Tuesday, July 5, 2011

20 days and 4675 miles in 3 parts. Part 1:

On June 9 Max and I left Cincinnati on a car trip originally planned with a specific intent of seeing Clint, who just returned from 7 months in Afghanistan and is based in Twentynine Palms, CA.  Planning began back in the winter months as Max tried to get as much out of this trip as possible.  After much rescheduling and replanning we decided to include seeing family and friends in Arkansas and Oklahoma, visit Clint, Marianne and the grandkids in Twentynine Palms, spend two days at Bryce Canyon (reasons provided later), attend a wedding of our friends Don and Mary Joe Peairs' daughter in Boulder Utah, have dinner with Elaine's (ex-sister-in-law sister Boopie in Denver and then drive home.

Part 1 of this blog will focus on the first 5 days in Arkansas and Oklahoma. 

Our first stop was in Springdale, AR at our niece Tracy's house.  That first night Tracy fixed us a wonderful dinner of beef stroganoff (My Mom's recipe) and a great evening of conversation with her and her two beautiful daughters, Jess and Katie.  We had just returned from Philly when we started this trip so having a wonderful home cooked meal was a real treat- and of course an evening with Tracy and her girls is always a welcome evening.

This was followed up the next morning with the absolute best breakfast of the whole trip.  Tracy made sausage gravy, biscuits, and sausage that must be described as the best I have ever had.  I had intended to take a picture of this wonderful breakfast, but it seems the priority was in actually eating it instead of photographing it- so didn't get the picture until most of it was gone. Well I managed to photograph it before Don "cleaned" the platter!  I understand now why he makes me promise I will never start cooking him sausage gravy- he can't stop himself!

We left Springdale the next day and drove to Tulsa for time with Max's family.  It still feels just a bit off center to visit Tulsa- and not see Don's Mom- or his brother.  I always feel their loss more acutely while we visit there.
We stayed in Downtown Tulsa at the Hyatt - my stepbrother Steve had made his "reservation" to stay at Dad and Fay's before we were making any real plans- but it worked out just as well.  Now I have to tell you- I'm a big fan of Priceline- THANK YOU SHARON- it saves us mucho money! and spent a little time that first day walking around the downtown area.  Tulsa has a number of beautiful art deco buildings so Max snapped a few while we took a walk on the streets in the near 100 degree weather.

And I sure didn't remember the Casa Laredo Latin Grill and Tequila Bar, serving Tulsa for three generations. Actually we spent most of our "dining" experiences at Ken's Pizza or El Charrito's....

We also spent some time walking along the Arkansas River.  Tulsa has done a wonderful job developing Riverside into a 7 mile long park with walking/biking paths, artwork and even converted an old train tressel into a pedesterian bridge just above a low water dam that transforms the river into something that looks like water instead of random sandbars.  When we last lived in Tulsa in the late 60's it was just a wild overgrown area that smelled of the refineries located across the river.  The picture below is down stream from the dam and it is difficult to see, but the shallow areas were populated by numerous herons and egrets.

But this trip wasn't about seeing the sights of Tulsa- even as enjoyable as this is- but this visit was seeing family- and see family we did!

Me and my Dad! 

Add in my brother, Bub and Fay, my step Mom!

Now add in my sister-in-law Nancy!

And finally Dad and Fay with my stepbrother Steve!  We're looking forward to adding in my sister Mary at Amber's wedding this fall!

But this was a "quick trip" so we were off on Sunday for Oklahoma City to see first Clare...

We missed Oliver because he wasn't back from Ireland yet- and he was missed- but we had seen him when they recently visited here in Cincinnati.  An added treat always is to stay in Clare and Oliver's beautiful home!

We spent the next day with our dear friends Kathy and TH.  Kathy actually hired me into my first teaching position when Clint was 2 years old!

Kathy and I left the "boys" behind and we joined another dear friend Sharon Parker for lunch at my very favorite restaurant in Norman called Victoria's!

We stopped the next morning for breakfast with Don's cousin Vicki on our way out of town...

And then we were off for the drive that would eventually land us in 29 Palms- and CLINT!
(If you're feeling just a bit breathless imagine how we were feeling and the trip was barely at it's beginning!)


Sandy said...

Didn't expect to see you so soon, but ran into this right after answering your e-mail! Yes, Tulsa did a wonderful job along the river. It's a beautiful city, especially the old parts.
I just can't figure out how you two cover so many miles by car. Is speeding involved?

Don said...

Sandy, Well, I would never admit to speeding, at least not speeding too much over 5 or so mph. These days the speed limit in most states is 70 and Oklahoma, Texas New Mexico and Arizona all have speed limits of 75. Moreover, Max has trained her "needs" to match our needs for gas or food, so stops are rare and short.

Brandy said...

Great pictures of the family! Thank you! Victoria's is your favorite restaurant in Norman? What about where you and Don had your wedding reception? I'll have to check my historical logs to see if Victoria's has ever even been mentioned before as a favorite!

smathis75 said...

Priceline is awesome!

Also the pic of Clare and Olivers home?! It looks AMAZING! It looks like you can get lost in there!

ALSO i LOVE sausage gravy and biscuits. i MUST try tracy's. :)

miss you! <3

Lucas said...

I love that your dad always wears his WWII hat Aunt Max. I just want to squeeze him and say THANK YOU everytime I see his photo.

And all the family photos look marvelous but I'm partial to the first few.....for obvious reasons. :)

lil sis said...

How did you get Don out of Tulsa without a cinnamon roll from Tally's?