Sunday, May 8, 2011

Oklahoma City: Cowboys, Indians, and Boston Rob

End of the Trail. Credit: Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

[2010 Out West Road Trip.  Travels with Carol.]

In March 2010, my mother, Carol, and I took a road trip from Missouri to New Mexico, in search of sun and warmth. Here is Day 2 of our trip.     

Thursday, 4 march 10 

Arrived in OKC a little before 11:00 a.m. Went directly to hotel next door to Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. It is a Howard Johnson's and only $50 per night! Hoo boy! Unfortunately, it had mixed reviews online, so wanted to eyeball it before making a commitment to something that might turn out to be like Bates Motel. But it's fine. And furthermore, a room was already available for us to get into this morning. So we dumped our gear, refreshed a bit, then walked over to the museum.
Walking into the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is a real stunner. The GIGANTIC sculpture (End of the Trail) makes a way bigger impact in person than it does online. 

Walter Ufer. Credit: Chicago Institute of Art
By Bonita Wa Wa Calachaw Nunez. Credit: Smithsonian
The museum is beautifully designed inside and out. The cowboy exhibits are really good, covering everything from cowboy "types," to hats, spurs, boots, bunkhouse life, etc. There is also a fine rodeo section that includes a solid women's subsection. Great multimedia exhibit that incorporates the visual, sounds, and videos of all things rodeo. You even walk around bull and bronco pens. It would have been really cool to have the smells of a rodeo wafting in: sweat, manure, roasting meat, beer, etc  The museum holds a rich native American exhibit area. I especially liked also the western sport hunting exhibits. Some favorite artists included Bonita Wa Wa Calachaw Nunez and Walter Ufer.

Credit: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Carol fell in love with Duane Bryers' "Two's Company."
I was annoyed at the Western Performers section; it was almost exclusively testosterone-based. The token women included Barbara Stanwyck (Big Valley), the woman who played Kitty in Gunsmoke, and Dale Evans. What about Jane Fonda for her Cat Ballou? Or John Wayne's frequent partner, Maureen O'Hara?
After we wore ourselves out walking around and consuming knowledge, we walked back to the hotel, then went to lunch at a local BBQ place considered good by the locals, County Line. Good food, though not a place I'd go out of the way to visit. 
Returned to the hotel for an early evening. Cheese sandwich and cashews for dinner.
On tonight's Survivor, from Boston Rob to Coach (aka the Dragonslayer): "OK, now stop yer effin' crying and lift your head up like a man." 
Weather gorgeous. 
I can't improve on Mzuri's discussion of our eventful day, agreeing with what a treat the Cowboy Museum was.  Am enjoying the comments of our subscribers especially their opinions of Oklahoma.  My only reference previously was that Shilo's Girl really liked Tulsa after visiting it a year or so ago with friends.  This was my first visit and several things surprised me.  The first that the trees looked different - kind of scrubby and gnarly and pretty in their own way.  Highways are toll roads.  I was told by a museum docent they were supposed to return to free roads but as long as work was being done on them would remain toll roads...this explained the handful of workers at the sides of the road scratching in the gravel.  All of the casinos plus a couple of race tracks are owned by Indian tribes of which there are many.  The toll road money goes to the tribes also and we drove thru several different ones.  By the way, from Warrenton, Missouri, to Tulsa was only about six hours. 


I can't read any more of this! You are missing the true gems of the great state of OK. You could be casino jumping, drinking overpriced 8 oz vodka mixers, chatting up "farmers" that seem to live in the casinos and "farm" at the same time. I know this from some limited experience during my stay in Springfield, MO (56 minutes away). You should also try to make time to find lost treasures in the numerous flea markets that litter seemingly every town.

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