Saturday, March 17, 2007

What A Way To Travel

Driving down Route 74 smack in the middle of the greenest pastures you can imagine... Cows, trees, tractors scattered across the landscape... A pretty blond woman sitting next to me, rubbing oil on the back of my neck to relax me.

Got your attention?

Now don’t get upset mom. I had full control of the wheel. And the fact is, this was perfectly legitimate ... dammit. The oil-rubbing woman was a new friend named Kathy Jo and she was merely applying some essential oil on my neck and upper chest. I was introduced to Kathy Jo by Tina Hilbert, the wonderful owner of Core Yoga, where I've been practicing while in OKC. When I told Tina about my back issues, she kept pushing me to call Kathy Jo, which I stupidly resisted for a few days. Of course, when I finally called her and went in for a “raindrop aromatherapy” treatment, I was pretty bummed I’d waited even those few days. What an experience. I can't remember ever being so completely relaxed that way. Everyone should try this at least once and the best news is, it seems to have helped my back.

Now, who would have thought I’d be driving down a country strip of highway in the middle of Oklahoma, having oil rubbed on my body that way? Now this is the scenic route I'm talkin' about! And the best thing is, I certainly didn’t shop around for the moment. But it turns out I’m being blessed with some terrific Oklahoma tour guides during my visit. Kathy Jo and I took a drive up to Guthrie, OK, a wonderful small town about 30 miles north of OKC. They say Guthrie looks exactly the same today as it looked on the day it was founded during the Land Run in 1889. I found out that Guthrie was actually Oklahoma's first state capital. It was fun to walk around and see the small shops and galleries and, of course, Kathy Jo made sure we stepped into the Blue Bell Saloon where Tom Mix used to tend bar. The place was like a mini Tom Mix museum. At one point a nice, toothless local man gave me a tour of the place while keeping his tush planted in his bar stool. He pointed out three original bullet holes from when people where still in the habit of shooting guns in bars. (Actually, I suppose people still do that kind of thing.) “Whore house was right upstairs,” he laughed, pointing at the original metal, patterned ceiling. “Ya wonder if anyone took a shot,” he added as he laughed hard, taking swig of his beer.

It was too smoky in the place, so we decided to walk more and seek out a specific boot-making shop Kathy Jo has seen written up in a number of leather work and boot journals and magazines. After asking a few folks for directions, we found Sorrell Custom Boots & Gallery. A smiling, short-haired young woman wearing glasses stepped out from the back and introduced herself to us. This was Lisa Sorrell, the bootmaker herself. What a great person. Since it was quiet, Lisa led Kathy Jo and me to the back and gave us a tour of her studio area, talking with us about the entire boot making process - a complete new world to me. You should see Lisa's work - it's pretty amazing, actually. Of course, this was one of those special moments where I didn't have my camera by my side. When will I learn? I've posted a couple of pics here but please Check out Lisa's website to see more examples of the beautiful work she does.

Instead of grabbing lunch in Guthrie, I decided it might be a great day to take in Cattlemen's Steakhouse – the most famous steak place "in these here parts." So we decided to drive back down to OKC to have lunch there; it's located in the city's historic Stockyards City. By the way, that’s when Kathy Jo decided to break out the oil. “Think I’ll have to hire you to sit in that seat for the rest of my trip and rub oil on me any time my back hurts.” “Can’t afford me, “Kathy Jo laughed.

A great tour guide, we ate lunch (both of us took the more healthy salad route, which I suppose was the equivalent of ordering chicken at Joe’s Stone Crabs), then we drove around to see the Memorial once again. Kathy Jo told me how she was only about a block away when the bomb went off that day. It's a chilling story which I can tell she doesn't like to recount. Then we headed over to Bricktown where the St. Patrick’s Day parade had just finished. Of course, as soon as I saw a baseball park, my eyes locked in on it. AT& T Bricktown Ballpark is home to the the Oklahoma RedHawks, the Texas Rangers' AAA affiliate - it looks like a pretty spiffy place for a minor league team. Too bad I won't be here in a few weeks, I'd love to see a game right now. Hmmm. What's on tap for the next month or so? St. Louis? Kansas City? Still, there's nothing like a minor league game. It's usually fun, pure, affordable professional baseball surrounded by authentic, down-to-earth small-town fans. It's just not the same at the Major League parks these days, I'm sorry to say. (Nice additional info tidbit: Bricktown is home to Sonic's corporate headquarters. That takes care of this square mile.)

And that was that. A very pleasant Oklahoma day under my belt, it was time to head back so I could rest and get ready for my Sunday University of Oklahoma tour with Ms. Billie Beal.

No comments:

Search This Blog