Tuesday, December 31, 2013

EPIC ROAD TRIP: Oklahoma and Texas

The whole point of the EPIC ROAD TRIP, other than to be awesome and have a great Girls Weekend, was so that Lisa could go to Oklahoma, a state she'd never been to before. It's her goal in life to visit one new state in the US every year, so of all the places we aimed for, we chose Oklahoma City. Because we'd spent more time in Wamego than we'd anticipated, we had to hurry up to OKC, and unfortunately didn't get to spend much time there. We all swore we'd go back again some day...which isn't something you'd think someone would say about Oklahoma. :p

On the way, we encountered MORE GIANT CROSSES!! What the heck, midwest! Why do you have so many crosses the size of skyscrapers?!

When we finally got to Oklahoma City, we found a cool city that was much more interesting than we'd thought it'd be. We were pleasantly surprised to be proven to be snobs about what an urban center should look like.

We spent the night scarfing food down and wandering around Bricktown, a really cool part of OKC that used to be a warehouse district. Now it's all nightclubs, restaurants, and a brand new stadium for the Oklahoma City Thunder, their NBA team. I really wanted to take a ride on a water taxi, but we didn't have the money or the time. I remember that the night was really warm and a little humid. However would we cool down?!

A monstrous drink, of course!

Not pictured: their quickly-rising blood alcohol levels.

Like true champs, we finished the whole thing. It was amazing.

Lisa climbing up a sign for Flaming Lips Alley like a little monkey!

After a night of walking around downtown Oklahoma City, we returned to our hotel room, tired but laughing with all the silly things we'd done. We had to save our strength for our trip through the Lone Star State, Texas!

Our main destination in the west Texas panhandle was Amarillo. I didn't really know much about it, other than it sounds a lot like "Armadillo," which would have been a MUCH better name, in my humble opinion. 

We didn't want to miss the sign, like we had with Oklahoma, so Nikki pulled over early.

Her first time in Texas!

Look at all that sky!

Climbing up the state line sign. It was not as sturdy as it looked though!!

We decided to take the historic (but sadly pretty abandoned) Route 66, which used to be a MAJOR highway that took you through the Midwest to California. You might remember that in the movie Cars, the hero Lightning McQueen breaks down in a little town that used to be on the main route but was later bypassed for a new highway, leaving Radiator Springs to fade away except for its steadfast residents. We found a similar place on our way to Amarillo.

So begins the weird procession of signs leading into town...

Going east...

...or going...


...Route 66...

...does it best! (Everyone loves a good rhyme!)

Corporate sponsorship keeps the signs looking fine!

The town we were in was McLean, Texas. It was eerily quiet for a Sunday morning. Then again, mostly-abandoned towns tend to be eerily quiet. We started exploring once we hit the town line.

OBVIOUSLY my favorite part of town! An armadillo driving a convertible! If only I had one.

Here are some photos that Nikki took of the various abandoned/historic buildings in McLean:

We went to a gas station that wasn't this one so we could fill up, buy snacks, and go to the bathroom.

Nothing says "fun vacation" like a picture next to a broken-down car!

The main historic strip. We didn't have time to walk around it, as we had to get to Amarillo in time for lunch, but it was super creepy and would have made for some interesting investigating.

So that's the end of our trip TOWARDS Amarillo/Armadillo. I'll leave you with two random pictures we took at another gas station somewhere in Texas. They're...special.

DISCLAIMER: Please do not give your toddlers soda!

Friday, June 21, 2013


While we were in Wamego, KS for the ironically-named Tulip Festival, Lisa, Lauren, Nikki, and I stopped by the Wamego Historical Society & Museum to learn more about this awesome little town. If you're there (and you REALLY SHOULD go!), definitely stop by. They have a lot of cool and random stuff to see. It was a little mean, but how Lisa described the museum is PERFECT: "It's filled with stuff that kids donated after their parents died."

We first visited the Dutch Mill, a wicked-old (100 years!) windmill that was made by Amish settlers to grind wheat into flour. My favorite fun fact about the mill is that it was originally located 12 miles outside of Wamego, but when they moved it into town, they wrote numbers on all of the stones so they could put it back in the exact order in which it was built! GENIUS! They don't use it anymore, obviously, mainly because they have those Christmas lights on it, and getting the lights tangled is bad news bears. You can go inside the mill, and we talked with a really nice guy who told us the history and answered our (many) questions.

Inside the main museum building, there were really awesome, well-constructed displays of just about everything related to every day life in Wamego from settler days to recent times. The biggest display immediately in the front was all about a former resident named Sergeant Harold Edwin Fetcher. He was in World War II in Italy and was killed in action in October 1944. They couldn't find his remains until October 2006. Can you even imagine what that must have been like for his family?! Crazy.

Kind of funny and sarcastic

WHOA! Check out the shrapnel marks in this helmet!

 Artifacts (is that the right word for something that's not SUPER old?) that they found with Sgt. Fetcher's body

Nikki's favorite exhibit in the museum was a nice tribute to Hod Dendurent, a major figure in Wamego who played a clown every year in the parade. He was a beloved figure for generations, and it was really nice to see him honored like this. Nikki may or may not have teared up. (She's really emotional like that.)

Trigger warning if you're scared of clowns!
 Gotta admit, the costumes are pretty weird

Two really nice articles in the local paper about Hod:


Sorry they're hard to read because of the glare; it's tough to take pics like this when you're short, Nikki says

MY favorite part of the museum was this stuffed bison they had just hanging out! She's got a name and everything. (There's a little more about her in the museum's main webpage that I linked at the top of the blog.

Look at that name!!!!!

I think I need to make a tag for the blog for bison. Pretty sure this is the second one I've hung out with.

Some info about bison (note: NOT the same as buffalo!)

One of the creepier exhibits at the Wamego Historical Society & Museum was about and old-school dentist.
It showed off all of his tools including dentures and other fake teeth. Since I don't have teeth, and since Nikki's got GREAT teeth (according to her dentist), neither of us were freaked out about the exhibit just because it was of a dentist. There's just something creepy about old dentures, knowing that these were in the mouths of people who are now DEAD. (ew ew ew ew ew!)

Like, who looks at their grandparents' dentures when they're cleaning out their houses after the funeral and thinks, "This would be AWESOME for the historical museum to have on display!"?!

Pick your fake teeth color, like picking nail polish for a manicure!

In keeping with my tradition of posing with statues, we took a picture of me next to this GIANT tree carving.

Info about the statue

Portrait of the artist and his creation

Nikki got to nerd out in one exhibit that featured a real weird but effective solution to a very serious public health problem: tuberculosis. A doctor saw that people who were just walking around the streets were hocking loogies on the sidewalk, and that was transmitting TB into the air where other people could catch it. So he employed TB patients to make bricks with a reminder on them that spitting wasn't cool.

Again, sorry that it's hard to read.

The genius doctor (WICKED nice 'stache!)

His beliefs about health, from a newspaper article about his initiative


The rest of these photos are of random, funny stuff scattered around the museum. Pretty sure the giant shoe is my favorite.

Really intricate doll house

"Paul Bunyan's Other Shoe"

The inside of Paul's shoe. What a weird marketing stunt!

Nikki's favorite: GIANT BALL OF STRING that some random lady decided to make and the museum decided to keep.