29 August, 2016

EPIC Road Trip- Installment #1

~Oklahoma and points west~

I have a lot to report and will endeavor to keep this moving along in a fast-paced and entertaining manner.  In the afternoon of our second day on the road we arrived in Stillwater, OK at the ranch home of our dear friends and former NC neighbors. God blessed us with neighbors for ten years ('85-'95) who became best friends, it simply doesn't get better than that; I will eternally be grateful. Janis and I hit it off from the beginning- we not only were walking companions and prayer partners but, as mothers, we raised our children together in homes side by side where each one was equally as comfortable as if they were siblings. Our daughters were maids/matrons of honor in each others' weddings. Our bond is one that is firmly forged.
Our first stop after arriving in Stillwater was at the iconic "Eskimo Joe's" restaurant for a late lunch and some souvenir T-shirt shopping. Janis(R) and I(L) picked right up where we left off after our last visit  several years ago and, believe it, continued to talk and catch up until 2:30 AM the next morning!

End of the Trail ~ James Earle Fraser, sculptor, 1915

We were off the the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City the next morning. Knowing little to virtually nothing about cowboys or western art, this trip was enlightening and extremely informative. Our friends and former neighbors were more than happy to immerse us in their native Oklahoma world of western culture and lifestyle. 
After the Ride ~ Glenna Goodacre, 1998
I was taken with this bronze sculpture of President Reagan there, the amazing irony of this is yet to be revealed in only a few days! Stay tuned~
We were fortunate to have timed our visit to coincide with the annual "Prix de West";  a prestigious invitational art exhibit of western paintings and sculpture held annually.  Here Janis and I are touring the "Prix de West" show at the National Cowboy Museum.
While visiting Oklahoma City we went to the memorial site of the first act of terrorism on American soil from April 19, 1995. This is now sacred, holy ground; set aside for quiet thoughts and reflection.

The Gates of Time flank either end of the reflecting pool, the entrance portal to the memorial is the 9:02 gate. The East Gate (above) bears the marking 9:01, representing the innocence of the city before the attack. The second, the 9:03 or West Gate, stands for the moment Oklahoma City was changed forever and commemorates the hope that came from the horror in the moments and days that followed the bombing. The water which occupies what was formerly  N.W. Fifth St. flows gently to soothe wounds and calm hearts.
This is the Survivor Tree, a 90+ year old American Elm that bore witness to the violence of that day and now stands as a profound symbol of human resilience.  The surrounding wall bears the inscription: "The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated, our deeply rooted faith sustains us."  If you find yourself in the OKC area take the time to stop and visit, you won't be sorry.
Bright and early the next morning we bid our friends a fond farewell and headed out. I was lucky to stop at two quilt shops this day. Sooner Quilts in Guthrie, OK was a precious shop; well stocked, with a friendly and knowledgeable staff, I was able to find a few treasures here to bring back home.
Oklahoma Quiltworks in Oklahoma City was much the same, the inventory and personality of the shop and personnel were incredible, this shop was well worth the short drive out of our route for the day.  I came away excited and energized to complete some projects at home after scoring some terrific backing fabrics at an excellent price from their sale room!
All that shopping made us me hungry! Our friends had mentioned a local burger chain to us, Braum's. We made a quick detour for lunch there. Known for their locally raised beef, vegetables and dairy; our lunch of burgers and milkshakes was delicious and memorable. From this point westward the landscape began to change dramatically. As we transitioned from OK into the panhandle of Texas, the vegetation thinned and distant mesas appeared on the horizon. "Rest Stops" along the interstate became "Picnic Stops" (translates to: "no facilities"), this can make for some desperate driving! "Welcome Centers" became our new destination and the one in New Mexico late that afternoon was a welcome stop indeed! We spent the night in Albuquerque and were off a new adventure the next morning!
Canyon de Chelly (da- SHAY) is located in the northeast corner of Arizona; it offers some spectacular scenery! We covered the south rim of the canyon and taking in the scenic overlooks, each one interesting, rugged and varied.

Of all the stops, this one: Spider Rock, stood out as the highlight. This is Navajo Nation; native women were selling handmade jewelry here at each stop from their cars. We left Canyon de Chelly and traveled north and west to Kayenta, AZ and rte. # 163 through Monument Valley. To be there, among these massive red sandstone "monuments" is truly a spiritual experience.
The scale of these buttes in Monument Valley can be imagined by the perspective of the cars.

We left Monument Valley and headed toward Cedar City, UT; our destination for the next three nights.  Driving straight west along the AZ/UT border we passed through the beautiful Glen Canyon Recreation Area and saw the dam which forms Lake Powell and then on to Kanab. 
Crossing on the very scenic (and steep) Rte #14, we reached altitudes of 9,900 feet greeted by Aspen and Spruce; a yet ever-changing landscape once again.
I'll leave you in Cedar City for now. This is a good stopping point before moving on to some National and State parks. To keep this from getting boring I will give you some free informational facts along the way, that way your time spent reading won't be in vain (hopefully the photos make up for it!). A treat along the journey for me is Snapple tea. The bonus with each bottle is the fun fact inside the lid. Allow me share two for now:  "President Chester A. Arthur owned 80 pairs of pants, he changed them several times each day."  and this one- "A group of 11 or more cows is a FLINK."  There you go. Don't you feel smarter already?
Life is Good!

The next installment of this EPIC road trip will cover several days' journey 
and the sights and stops along the way from UT to Stevenson Ranch, CA.



Janet O. said...

Looks like an amazing trip so far! Can't wait to see more. : )

cityquilter grace said...

wow...thanks for taking me along....amazing scenery so far! anxious to see the quilty haul tho...

45th Parallel Quilter said...

I am hooked ... can't wait for your next installment! Thanks for taking us all along for the ride!! Linda

Unknown said...

Having seen some of those places brings back a lot of memories.Beautiful pictures and comments.The barn looks so much like my older brothers barn in Greeley Co.!!Did you stop there??I know that during this journey you and Marc spread Gods mesage everywhere you went.

Carol said...

Looking forward to this travelogue. Planning a trip from TX north through NM, CO, WY and MT in a few weeks. Hoping for some suggestions. Been to several places you have shown in this first part. And Oklahoma Quiltworks is a great shop! I would have steered you to a different local hamburger place, tho!

Sherrill said...

OKLAHOMA!! Where I grew up! The monument there in OKC is SO moving--so beautifully designed with such significance. Love it! Cowboy Hall of Fame is awesome, too! Braum's has THE BEST ice cream. NM, AZ, UT--all so beautiful. Too bad you missed most of Texas! LOL Stay safe and have a great journey.

Lindah said...

Oh, my goodness! You were here in CA! Now I need to look up Stevenson Ranch to see where it is. Your photos are beautiful. Isn't it great to get away and see new scenery! We seldom leave town, but after 5 years, we just returned from a few days at the coast. It was wonderful. What a contrast in scenery and climate.

Nane said...

I danced the night away in my boots and jeans at Eskimo Joes when they hosted our engineering competition one year.

NanaNor's said...

Hi, Just catching up on your road trip. How fun and I loved it that you saw your best friends/old neighbors as well. You've described the relationship we have with our old neighbors from Ca. We travel with them, she and I quilt together and we are so blessed to remain close even though we are states away. Love all your stops; can't wait to see what's next.