We spent most of the day in Oklahoma City after an acceptable stay in one of their airport hotels. It had one building that was much taller than the rest:
We went into an open episcopal church and met a man from Philadelphia who told us why he chose Oklahoma over Pennsylvania for the past 25 years. He said people were friendlier, it was warmer and he loved the 360 degree sunsets. He also said it gets a whopping 300 days of sun a year, which sounds freaking sweet after the amount of cloud cover we had to deal with in England. The church also had this very well behaved poodle:
We carried on to their state capitol. I had a tribute to oil that had actually once be active, right in front of the capitol building. We spoke to a woman inside who gave us a great deal of insight as she was from North London and had lived in 3 other US states and her husband and children were American. She told us that although the Native Americans had been quite screwed for a while, they were indeed properly sovereign nations now and some of the richest people in Oklahoma, not just thanks to oil, but to a much more renewable resource: gambling. Apparently people come from all over to gamble in Oklahoma and only the Native Americans are allowed to own the casinos, which given their horrible, tragic history with the US government, I say fair enough. The capitol reflects the native heritage of Oklahoma, as can be seen in the photos below:
She went on to tell us that even though she had been a bit dismayed when she found they were moving there due to her husband being in the military, it was definitely her home now and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She said housing was very cheap and people were very friendly. The one downside was that, yes, there are tornados, though she said in all her years there, she’d only seen one and it didn’t hit her house. She recommended against living in Moore, Oklahoma, as it basically always gets hit.
After that, we tried a local burger joint, Tucker’s Onion Burgers, which was quite tasty and we can recommend it:
We managed to see a few examples of the state animal, the buffalo. We were told by the English woman at the capitol that they had been hunted to extinction, but they were able to reintroduce some from a different part of the country and they are going strong again:
On our way out of Oklahoma, we noticed lots of dust, which as an allergy sufferer, is a downside. That said, we both found Oklahoma to be a very underrated state. Oil and gambling have made it much wealthier than some of its neighbors and its people very extremely friendly and helpful. Oklahoma is indeed OK. Overused pun obviously intended 🙂
Do check out the video of the lovely people of Oklahoma:
We ended our night crossing back into Texas to the tiny town of Shamrock. It’s so small that google didn’t bother to get the street names on the maps right and we spent a lot of time being lost looking for its one tiny grocery store.
We stayed at one of our cheapest motels, and due to the price, I can very nearly recommend it, but there is some ineffable quality that some hotels have where on the surface, they seem clean enough, but there is something about them where you just don’t feel that comfortable and therefore never sleep that brilliantly. The Shamrock Inn was one of those.
Perhaps in this case it was just the town. It was a very sad little place on what used to be Route 66. Many tiny towns that used to thrive being on the route as now near ghost towns. This town was too small for a pizza place. It had many closed or for sale signs. It did still have some relics from its glory days though:
We were asked by a few people if we were driving Route 66, and I think I’m glad we could say no. Nostalgia can be lovely, but we want to know which places are going somewhere now, not which places had a bright past. And sincerely, as cool as that Magnolia station looks, nothing around it was anywhere near as shiny.