her waltzing into old age and we know her mobility will decrease more and more. She’s over 10 years old now and has just started on a pain pill regimen. We know how harsh that can be to her organs, which is why we’ve delayed as long as possible. But, our little girl is limping and starting to feel the effects of her life, so we want to give her an epic road trip. We hope it won’t be her last of course, but we also don’t want to delay.

Our constant companion, ready to travel!
Our constant companion, ready to travel!

Our first stop after a long haul from Dallas will be Bismarck, ND. Why there you ask? Because it is our last state. Once our toes dip into ND, we can both say we’ve seen all 50 states. What I think is more impressive, is how MUCH of the 50 states we’ve seen. While a few were brief stays, most have been really exploring and spending time in them over the years. We both really like that we’ve made an effort to see so much of our country, before we start exploring a lot more of the world.

Ready to get a glimpse of Montana again!
Ready to get a glimpse of Montana again!

We are planning on a brief stop in one of our favorite states – Montana – before we continue to head west. Then, we plan on spending a month near Spokane, WA, and a month in Gig Harbor, WA.  We look forward to some PNW time, fresh food and beautiful scenery.

Also looking forward to seeing the beautiful volcanos in the PNW!
Also looking forward to seeing the beautiful volcanos in the PNW!

Then, I am super excited about spending a month in Oregon. Our first stop will be in a state park outside Portland, and we cannot wait to visit a few of our old haunts. I’m looking at you, Little Big Burger and Salt & Straw! Then, we will finally make it to Bend, which was on our list when we lived in the area, but we just ran out of time.

We may not have this view when visiting PDX this time around, but we can't wait to see the city!
We may not have this view when visiting PDX this time around, but we can’t wait to see the city again!

We’ll meander to Boise, Idaho next, visiting a part of that state we haven’t seen yet and then it will be time to head back home to Texas. I haven’t quite decided if we will drive through Utah (since the last time we had nearly a full liquor cabinet and it wasn’t worth the chance of being arrested), or if we will drive across Wyoming and then down through Colorado. I’m betting on Utah, but we’ll see where we are at a few months in.

One thing is for sure, we’re busy doing some projects on Crush to make our summer enjoyable, and we are looking forward to getting back on the road again!

We went to Paris…. Paris, Texas that is.

After all the traveling we’ve done, and all the drives we have taken over the years, it is sometimes hard to remember to do the same thing in your own backyard.

We’ve been stationary now for many, many months. Denton is a great little city, but we haven’t quite explored the surrounding areas like we usually do when we are on the road.

near Paris, TX
near Paris, TX

This past weekend we set out to change that a bit. I was looking on a map to see what caught my eye, and Paris, Texas leaped out. Even more intriguing was that, like many other towns named Paris, they had a replica of the eiffel tower – although this one was topped with a cowboy hat. This I had to see.

It was a perfect day for a drive so we packed up Samantha and a lunch, and set off. Having driven across Texas several times, I appreciate how insanely large this state is. Driving 2 hours of backroads solidified the distances needed to travel around this state!

Paris, TX
Paris, TX

Paris, Texas at one time was a thriving little town, but when we visited the downtown area was largely a ghost town. There were a few signs of life, if we were to visit during the week, but on a Sunday, everything was closed. It was a stark contrast to how much life is in Denton’s square, and how much effort I am sure it takes to draw people to your town.

Street scene in Paris, TX
Street scene in Paris, TX

We walked around and then hopped back in the car to see the eiffel tower replica. Oh, America. I love that you erect all sorts of corny things all over the country. A few snaps, and then we were off to visit another small town.

When in Paris...
When in Paris…

Sulpher Springs had a lot more people milling about the square, and there were several restaurants open. They also had a beautiful courthouse, which is a typical landmark in Texas towns. We again walked around with Samantha and she got many compliments on what a beautiful dog she is. We’ve said it before, and as her age and mobility starts being affected, we are going to be ghost people when she passes away. She gets so much attention when we are out, that when we walk around without her it’s like we don’t exist.

Sulpher Springs, TX
Sulpher Springs, TX

Anyway, a lovely walk around Sulpher Springs, and one of the more interesting spots on our walk was the two restrooms in the square. Odd, I know – but seriously!

They were mirrored bathrooms, which means you couldn’t see in, but you could see out. Super odd experience, especially as people were playing chess RIGHT OUTSIDE THE BATHROOM!

All in all, it was a great day to get out for a drive, visit a bit of east Texas and explore a few towns. Since we’re going back on the road in a few months for the summer, it was good to shake those exploring cobwebs off!

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