This was a day with an uneventful beginning but an emotional ending. We left Forrest City, AR at 7:55 AM, which was easy, since we gained an hour yesterday. And we drove across Arkansas on I-40 all the way to Oklahoma City, where we arrived at 4 PM. We were warned to avoid this area due to the tornados, but we headed right into it...we must be crazy.
The ride was beautiful in may ways. Arkansas is a pretty state. We saw more farm land, with corn and wheat fields, and S shaped furrows on flat land. Not sure what that was all about and I can't find anything about it on the internet, but we suspect it had something to do with water retention. And we encountered construction pretty much the whole way. But as before, it didn’t slow us down much. The roads in Arkansas were not well manicured, but the mixing in of yellow wild flowers made it somewhat palatable. This road is laden with semi’s. At one point I counted 25 semi’s and only 3 cars. Fortunately the speed limit for trucks is lower than for cars and they obeyed the law, so it was easy to pass them.
Around 9 AM we got to Little Rock. We could see the skyline from the highway as we passed through and I saw the building I used to work in, in the downtown area. We passed the Presbyterian Church which is an incredible piece of architecture and sits right on I-40 where it can easily be viewed. I used to pass this church whenever I drove to North Little Rock to go shopping. And I always marveled at how impressive it was. And as we moved on, we crossed the Arkansas River which winds itself from the Rockies in Colorado, down through Oklahoma, across Arkansas and into the Mississippi River. And interestingly, we crossed it again in Oklahoma.
I-40 has few rest areas and in some areas, few exits. But we did find a welcome center when we entered Oklahoma and it was just in time for lunch. So we stopped, made sandwiches and watched the couple in the next parking spot work on their car. It was a 1955 FULLY RESTORED Chevy Bel Air. And what an exquisite job he had done restoring it. It was two-tone gray and had a mirror shine on it. The hood was up and the front was on jacks. There was something wrong with the engine and he was waiting for someone to bring a part. But I have to give these people a lot of credit. They were in a great mood and talked to anyone who would pass by. I told him my father had owned a 1954 Bel Air when I was 7 years old, and it was two-tone blue. Believe it or not, this sedan appeared to be longer and wider than our Highlander.
In Oklahoma we saw cows, mules, and a few oil well rigs pumping up and down like hammers, some black, shiny and new and others yellow, rusty and old. I wouldn’t care how it looked if one of them was mine. And we passed Checotah and the sign told us it was the home town of Carrie Underwood. Woo Hoo. Many of the towns in Oklahoma had Indian sounding names and the number of casinos we saw led me to believe that they were still living there.
Around 3 PM we arrived in Oklahoma City and we drove into town to pay our respects at the National Memorial which stands where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building once stood, before it was blown to smithereens by Timothy McVeigh. It was a solemn experience seeing the chairs, one for each victim, some large and so many small. There is a reflection pool that runs across the front of the lawn where the chairs are, from one arch to another. And it was very quiet, even though there were other people there. It was quiet. After taking some photos we left and headed for our hotel.