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Woolaroc Ranch, Bartlesville, OK: Day 5: June 19, 2016

Louise Speaks:  We stayed in Bartlesville, OK last night so that we could get to the Woolaroc Ranch nice and early today. I don’t remember why I wanted to go to the Woolaroc Ranch, but I do remember that it was on my list.

Water TowersHowever, we did have one quirky thing to see in town before heading to the ranch and that were “three unique water towers.”  Most towns just have one water tower, but Bartlesville has three.  So to be cute, they have labeled each tower as Hot, Warm and Cold.  I’m sure parents have a real challenge explaining this to their kids.

100_9403Our next stop was the Woolaroc Ranch.  The ranch is on the outskirts of town, but worth the drive.  Woolaroc is a huge place that was built by Frank Phillips, the founder of Phillips Petroleum.  The ranch gets it’s name from WOO for woods, LA for lake and ROC for rocks.  Phillips used this place for his weekend getaways.  After his death, the home and land were turned into lodging facilities and a museum.

100_9417There is something here for everyone.  This past April, a petting zoo was opened.  There is also an observation tower that you can climb, and we did, and from the top the view allows you to see for miles.  The museum itself hosts one of the largest collections of western and Native American art in the United States.  You can even get a Buffalo Burger at the concession stand.

100_9425Once you enter the grounds, there are signs everywhere telling you to stay in your car.  The animals roam freely although there are fences in some areas, but not everywhere.  The animals, including large bison walk along side of the road and have no fear of vehicles, not even the motor home.  You are able to roam the grounds in your vehicle, enjoy the museum, explore the lodge, go to the top of the tower and enjoy the beautiful grounds at your own leisure.

100_9419There is however, a tour that takes you on a five mile drive through some of the most beautiful portions of the Woolaroc Preserves.  The tour includes a stop at an authentic restoration of an 1840’s Traders Camp where true to life mountain men offer a glimpse of early settler living.  Here you are able to experience nature’s beauty while smelling the clean fresh air of the Osage Hills and listen to the peaceful sounds of the streams running through the 3,700 acres of wildlife preserves.

100_9401There are also many scheduled events so that you can plan your trip around a particular event like camping in a tee pee, concerts and even a Wonderland of Lights.  Many exotic animals like zebras, ostriches and wapiti’s roam the grounds.  It appears that Frank Phillips is much like William Hearsts, who loves to have his own zoo on his property.

100_9421We could have spent much more time here, but we do have places to go and still more things to see.  Tonight we are going to see Thelma’s cousin in Springfield Missouri, so we have to hit the road.  Long day on the road today, but we did want to make it to Springfield in time for dinner.  So our longest day so far…420 miles…Yikes!

Woolrac Ranch is in Patricia’s Book “1000 Places To See Before You Die”, and deserves a B rating.  If we would have had more time, I’m sure we would have seen more.

AM…Page 645


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Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival, OKC, OK

Louise Speaks:   The Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival was last weekend so we missed it by a week.  Oklahoma City was still buzzing from the festival and venders were just packing up to live.  It is unfortunate that we missed the festival but it is the last thing in Patricia’s book “1000 Places To See Before You Die” for the state of Oklahoma that we had to visit.  I am going to borrow some photos and info about the festival from the internet as I doubt if we will come back to Oklahoma just to par take in this annual event.

1275488116_485Oklahoma is home to 39 tribes, more than any other state.  The tribes each display their native culture by wearing colorful costumes and head gear and performing their native dances.  The Cultural Festival is a Pow Wow like no other.  It includes a large variety of fine arts and crafts and there are shows where you can purchase paintings, pottery and jewelry.    More than 1,000 American Indian artists and dancers from throughout North America gather to celebrate the richness and diversity of their heritage with the world.  For three exciting days, Oklahoma City will be at the center of Native American art and culture as more than 30,000 tribal members participate .  This years festival saw more than 250,000 visitors gather to celebrate from as far away as Hawaii and Alberta Canada.

photoVisitors get caught up in the drumming music and the singing and dancing.  There are countless varieties of dance that can leave you mesmerized.  The original dance of the Northern plains depicts a warrior challenging an enemy and  the costumes are made of buckskin and natural colors in their costuming.  The fast paced neon colored costumes for the men’s Fancy Dance is the showiest of the dances and most athletically demanding.  This dance is usually performed by boys toddlerand young men due to the activity involved.  Children learn these dances as soon as they are able to walk.  There is a dancing division for children 5 years of age and younger.  The parents work hard to prepare their children and have them ready to perform each year at the festival.

You may not see the polished level of showmanship at the Red Earth Festival, but you will see a more traditional authentic community come together and you will find it more interesting and entertaining for that reason.

I can’t rate the Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival, but in looking at the photos and seeing the Myriad Gardens in Oklahoma City, I’m sure it was a great three day event.  Maybe one day I will return the first week of June to experience the festival myself.

AM…Page 648


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Amarillo TX / Oklahoma City, OK: Day 4: June 18, 2016

Louise Speaks:  We had one last stop in Amarillo, TX before 100_9385continuing east.  As you are traveling on I-40, along the frontage road is one artist interpretation of a “Stoner Patriot Peace Garden of All Faiths.”  Story is that an artist had a statement to make and he asked some close 100_9380friends to help.  It looks like the attraction is meant to convey that no matter what your lifestyle , there’s support and love.  There s a large “peace” symbol from the hippie days and a large cross.  There are benches where you can 100_9382sit and pray or just think.  Random signs are placed throughout the area saying “Support Our Troops”, “POW and MIA” signs, as well as quotes and life date ranges.  All these signs are done in metal.  The garden was very clean with freshly mowed grass and no debris of any kind.  A quirky stop, but one with lots of meaning.  Once again as we were leaving…another car was pulling up to take pictures as well.

100_9388We then proceeded east.  I had a list, by state of all the quirky things to see by city.  Once we crossed into Oklahoma we came to the town of El Reno, home of the Squawk-N-Skoot Chicken...yep you heard me right.  Turns out there a several quirky things to see in El Reno, but there was a street festival going on so many of the streets were closed off.

100_9389El Reno does have a very special place in town honoring those that have served.  It is called “Hero’s Plaza”.  The Plaza is one of those heartfelt memorials to veterans which one finds throughout small town America.  The arched gate in the front  is made of memorial bricks  depicting service men and women from all our major wars starting with the Civil War. The Native American on the piece is in honor of the Code Talkers and the many who fought in the Civil War. The plaza also contains free-standing monuments dedicated to each of America’s wars and conflicts, starting with World War I.  The names of locals lost during each war are inscribed.  Perhaps the saddest are the monuments to current conflicts where you wonder how many names will be added before it is done.

100_9391From El Reno, it was off to Oklahoma City.  Once again this is, OK,  not our first time stopping in OKC, but there are many quirky things we have missed.  The first on are list, is yet another form of art.  It appears that an architectural firm, Fitzsimmons Architects decided to place a piece of his art work out where everyone could see.  One of the architects took the original spiral staircase fire escape from the historic 1909 Marion Hotel and hung it across a street.  The spiral staircase is suspended in mid-air between two buildings, and resembles a DNA strand, hence the name “Architectural DNA”.

100_9392Along with many other famous country singers like Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood, Vince Gill is from Oklahoma City.   In front of the high school auditorium, of NW Classen High School where Vince Gill attended school and graduated, stands a 9 1/2 foot tall bronze statue of Vince Gill.  On Oct. 29, 2014 Vince Gill won his 20th Grammy Award.  Sculptor Jack Nortz created the statue along with Vince Gills 1952 Fender Telecaster guitar, to honor his accomplishments.

100_9396Our last stop for Oklahoma City is in front of the Brick town Ballpark.  Mickey Mantle, the famous New York Yankee switch-hitter, really had no connection to Oklahoma City.  But he was from Oklahoma, so he merited a statue outside of the states triple-A minor league ballpark.  The Mickey Mantle larger than life statue is across from the Mickey Mantle Steakhouse and is surrounded by other bronze busts of famous baseball players.

Our plan was to stay overnight here in Oklahoma City, but since my brother, who lives here is out of town, we decided to drive to our next stop of Bartlesville OK. tonight to give us a head start in reaching Thelma’s cousin in Springfield, MO.

So today was a very long day.  446 miles and 5 stops, but stops that took us through down town OKC…good thing it’s Saturday.  We made it to the Riverside RV Resort in Bartlesville while it was still day light, but barely.  So far our 4 day total is 1,398 miles and  26 stops, through 4 states.  There are 21 stops that we had planned to see, but either ran out of time or just couldn’t find them…oh well, I’m sure another trip through these 4 states will be in our future.

So now it’s time to hit the sack, and get ready for another adventurous day tomorrow.