Hi there everyone! If you wondered why my last couple of posts were a little light, well, it’s because I went on the first major vacation I’ve taken in a decade. The partner and I decided to visit a friend on Oklahoma City, in road trip form. I have a ton of pictures to share, so strap in and enjoy! Next week I’ll be back to the recipes, don’t worry.
Day 1: Michigan to St. Louis
This was one heck of a trip for us. Until now, the longest drive we’ve been on was about four hours, to Chicago, and it wiped us out. This trip was eight hours day one, and nearly 10 (!!!) hours day two.
Michigan, we’re used to driving through. Some hills, some fields, some animals, a good mixture of everything.
Indiana, at least the route we took, was a lot of mostly flat roads through bean and corn fields. We drove highways for part of the way (well, he did; I don’t drive) but swung out on back roads to avoid the Chicago outskirts during rush hour.
Illinois, now that’s a flat state. Nothing but corn as far as the eye could see. Now and then there was a landmark, though, like this one.
I can’t say I’m a fan.
After hours of interminable Illinois, we arrived in St. Louis.
Surprisingly enough, we made it without issues. Our hotel in St. Louis was pretty nice. We had some simple chain BBQ for dinner, the partner did some work, and we passed out for the evening.
Day 2: St. Louis to Oklahoma City
Crossing the Mississippi is incredible. Not just because the river is huge, but because it’s as if America’s level designer took a step back and thought “oh right! Terrain features!”
The difference was incredible.
Much like day 1, our route was mostly on highways for the first 2/3rds, then turning off. This time it was to avoid toll roads. This proved to be a mistake; the toll roads are easy enough to use, and the non-highway roads don’t have rest stops.
We also had a bit of a nemesis on the highway. One particular semi insisted on passing everyone, weaving in and out of traffic like a jackass. I was stressed out! Once we finally got past him, he even came up behind and passed us again. Plus, his truck didn’t really have any identifying markings, so I couldn’t really call anything in, either.
Our hotel in OKC wasn’t too bad. We spent one night in an accessibility suite, so the bathrooms were extra large and had chairs and bars in them, and there were a bunch of additional help lights and call phones, none of which we needed.
Day 3: Oklahoma City to the Cabin
If we had planned things a little better, we might have done our second night in a different location. Specifically, Broken Bow.
Our friend hosts an annual “cabin in the woods” party for her friends, which is why we decided to plan our visit this particular date range. In this case, the cabins were part of a wedding venue near Broken Bow. They were decent little homes, enough to host our group, with a central building for festivities.
We were instructed to arrive by 4pm, since everyone else would get there at 3pm, so it wouldn’t be awkward. Of course, life being what it is, we were the first people to arrive. We were only there for half an hour or so before other people started showing up, though, so it worked out.
Modern amenities, of course. Though we invited him, Bigfoot chose not to attend this year. This was apparently an open-air pavilion as recently as a few months ago. One of her friends decided to glamp it up in the main building. Most of our time was spent here, for the fancy dress party, murder mystery, and general shenanigans. The host herself, trying to hide from cameras. Overall, not a bad place to spend a weekend.
Night 1 at the cabin was the fancy dress party. I even bought a dress for the occasion, and my partner dressed up in his cape and a goofy pirate shirt. Somehow, we won “best dressed” and I took home the prize (a giant sheet of rice krispie treats. Score!)
Days 4-5: Cabin Shenanigans and the Return to OKC
I don’t have a lot of pictures of this portion of the trip, because I was mostly just enjoying myself and the chance to hang out with people. Sure, I’d never met most of them before, but that’s fine. We’re all chill adults, so it was enjoyable. We were also all fully vaccinated, so there was no risk to the gathering.
Day 2 at the cabin was a murder mystery party. It was a little awkward — I’ve never done something like it before — but it was still pretty fun. My poor partner was left lost for most of it, and didn’t have a clue about the underlying plot until it was nearly over.
Day 3 was resting and checking out, then driving back to OKC.
Days 6-End: Touristy Stuff in OKC
The general pattern to the rest of the vacation was pretty simple. We would wake up, go out, do something touristy, find food, then go hang out at our friend’s game store. That repeated pretty much every day we were there. So, the rest of this post is mostly galleries about what we did.
First up was the aquarium. There’s a mall in the north part of the city that has an aquarium built in. It wasn’t a huge or great aquarium, but I did get to feed some parakeets and some stingrays. That was fun! Overall, it was a surprisingly large aquarium for one in a mall, but still far from the best aquarium I’ve visited.
This is the closest we came to downtown OKC until our second to last day in town. The mall had a few interesting things in it too, but it wasn’t why we were there. Fish! Stingray petting is common, but stingray feeding, less so. We could pet the starfish, too! A little early for Shark Week, but we make do. Teeny Tiny Octopus! More fish! Even more fish! Friend turtle. Birds: the fish of the sky. Electric Eel!
After the aquarium, we wandered the mall. I was surprised to find a large arcade that wasn’t just functional but popular, which is apparently common in OKC. Not in Michigan! Other than that, it was mostly just a mall. Lots of clothing stores, not a lot of other kinds of stores, so it goes.
After that, we went to the zoo. It’s a pretty solid zoo, though it was one of the hottest days of our trip so it wasn’t entirely pleasant. Saw lots of animals, even if the elephants looked lonely and the red pandas were hiding, and we got to feed more birds. Oh, and they had a dinosaur safari. That sure was a thing. It was billed as being life-like animatronics by the company that did the Jurassic Park dinosaurs, but all they did was wiggle a bit while speakers played noise. Not very exciting.
Was at the entrance. Looked promising. Curious bird. Not as life-like as the website made it sound. A not-so-green python. Cute! There were signs posted to not tease the giraffes. We didn’t. Hungry giraffe eating the bush of the neighboring enclosure. River otter came to say hi! Bats! Cacomistle. Black bear with a tracking collar. Bobcat just enjoying the shade. Tree dog. People watching. Huge silverback. Skipped the water and went for a mud bath instead. Just lazing around. Cassowaries are scary. Whatchu lookin at? Feeding the Lorikeets. Little more intimidating than the parakeets at the aquarium…
Next up is the Bone Museum. Well, more specifically, the Museum of Osteology. This one was pretty fun too!
Of special note was the soundtrack: the bone museum played music over their ambient speakers, and whoever is in charge is a nerd: they were playing the soundtrack to the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Made for quite the double-take when we realized what it was.
We crammed three different things into our second to last day in OKC. We did the Museum of Art, the Botanical Gardens, and the Memorial Museum.
The art museum was basically three separate sections. One is a rotating exhibit that, while we were there, was a bunch of frescos and art taken from Pompeii. The second was a series of more traditional art exhibits. The third was some breathtaking glass sculptures.
Not hiding very well. Who painted it better? Who painted it better? Toot! Some art just doesn’t impress me. Like, seriously? Like, what makes this random picture of water worth hanging in a museum? Now THIS is art. Kitties! I know you were eyeballing this one in the back of the last one. This one is impressive.
I love the glass, so I’m going to put all of those pictures in a gallery of its own. Check these out!
55 ft glass tower! Boatful of VERY fragile things. The reflection of the “water” is beautiful. So many colors! So pretty! Fun! Color everywhere you look. Mini purple forest. Was a small square hole in the wall behind to view it as well. Glass moon jellies. Glass seashells. I didn’t want this exhibit to end.
After that, we realized the botanical gardens was just a block or so away from the museum, so we walked over. It’s not a huge park, and the indoor gardens were closed, so it was mostly just a park we walked around. Still, it was very pretty, with lots of little alcoves and gardens to enjoy.
We were about to head out, but then we decided at the last minute to go to the Memorial Museum. In case you don’t know what it is, the Memorial Museum is dedicated to the Oklahoma City Bombing. It’s a very good, very intense museum, but it’s quite depressing, so I don’t know that I would recommend going to it last thing in a day like we did.
Finally, we did the drive home. Once again, we had a stop-over in St. Louis, but this time we decided to do a little tourism there too. Specifically, we visited the St. Louis Aquarium. It was bigger and more interesting than the Oklahoma City one, but not by a lot, and it still wasn’t as cool as I hoped.
We had a great view from the hotel this time, at least. Sadly, we didn’t have time to ride the Ferris Wheel. Last minute surprise stop before heading home. First time seeing an alligator gar. Scary looking. Piranha sitting ominously still… Meet Lord Stanley. The shark tanks in this place were amazing. Sea dragons are so weird… Sir? I don’t think you’re hiding very well. Lights in the tank changed colors and the jellies along with it. Neat! Decided to backtrack to see if the otters were around yet. Glad we did! Oooh. What’s that?! Tiny eels pretending to be grass. Much closer this time around. They know what they did.
So, yeah! That’s the trip, and that’s where I’ve been for the last couple of weeks. I probably won’t be going on a trip that long for a while, but it was fun, and it’s made me start thinking about other places I’d like to visit. Stay tuned next week for more recipes, and in the future for more adventures!