Myriad Botanical Garden – Post 1 of 2

June 3, 2017

After visiting the National Weather Center down in Norman and the OKC Memorial downtown I went to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art for a while (some pictures in a post below, although this trip was pre-blog so I didn’t take as many pictures as I often do).  Next stop on this busy day was the Myriad Botanical Garden, a 17 acre oasis in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Here are some of the things I saw there:







The photo above is the middle portion of a very tall “Zombie Palm”






Oklahoma City Memorial

June 2, 2017

The next stop on my first full day in OKC was the site of the former Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, located in the heart of downtown.


This was the location of a domestic terrorist attack on April 19, 1995 when two men blew the front off the 9-story federal office building using a powerful bomb.

Although the bombing occurred more than 22 years before I was there, there are still numerous items placed at the site by family members and others who will never forget what happened that day.



The memorial itself is located in the footprint of where that building once stood.


A chair, each representing one of the 168 people killed in the initial explosion (or the resulting collapse of the front portion of the building).  The chairs are aligned in 9 rows, representing the floor on which each person was thought to be at the time of the explosion, 9:02 am local time.


At one end of the reflecting pond is a black structure containing only the time – 9:01, the minute before the explosion.


At the other end, a similar structure with 9:03, the minute after.

I am normally not a very emotional person and I was doing fairly well until I saw this:


One of the shorter chairs, one for each of the 19 children who died in the attack, each with a teddy bear strapped to it.  Most of the children were at a day care center located in the building.



A powerful message (and I’m tearing up again as I post this).

The clear “box” under each chair is lit up at night.




National Weather Center – Norman, OK

June 3, 2017


(Photo credit:

My first stop on my first full day in the Oklahoma City area was to travel south, about 20 miles, to the town of Norman (at the bottom of the map above).  Here I would visit the National Weather Center.





Surprise, surprise – I am a total Weather Channel geek (although I can’t receive it under my current media configuration at home).  While TWC is located in Atlanta, they often reference the “Storm Prediction Center” at the National Weather Center here in Norman.

The National Weather Center, located on the campus of University of Oklahoma, is a joint effort between them, the National Weather Service and NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


I couldn’t take a tour (I believe they only do them on certain days, plus I hadn’t signed up in advance and “walk-in” tours are not permitted) but Security did let me inside the building, restricting my access to a common area on the ground floor.  I was here on a Saturday and most of the staff wouldn’t be working, plus there was an art exhibit which I could walk through.

I did see these examples of tornado monitoring devices:





And I chuckled to myself when I saw the name of the coffee shop, located on the ground floor:


The name is reference to the movie “Twister”.  And I swear to God this is true – when I got back to my Airbnb that night “Twister” was showing on one of the cable channels I could receive!  I caught it just in time to see the “flying cow” scene.

Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction….




Lubbock, Texas to OKC, Oklahoma

June 2, 2017

Today was another travel day, even longer than the day before.  After my one night stopover in Lubbock I set out for my next stay, 3 nights in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  MapQuest said it could be a trip of about 6 hours covering 380 miles but I took more of a zig-zag route, largely on slower, scenic roads, and I put a total of 605 miles on the car for the day.

Oklahoma City is pretty much right in the middle of the state (if you don’t include the panhandle):


(Photo credit:

I embarked from Lubbock, in the lower left hand corner of the photo above – about where the word Copyright is.  I drove east and then north on a series of scenic roads which were already on my itinerary but were also recommended by my Airbnb host in Lubbock.  I picked up Interstate 40 east of Amarillo, TX and drove east as far as Elk City, OK (on the map above).


I stopped briefly at the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, then drove south on scenic roads towards Altus and east towards Lawton.  Before I got to Lawton I drive through a National Wildlife Reserve and saw these characters:




Turns out that wouldn’t be the only warning sign I’d see.  Shortly after exiting the Wildlife Reserve and before getting to Lawton I passed by Fort Sill military base.  A friend back home in Durham had warned me I might see a sign like this:


(Photo credit:

I didn’t stop to take a picture of the actual sign I saw but I did take the proactive step of closing my sunroof!

When I got to Lawton I headed north again on more small roads and approached Oklahoma City near where I’d be staying at an Airbnb on the southwest side of town.

I’m going to skip ahead to something I did the next day.  Among the many things I did while in Oklahoma City was visit the Oklahoma City Museum of Art downtown.  There was a large Dale Chihuly exhibit there (apparently part of their permanent collection as it is still there).  I have posted pictures of Mr. Chihuly’s work before but do want to post just a few here:

This is the Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick Memorial Tower, located in the atrium inside the museum entrance.  It rises 55 feet, contains 2,100 pieces of glass, weighs 10 tons and is lit up at night:





And here are two other works, a little different from what I have posted previously:



The photo above is of a chandelier, photographed from the balcony on the next floor.

And finally a shot of a modern building downtown, taken from the rooftop patio at the museum.