Tuesday, July 22, 2003

An Impression of Oklahoma

On Wednesday, May 28, Sue Nahm and Alex Tsai set out from Cleveland, Ohio for Santa Monica, California. They documented their trip, including Oklahoma, in their weblog. This is part of what they had to say about Oklahoma:

Once we crossed the border into Oklahoma, the flat lands and blue skies beckoned, while Tom Petty sang 'Into the Great Wide Open' on the stereo. The speed limit hit 75 miles per hour, which meant that we could drive 82 miles per hour without any fear of harassment from the 5-0. We stopped briefly in Vinita, OK for blue raspberry ice shavings and to order French fries at the world's largest McDonald's just outside the town of Vinita.

The sun started disappearing as we rolled into Tulsa, OK. All of the radio stations are playing country music, which isn't half bad. We picked up dinner at a local cookie-cutter Tex-Mex chain restaurant, ate dinner in the hotel room while watching the news intently for more details on the Laci Peterson case, and slept for 9 hours.

America's heartland is a strange place. Billboards reading JESUS IS LORD and PORNOGRAPHY DESTROYS EVERYONE are common. Across the street from Oral Roberts University, the monstrous Victory Christian Fellowship Center (advertising the 'Word Explosion 2003' conference) sits in all of its triumphalistic glory. That was the largest church building we spotted on our cross-country tour, unfortunately. We didn't get to see any of the megachurches that are said to populate the landscape of the south and midwest.

Not too far off the mark except that elsewhere they describe Eastern Oklahoma as full of red dirt and wheat fields. So they mixed up Western Oklahoma with Eastern Oklahoma - most people "from away" can't even locate the central states of the USA on a labeled map.

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