OK! Oklahoma Backroad Travel Gems
(musings and photos by Diane Nilan, © 2014)
I appreciate the value of the Interstate system, initiated by that last great Republican, Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s. But I also love the secondary, and third-ary pavement, too. Why? Today was a perfect example of the BR advantage. Strong winds compromise a vehicle's stability, especially taller ones, like 9’ Tillie2. Instead of dodging lane neighbors, I enjoyed weaving over lines without playing bumper cars. And, the bonus, I could swing through interesting towns and muse. And photograph. And learn.
Today's treasure chest included this statuary combo in El Reno, OK, a bleak oil industry town west of OK City. I did a UE (much easier in T2) and took a few shots. I'm not sure what this collection is all about, but I would have loved to get the story. I'll have to use my imagination. But this person sure got serious about Lady Liberty. And the sea...?
Chickasha, OK had plenty of fascinating eye-candy, but the Verden Separate School sign got my attention. The "best 1-room school house" for, you guessed it, black kids (though I'll bet that's not how they were referred to back then). The concept of separate schools still exists, aka many public schools, as well as the illegal but still functioning schools for homeless students.
Moseying south on, yup, a secondary road, I was treated to more authentic OK sights. It was a rainy/stormy day, inspiring me to pull off into a gas station parking lot. Viola! Bargain divorces, a conflict with the Sooner State's largely Christian values, I suspect, but I guess Christians need to save money, too, especially when families are splitting up.
Plenty of old (you may insert "dead") towns along the route. I did some reminiscing back to my Dr Pepper days (I was a contrarian as a kid, rejecting Coke). I think this sign hearkens back to the good ol' 50s when high fructose corn syrup hadn't been devised. Seeing the ever-darkening skies, I started to move on, but, last moment, I glommed onto the visual of the flag and (humble) Christmas decoration. Now, I mused, if "Jesus is the reason for the season" as the saying goes. Why do we have such pathetic birthday decor? Couldn't a local oil baron who got rich ravaging the land and people donate some nice decorations for the Savior? Just askin'...
Stuff. We Americans have stuff. Wonder how many "antique" stores sell our trash, er, stuff? This one at least took a clever approach, using humor to evoke a chuckle from this stuff-adverse tiny home driver. I didn't stop to shop.
To my ongoing point of the death of many of American towns, I will use Ryan, OK as an example with their empty sidewalks. Rest assured I could find thousands of others. And what's with this raggy flag, flying, of all places, at the Ryan American Legion hall?!
Continuing to pick on Ryan, they might want to reconsider the "No Trespassing Oklahoma" sign. Just a tad on the hostile side. But it got me to smile!
I'll pick on TX with my next post. Thanks for traveling along!