March 27th - 29th
A picturesque view of Lake Thunderbird and the shoreline.
Sissy captured deer feeding just outside the park gate.
Rising sun as viewed from our campsite on Lake Thunderbird.
Oklahoma City National Memorial. Each symbolic chair represents a person killed in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, and the thin layer of water streaming atop marble sits where 5th Street used to be. The north side of the building (5th Street) is where the bomb was activated.
B52 bomber outside Tinker Air Force Base. Sissy is reading the caption below the plane and the scoot is parked to the right.
It was a cold, early morning for us as we headed out of Branson (31 degrees) and onto Oklahoma City. How cold was it? It was so cold the bike almost didn't start! And, that would have been a terrible thing because Sissy would've had to push it and John up the ramp and into the trailer.
There were two guys from Ontario who parked their rig right next to ours during the night. When they woke up and saw the Harley, they couldn't believe it fit into the camper. They were all eyes as John finally got the bike started and drove it up the ramp.
Leaving Branson in a fog bank, we headed north to Springfield and then west toward Joplin before entering Oklahoma. It was a little out of the way, but the roads were good and we didn't have to go through the Ozark Mountains again. Once into Oklahoma, we drove onto the Will Rogers Turnpike to Tulsa and then onto the Turner Turnpike into Oklahoma City. We had learned our lesson about turnpikes in Florida (remember the delays on I95?) There was an $8.50 toll on each of the roads but it was well worth it. With a 75 mph speed limit we made good time, arriving in Oklahoma City about 1400.
We made a quick stop at the Welcome Center for directions to a state park. Lake Thunderbird State Park was the only one close by; about 35 miles south in a town called Norman. Surrounding Lake Thunderbird (1800 acres), the park was beautiful. The Hickory Hill campground, one of many campgrounds in the park, even had full hookups. The bath houses were unkept and in need of repair, but for the most part the campground was perfect.
The Park Ranger said we needed a fishing license to fish, so off to the local store we went on the bike. John told Sissy in advance to bring her driver's license, but she refused. At the store, the clerk immediately asked Sissy for her driver's license, and she wasn't going to issue a fishing license until John made the comment "You'll make my day if you refuse to give her a license!" The clerk then gave us 2 non-resident fishing licenses for 5 days. I bet you can't guess what was next! Yup, we wet the hooks in the lake right at our campsite. We didn't catch anything, but that wasn't the point. Sissy got to fish again! We also met some nice folks from Alabama in the site next to ours (Richard and Patsy) who were staying for 2 weeks visiting relatives.
Richard said it had been cold and raining for about the last week and a half, and Wednesday was the first nice day they'd had. Go figure; beautiful weather on John and Sissy's arrival. Thursday was suppose to be in the he upper 70's, so we made plans to ride the bike into town. Of course, that was after Sissy wet her hook again in the morning and snapped some excellent pics of the rising sun.
Onto Denny's at I40 and Merridian it was on the scoot. Denny's you say? Of course, John wanted to revisit the same breakfast restaurant where he and Ray ate years ago while on an extradition. The western omelets are great in Oklahoma City! We never did find the restaurant, but the hotel was still standing. John retraced his "Smoky and the Bandit" adventure that he and Ray took years ago, and we did find a Denny's close by. The breakfast there was actually pretty good! We also chatted with some nice folks at the restaurant who gave us directions to everywhere we wanted to go. There was even a guy from Hawaii (Eric) who went out of his way to show us on the map where things were. He gave us hints on campgrounds in Oklahoma/Texas, and said if we were in Fort Sill, to stop by and get a Meers Burger.
After breakfast, and various directions from several different people, it was off toward downtown and the Oklahoma City National Memorial. We located it without problems, and were able to park in a metered spot right across the street. The memorial sits on the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing. Portions of damage are still visible on surrounding buildings and even the parking garage (still in operation) located to the south. Symbolic chairs represent each person killed in the blast and the rows of chairs represent the floor the victim's were on. There is marble set in the ground with water streaming over it representing where 5th Street used to be. The marble blocks are remains of the building. On the west side, there is a chain link fence with everything you can think of attached. Items are still being sent from people all over the world. It was very moving.
On the way back to the campground, we stopped at an aircraft display outside Tinker Air Force Base. There were Air Force planes dating back to the 30's. The B52 was enormous as evidenced by the pic to the left with Sissy and the scoot nearby.
Fishing at the campground and then at the fishing pier a short distance away (no luck at either) was next on the agenda before dinner. Chatting with some locals (a disabled, smoking, Vietnam vet on oxygen, a couple women (with some teeth) and a few rug rats (kids) was enjoyable even though we came up empty in the fishing department.
We've decided to create 2 web pages for our time in Oklahoma City to include more larger pics for you to view and to narrate all 3 days of our sightseeing. Click here to visit page 2.
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