One way our Southwest Adventure ended up being very different from our last big road trip was overnight accommodations. During our fall 2015 trip we ended up staying in hotels 14 out of 42 nights — one third of the trip! This time around, mostly due to our upgraded car camping setup, we hadn’t felt the need to reserve a single hotel room.
But all good things must end, and after five weeks on the road, we were tired. Ryan had also been battling some pretty killer allergies throughout New Mexico and Arizona, and we were pretty sure that the car was full of the juniper that was leaving him with red, swollen eyes and sleepless nights. After a long driving day from Los Alamos to Oklahoma City, we turned to Priceline Express Deals and snagged a pretty good rate on a comfortable hotel room.
In fact, we were so comfortable we ended up just staying in the hotel room all day, sleeping, popping Claritin and watching TV. We reserved the room for another night and the following day were off to explore Oklahoma City.
Our first stop was Bricktown, a former warehouse district now full of restaurants, shopping, and other entertainment options. I loved this mural with postcard-like scenes from Oklahoma City’s history!
It was a lovely day out so we spent some time following the river walk, which felt like a much smaller and quieter version of the San Antonio river walk I’d so loved.
The river walk was lined with shops and restaurants, and the trees were just beginning to bloom.
At the very end of the river walk was this mosaic mural, depicting a sunrise, a buffalo, a redbud tree, and the names of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. The mural is cleverly designed so it looks like water is pouring from the buckets of three Native American women into the river walk.
It was pretty early in the day, and the river walk was very quiet. I’d imagine in the evening and on weekends it becomes much more lively.
We had one more stop to make before leaving OKC: the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
This memorial stands at the site of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. It is a beautiful and thoughtfully-designed memorial, and very sobering. If you’re planning a visit, I’d highly recommend reading the Wikipedia article first, to learn more about the symbolic elements represented at the memorial. Every piece of the design, from the “Gates of Time” at either end of the memorial, to the “Field of Empty Chairs,” has some deeper meaning.
We only spent a few hours exploring Oklahoma City, but I’m sure there’s lots more we could have done. We’d just reached what I call our “road trip breaking point” — that moment when we’re just ready to be off the road and back in our own bed. Does anyone have any recommendations for OKC, in case we ever go back that way?