Here, there and elsewhere...

Trip Start Sep 27, 2010
Trip End Mar 23, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Oklahoma
Friday, November 12, 2010

Next morning we went through the usual pre journey routine even though we were not going to be moving very far. For all you non RVers this means Malc empties holding tanks and disconnects water and electricity, possibly checks tyre pressures and de bugs the windscreen if necessary. My duties are inside, I stow everything away safely making sure there is nothing that can fly free as we travel, we retract the jacks (stabilizers) pull in the slides and are ready to go. The last check after we have hooked up Toad is to make sure his tow lights are synchronized and working (we have a magnetic set that sit on his roof and that are connected to Bree) and that his steering is not locked on. I can see him in the rearview camera on Bree's dash, so as we move away I check to see that Toad’s steering wheel is turning – a piece of white tape on it helps me do this (Thanks again Doug for that tip).

So having done all of this we set off this time on rather a foggy morning. Thankfully by the time we reached Newcastle – yep not that far from home then eh? – The sun had come out. Having chosen our campground, we had checked it on a review site that we have found to be very useful, bearing in mind that people have differing expectations. Some had written about the number and strictness of the rules, even likening it to a concentration camp; forewarned is forearmed so to speak; however we found it to be a great site. Very clean, tidy and quiet, rules are there for everyone’s benefit, yes Donna the co owner was very direct yet welcoming but she was proud of her campground and rightly so.

We drove into Norman the following day as there were some interesting things to see here and as is often the case we made for the visitors centre – only to find it closed unfortunately. Nevertheless we wandered along the "Legacy Trail" we had read about. Part of a regeneration programme, this is a pleasant walk along side the rail track and lined with trees, still resplendent in their  colourful Autumn coats.


As you might expect the walk records Norman’s historic growth and recognizes some of its many famous residents past and present. Main Street seemed a little quiet for a Saturday morning, but the peace was shattered by a train that literally screamed through at an alarming speed. Malc caught it on camera, but regretted not having videoed it – it’s the fastest train we have seen on all our travels I think. Norman was primarily developed as the headquarters of the Santa Fe Railroad, with a passenger depot and a freight station. Anyway having recovered our composure, we ventured a few streets back from the centre to find the “Crucible” Foundry. Now, you may remember the Guardian statue from the State Capitol, well he was 'born’ here as were the figures in the Land Rush Monument. There are several other pieces in their garden. Ok so next on our list was a museum that is part of Oklahoma University, just as Norman has grown, the tiny university founded in the 1890’s has matured into one of the top ranked establishments in the nation. Being Brits abroad and ones that are not really into major American sports, the significance of this sign did not dawn on us until we tried to reach the museum. Traffic got heavier, the number of pedestrians began to increase, until we found ourselves nose to tail with cars and trucks all looking for a parking spot. People sporting red shirts, caps and jackets swarmed towards the stadium. Right, so going to the museum was perhaps not the cleverest idea today…the Sooners have a game, their stadium seats 86000, so that gives you some idea!

Norman also has the National Weather centre, a place we would have loved to have visited and on the face of it that would have been on the cards as they do open to the public for tours. We are avid weather watchers and have always praised the accuracy of the forecasting service. However, as those Brits, we needed to have booked a tour at least 2 weeks in advance to allow time for security checks to be made and clearance to be given. Understandable? Well a bit of a shame.

There was still a lot to see in OKC though, we are market ‘junkies’ as you know, so anticipating a good day we set off in search of the farmers market…we found the building, it was rather uninspiring, but undaunted we went inside. Didn’t find a farmers market but did find ‘the largest wooden dance floor in the US’!

It was also supposed to be an antique market; well we walked all around outside and saw this building…

No couldn’t be, but look what was inside…

On another day we parked Toad and took off on foot to wander; we visited the ‘Red Earth’ exhibition where as always I was mesmerized by the native beadwork…

We wandered along Automobile Alley, once home to the head offices of major motor companies, some of the buildings still exist.

Then we made our way to the National Memorial, the spot where in 1995 the Murrah federal building was destroyed by a bomb which took 168 lives. It is an incredibly peaceful site and if there ever has to be a fitting memorial (and we all wish there should never be the need) to such an atrocity, then this is it. Interestingly when talking to any locals they invariably asked if we had visited the memorial – it is a major part of the cities recent history. Calm and dignified it speaks of the resilience and strength of humankind. The terrorist will never win.

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