Here's the short version...I have a long list of tasks that must be accomplished before I sleep tonight but instead, here's what I just did with a collage of the kids. I just had to share it with y'all.
The final installment, completing our Wednesday OKC sightseeing trifecta...Route 66 Park near Lake Overholser.
There is a plaza at this park with a miniature Mother Road depicting prominent towns along Historic Route 66. Oklahoma has more miles of Rte 66 than any other state and claims that the road is also in better shape there than any other state.
Since we have driven alongside much of Rte 66 on this trip and stayed in several of the towns displayed here, we really enjoyed seeing this display.
Here we go...from downtown Chicago (I LOVE the black granite columns used to represent Chicago!) to the pier in Santa Monica, California.
An RV Park near this Missouri town is our home tonight...
A view of Rte 66 from Oklahoma City to Chicago...
Amarillo...wouldn't you love to see another photo of Cadillac Ranch? teehee
At Flagstaff, AZ we switched roads to head south into Phoenix which was our destination this trip. The Mother Road, however, goes on to the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica, CA.
Now isn't this just the coolest thing we've seen since our visit to Mudd Island in Memphis to walk along the scale model of the Mississippi River?
Today was simply a driving day as we traveled back through the rest of Oklahoma and into Missouri which has given me this day to get caught up on all I wanted to share with you. Tomorrow evening we will arrive at the W&M Campground where we'll be back home with family.
Lovin' Life ~~ and the Surprises that Await in Every Town
The second stop on our OKC sightseeing Wednesday was the Museum of Art. Driving around looking for a post office the night before, we noticed a tower of Chihuly glass (55 feet tall!!!) in the atrium lobby of this museum. When Rich was looking at the list of things to do in OKC the next morning, he read that they have the largest permanent Chihuly collection of any museum in the country.
We would not miss any opportunity to view a collection of his glass and take photos for our grands. Jackson, Dylan, and Shelby still reminisce often, sharing their critique of his art and of walking through endless cacti gardens, about the day that we took them to the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden. The topic is a source of endless amusement.
Here is the atrium piece...
And several of our favorite pieces in the museum collection...
A favorite of mine...
Oh look, kids! We also saw colorful bowls, the orange Tiger Lilies, and boats filled with glass balls and tendrils similar to those displayed throughout the Desert Botanical Garden when we were there...don't you just love it???? chuckle...chuckle
But the most amazing piece of all was the Chihuly Waterford Crystal Chandelier, one of only two in the world that he had made in 1996 by glassblowers and etchers at the Waterford Crystal factory in Ireland.
Of course we toured other galleries in the museum while we were there. The kids will also get a kick out of this. Do you think Grandpa was hollering at other patrons to "get over here and buy some flowers?" For those who are wondering, he and Shelby have worked the flower shop or cart at several children's museums, to our great amusement.
It's a great little art museum and we would encourage you to take a couple of hours to stroll through its galleries the next time you're Meandering through Oklahoma City.
With the only element common to all three being that they are located in Oklahoma City, I am going to post three separate entries, one for each of the OKC sights we visited.
While there, we wanted to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial on the site where the Alfred P. Murrah Building stood before being bombed on April 19, 1995. It is a touchingly simple and powerfully emotional memorial to the victims, their families, and all who were exposed to the horror of that day. I was deeply moved by its beauty and the symbolism of each of its elements.
This plaque stands to the side at each end of the Reflecting Pool.
Field of Empty Chairs
A remaining wall section of the original building.
Field of Empty Chairs
Looking west across the Reflecting Pool. The white statue of Jesus, And Jesus Wept, stands across the street on the spot where a Catholic church was nearly demolished by the blast. The Church built that but there is street construction so I couldn't get any decent shots of that touching and symbolic memorial. The second photo looks eastward across the Reflecting Pool.
Rescuers Orchard across the Reflecting Pool from the Field of Empty Chairs
The Survivor Tree
There is much information about this Memorial online with descriptions of the meaning behind each of the elements. The most poignant for me is the story about The Survivor Tree and how, to this day, they are using it to inspire hope in the face of horror wherever it occurs.
Returning home by the same route we drove out, there is little to share about scenery along the way. Monday and Tuesday we rode in silence most of the time. The one bright spot was a call from the kids who, with two days left before going back to school, were also feeling a bit lost without us and the girls.
Apparently antelope herds are moving down for the winter. Driving along I-40 through New Mexico we saw several small herds (in two of the photos below), often grazing alongside cattle and again enjoyed the colorful terrain as we passed.
We spent Monday night in Tucumcari (remember...I love the sound of that name?) and then drove slightly past Oklahoma City to a KOA in Choctaw, OK where we stayed until this morning.
There was even less to see on Tuesday's drive through the Texas Panhandle so here is Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo...for the third time, right?
The girls have simply been morose. Bella would not even come out from under the table when called one evening and at one point Dora stood staring at me lightly moaning. They have really missed all the attention and activity at the Crane home and the kids really miss them...aaaaawww.
After we got into Oklahoma we saw this wonderful yellow bridge on Historic Rte 66 that parallels I-40, lots of pretty views of their red dirt, and lovely cotton fields loaded with brilliant tufts of white.
Oklahoma City though was a different story. We took a day to sightsee and I may have to break that experience into three separate posts! Who knew?
No matter how much time we get to spend with the kids, it seems to pass so very quickly and the leaving is so difficult. We are snugglers...we have always been snugglers...so on the day we leave there is much of that to hold in our memories until next time. Oh how I love these kids.
This time the girls got into the act too; here Shelby and Dora are sharing last minute nuzzles.
That first step is a high one but with a big boost from their dad each of the kids checked out the roof of the RV before we left.
Rich and I gathered all our stuff and went to the RV to put everything away; they all joined us so we didn't miss any of the precious time left to be together. What's that? You're asking who is doing the actual putting away while I take pictures? Are you new here?
And when it was time to go, the kids crossed the street toward their house together...
After we got rolling, Rich drove around the block for one final wave. Dylan ran out to give us a "check" he had written for $500 to get us to stay.
Leaving these five beautiful ones is so hard but made bearable with the knowledge that the missing them is so deeply rooted in love.
We drove to Holbrook, AZ that day, spending the night in perhaps the best KOA of all. We wished we had stayed there instead of the other RV Park when the kids were with us. They even have an outdoor cafe where we had a delicious dinner and visited with other travelers.