1. Food. And more food. In the form of such goodness as: Braum's (plus a market with their own milk and ice cream - yum!), Whataburger (aside from lunch, there's the 11PM to 11AM breakfast including biscuit & gravy served), Golden Corral (more good meat than I've ever seen at a buffet, ever), Sushi Train (on an actual train, not the conveyor belt, choo-choo), ConeyI-Lander (yummy little hot dogs), Zio's Italian Kitchen (heaven in an affordable and charming atmosphere), Cheddar's (just as good as the similar restaurants that charge more). Some of these are in other places, but just not in my part of Oregon, so eating at each of these was a treat.
2. Streets. Very extremely easy to navigate streets, even for me. This is a grid system at its finest. Perpetually lost me knew where I was most of the time and also how to get where I wanted to go. And I wanted to go to a lot of restaurants. And some super cute neighborhoods, like Midtown. There is so very much we didn't see.
3. Wal-Mart. Super Center Versions, Everywhere. I know, I know, evil, bad and terrible, but where else can I get an oil change, a manicure, a haircut and a McDonald's (yes, yes, evil, too, shut up - my resolution after Super Size Me only lasted a week), all before I pick up some broccoli, a new shirt, a bicycle and a pillow (not that I did that, but I'm just saying that I could have and in the past have done similar, minus the manicure and the bike...).
4. Coffee. Yes, Great Northwest resident me found much more to love about coffee in Tulsa. Why? Because they try harder. They do not take it all for granted with sterile Starbucks-like environments. Instead, you get warm and friendly little places with good people and coffee art in the frothed milk, something that Starbuck's has never done for me. I already posted this as one of my Weekly Winners on Sunday, but I can't help but post it again because it brings me joy.
5. Smoking or Non. I had to laugh when I saw a sign outside of a bar (I assume) proudly boasting that smoking was allowed inside. Yes, thanks to Chantix and my sustained cooperation, I just passed 7 months since quitting smoking, but I'm still not opposed to others having the option, especially if there is a sign giving a warning like that place. I didn't go in, but I'd know what to expect if I did.
6. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. My corner of Oregon isn't nearly as horseshit as Seattle for service (worst. ever.), but it's still not even close to Tulsa. In Tulsa, everywhere I went, it was "yes, sir" and "no, ma'am" from worker and just regular folks. Sometimes people even call you "sweetheart." I guess some people don't like this or twist it in their minds into something the opposite of respectful, but I understand and enjoy respect for what it is when I see it, and it was refreshing.
7. God stuff. There are a lot of churches in Tulsa. Many of them are really gorgeous, others were congregations who met in a trailer in a trailer park. Wherever they congregate, churchgoers who find meaning in living right without the need to condescend or blatantly convert anyone are usually very kind and pleasant to be around, so there are a lot of just plain good folks in Tulsa.
8. Spectacles. That said, Oral Roberts University is an example of something that can make the churchgoer group look a little out there. Having a campus that resembles a bad sci-fi movie (or just the Jetson's) with gold plating and a Prayer Tower that reminded me of the Space Needle is just... different. Then there is the whole scandal thing. In any case, to me, it was quite the spectacle, and because of that, I had a blast taking pictures on the campus.
9. Gas prices. Two things about this, really. First, gas was $2.69 instead of at least $0.30 more at the cheapest place near where I live. But I already knew it would be cheaper because I'm savvy like that. What I didn't realize is that while I have to poke around where I live to figure out where gas will be cheapest, it seems that 99% of gas stations in Tulsa all had the same price. No games, no guessing, no sinking feeling three blocks down the road. That's just cool.
10. Sunlight and horizons. I'll combine these. I live in Oregon. We don't see a lot of sun for well over half the year. Tulsa does, and that's cool. I commented that the mountains were missing, but Tom noted that, just like I fondly remember from my younger days in Illinois, you can see forever, all the way to the horizon at the edge of the world. The stars at night were a welcome sight, too. Cold does happen in Tulsa, though...
11. Friends. Tom's friends. There is something very rare and special about a really good friend who you know without question would give the shirt off his or her back for you. Mine is my dear friend J, but Tom's is in Tulsa, and he showed us a good time. Like I said, there are some really good people in Tulsa, and he's one of the best anywhere.
12. Clocks. Tulsa, and actually/officially the state of Oklahoma, is all about the clock. I had read about it a little in places like Utica Square, but I didn't realize until after returning home and reading more that this is part of a bigger plan related to the centennial. Turns out at least one of the clocks I saw was brand spanking new and was just dedicated a week before our trip.
13. Memorial. Technically not in Tulsa, but just an hour and a half drive away in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City National Memorial honoring those innocent lives lost on April 19, 1995 is even more respectful and beautifully done than I even expected. My heart broke into a million pieces standing there in the middle of such a powerful tribute, but it was just done so appropriately that I am so glad we made it a part of our trip because I've always had my own reasons for feeling like I needed to someday visit.
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