After making a two-night stop in Monett, Missouri, we made our way to Oklahoma. For the second consecutive year, Oklahoma City is a stop on our December migration to Texas. We never got around to posting our first stop on the blog. So, in this installment of Bullwinkle's Travels, we're serving up two stops in one! Once again, we're parked at Twin Fountains RV Park, which is a lovely place to call home for a few days.
This year it's been considerably cooler. Temperatures have hovered around freezing the last two nights. Tonight, the thermometer is expected to drop into the teens. It's definitely time for us to head further south!
The highlight of our return visit to OKC was having friends Linda and Denny over for dinner. They have had an unscheduled stop for repairs here as they make there way west. So, we made the most of the situation. It was great to see them. I swear we took pictures, but I can't seem to find any! (Yes, we had that much fun!) We hope their repairs are swift and they are on their way soon.
We also made a return trip to our favorite on-the-road Japanese restaurant. This town is about the last place we'd expect to find exceptional sushi, but Tokyo Restaurant rivals our favorite Bay Area sushi spots. Today's lunch was just a good as we remembered.
The unseasonably cold weather made it a perfect time to visit something we missed during our previous stay. After enjoying our Miso soup and Bento boxes, we made our way to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, which is just a stone's throw from our park. With more than 28,000 Western and American Indian art works and artifacts displayed in its more than 200,000-square-foot display space, there are plenty of things to enjoy on a blustery Winter afternoon.
The museum also houses "Prosperity Junction", a 14,000-square-foot authentic turn-of-the-century Western prairie town. While roaming the streets of town, we poked our head in the one-room school house, which was decked out for the holidays.
Now that we've taken you all the way back to the days of Buffalo Bill, we'll fast forward to just about a year ago for a quick recap of our first stop in Oklahoma City.
As native Kansas Citians, we had driven through Oklahoma City countless times. Last December 1st, we decided to finally stop.
The primary purpose for this stop was to pay our respects at the Oklahoma City National Memorial. The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial is a most poignant reminder of the events of April 19, 1995. The design, by Hans and Torrey Butzer, is simply exquisite. The Gates of Time on each end of a shallow reflecting pool on what was 5th Street frame the moment of destruction.
The Field of Empty Chairs is on the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The chairs represent the empty chairs at the dinner tables of the victims' families. The 168 hand-crafted glass, bronze and stone chairs are placed in rows (to represent the floor where each victim worked or was located) and grouped according to the blast pattern. Each chair is inscribed with a victim's name. The smaller chairs represent the 19 children killed in the bombing.
The Memorial brilliantly serves as a tribute to the victims, the responders, the survivors and the community as a whole. The Survivor's Tree is an American Elm that survived the blast and has become an emblem of the Memorial. The inscription on the deck surrounding the tree reads: The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us.
The Memorial Fence is a section of the chain-link fence that surrounded the site for more than four years after the explosion. During that time, visitors left flowers, flags, stuffed animals and other items as a makeshift memorial. A 210-foot section of the fence now sits on the west side of the Memorial, just outside the 9:03 gate on the "healing side". Visitors continue to leave mementos, which are periodically collected and stored. During our visit, we were touched by the photo of one victim and a letter written by a person who had come to know her simply by passing on the street.
The Children's Area features more than 5,000 tiles hand-painted by children from across the United States and Canada.
Kids say the darndest things!
We were very glad we made the time to stop and visit the Memorial and witness for ourselves how Oklahoma City is not just surviving, but thriving some 15 years after that brutal attack.
I made time during our quick stop to make a trip to what is reported to be the best quilt shop in Oklahoma to pick up four fabrics for our "someday" quilt.
Now, fast forward to December 2011. I'm so pleased to report those four pieces of fabric have made their way into two quilt squares in the last year. That's progress!
And, one year later, our visit to that touching Memorial remains in our hearts and memory.
Onward to Texas!