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2/25/23, Oklahoma City to Amarillo

A shock, I must have been counting the days wrong because I left on a Monday and it's only Saturday. I'm just going to go with it.

I have a friend from Oklahoma. She grew up in a shooting family, hunting with her daddy and not surprisingly if you knew her, she was (I'm sure still is) a good shot. Although she's been in Massachusetts forever, she still sounds like she's from Oklahoma, and she's got a lot of it in her as well. Those of us who know her regularly bring up the advice she once gave us in passing, which illustrates her pragmatism: If you shoot someone, you want to drag them over your threshold so that you can claim self-defense, which apparently works in Oklahoma.

When I asked this friend about good places to stop on my way through the state, she said there weren't any. I pushed her a little and she gave me a few crumbs, but it was clear there was no conviction in her recommendations. Well, I pulled in to the West Village of Oklahoma City last evening right before dark, an area that had been warehouses and is being renovated into a hip residential area. My hotel (confession time, another Museum/Hotel, which I felt I had earned after my $63/night affair in Hot Springs) had been a Ford factory and then an office building. I wandered the streets to see graphic design and architecture firms that had moved in, there is a lot of style, waaay more than Boston (low bar, yes). So, nice surprise, and of course I let my friend know. Like every other city, except for a few restaurants that looked full, there was not a soul around on a Friday night.

This friend from Oklahoma also texted me to say that I should be taking portrait photographs as well as photographs of buildings and landscape. I have always thought about it because I spend about 78% of my time watching people, but am much more comfortable with invisibility and no interaction, having been told by someone that it's cheating if you sneak photographs without asking. So when I arrived at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and began a chat with Trista the cashier (oh dear, I think we called them Museum Associates or something at the Gardner), who was excited that I lived in Boston because she wants to visit Salem to get in touch with her witch lineage, I asked her if I could take her photograph which was weird and awkward, but there, Oklahoma Lady, I did it. The museum was incredible. Having once been stuck in Denver for a day, I fell in love with all the western paintings at the museum there, and was happy to visit others at this museum. But there were so many other things: great photographs of native people, mostly identified, Annie Oakley's guns, beaded shoes, wedding dresses, saddles, a wagon, a rifle and pistol collection and most impressively, a miniature western town within the museum.

After, it was on to Amarillo, to that beautiful flat land of Texas. I did get off my frenemy Route 40 to drive on Route 66 a bit, but found I had quenched my thirst for decrepit shit the day prior. On to the clean lines with not a lot of clutter, beautiful hay colored ground and a light blue sky, and sometimes deep black steer. And many many windmills. Whomever designed those did a great job, they are very beautiful. But to be clear, my hotel is in clutter/big box hell. I wanted to go to the boot store, so walked about a mile across restaurant parking lots along Route 40.

The other night, one of my friends asked me if I'm lonely. I'm not, I can't explain how right this feels. I have listened to not one podcast, radio station, book or song, I have enjoyed so immensely having unstructured downtime to think, observe and, well, snack. It got me wondering if I'm really an introvert, but I think that like a lot of us who spend time with a variety of people, willing energy goes into adapting to the person we're with, that is how we connect, and I love doing that. But sometimes it's nice to just be and not make any effort. All that said, it's really nice staying connected with you, sending updates and hearing from you, Thank you, they bring me lots of joy.

But I have to warm up my socialization skills because tomorrow I'm spending the night in Santa Fe with a friend's sister (whom I've not met), who is an intimacy counselor. I can't imagine what her assessment will be of this twice-divorced solo traveller. Ha!

The Sonic at night, downtown OKC

Random civic room, ready for some dancin'

This is Fred Jones, who worked in the Ford plant that became the hotel I stayed in, across the street. After Ford closed down, he bought the building and used it for his own businesses.

The Ford Plant where Fred Jones worked

Vibe in this part of OKC, it was nice.

Hotel lobby area

Feathered camelope? In the lobby of the hotel, not clear if it's lobby decor or part of the "museum".

Trista, guest services person extraordinaire at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, has roots in Salem and we talked witches. She is the first person I've asked to take her photographs, she was kind, it was awkward.

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. How did she ride with that hair?

Lassos 'n spurs 'n things

Cowboy hats for sale in the gift shop. We just don't have that at our museums.

A whole mini western town was installed in the museum. This was the bank.

And the church


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