As I said in our last blog about working in Oklahoma, it wasn’t all work and no play. In between appointments and after hours and weekends we had plenty of time to explore.
Tulsa is big on Route 66 – you see signs everywhere of where the great highway went through town.
So the first thing we did was drive the stretch through town – from east marker to west marker. At the west end there was a plaza with an amazing giant bronze sculpture surrounded by flags of the eight states Route 66 went through.
Also along that route was the state fairgrounds which has a very tall statue of an oil digger dubbed “The Golden Driller“, so we had to stop for that.
In our research of what to do in Tulsa, one thing kept coming up: The mystery and phenomenon of “The Center of the Universe”. This intrigued me because we had already been to the “Official Center of the Universe” in Felicity, California. Of course, that one wasn’t billed as mysterious!
So that was our first destination in downtown Tulsa, the Center of the Universe. Which is just a spot on the ground in the middle of a sidewalk. No signage that I noticed and another really tall sculpture of a cloud.
It was pretty cool – if you stood just right you could hear an echo when you talked. Totally weird and we enjoyed it, but it was too hot for outdoor activities, so we took cover indoors to have some lunch on our way to the Woody Guthrie Center near there.
Tom was excited about it, I knew nothing about Woody Guthrie, but the name. Turns out, that was one of the best things we did in Tulsa. There was an incredible VR (Virtual Reality) film about the dust bowl. If you don’t know about the dust bowl, that happened when Woody was in his early twenties, I’d recommend watching a film at this – pbs website
Turns out, he wrote the infamous song “This Land is Your Land”. I associated his singing with the “twang” of old time country music – that Tom was raised with and I was raised to avoid. But Guthrie had a much, much broader influence on many genres of music. He was a prolific songwriter and artist as well. Very clever man and really great displays at the center. I most definitely recommend this for anyone visiting Tulsa.
Another great find in Tulsa is the Gilcrease Museum. Some notable facts: It is home to 18 of the 22 bronzes created by Frederic Remington, and at any time, only 6% of the museum’s collection is on display. They have a LOT of stuff – especially Native American. In addition to the galleries, they have an interactive display in the lower level where you can pull out drawer after drawer of artifacts like beaded moccasins or pipes.
The grounds were beautiful as well, and we strolled about in the heat to enjoy the trees.
I think it would be really nice to visit in cooler (less humid) weather where you could enjoy all downtown has to offer. It’s an artsy area, and we found this crazy natural sculpture in a downtown park. There is some really great architecture in Tulsa, but I only wanted to enjoy it as we drove by in the air conditioned Jeep.
Speaking of the Jeep – we drove a lot. Tulsa is a spread out town, and not nearly as big as I had envisioned. There does seem to be a lot of industry in the area – like the oil refineries – and I think that’s why the skies felt to me like those in the central valley in Cali – polluted. Which is a big reason – along with the heat – that it wasn’t my favorite city.
Although there were some nice surprises – like the ahha art center. It was recommended to us by a waiter, but I didn’t quite understand what he described as a “haunted house-like” tour of art. Even the building and the sign didn’t give us much of a clue.Going inside didn’t help us understand either. The experience is described as “Large-scale, fully immersive art installation that invites participants to explore a fantastical, multimedia environment through sight, sound, movement, and touch.” We bought tickets anyway and after looking at the fabric art exhibits on the main floor, took the elevator up to “The Experience” which was kind of like a maze of color and light, then went into some of the most unique art installations we’ve ever seen.
We had fun crawling into bubble beds, or making music by rolling a bowling ball back and forth on a couple of pianos. The whole thing was very creative. Then you can take the elevator up again and there is an art playground where you are invited to create your own art. They have every medium on hand and large piles of . . . things – like cardboard or computer chips. If you have kids – you need to take them there for some serious creative playtime. It was like there were no rules. Such fun.
Another thing we did while driving about Tulsa was to stop at a few car lots. With all the driving we are now doing with this new job, it’s becoming no fun to bounce around in the Rubicon. We had begun to think of alternative vehicles, and Tom did a ton of research. We decided – in part because of RVLove’s blog evaluation – that a Jeep Cherokee with the Trail Hawk setup would be a good fit. But I wanted to test drive one before we began our nationwide search.
Well, you know how that goes! We found a good dealership with a great salesman that must have really wanted to meet his monthly quota. So on August 31st, we traded Jeeps.
What?!! Didn’t we realize we were leaving the next day to head to Arkansas? Don’t we know that you should always sell a vehicle outright instead of trading it in? Didn’t we find out about the pain in the rear alterations that have to be made to a trail hawk before being able to tow? However could we get it ready to tow in 15 hours? Well, yes, yes, yes, and we decided to have the alterations done when we reach Little Rock. That means I get to drive it behind the motorhome to our next two or three stops. But that’s okay because it is OH so more comfortable! However, I can’t work on a blog while Tom is driving, so this one was written in Arkansas which is where our next blog will be about.
Peace & Love, Joy