Driving Route 66 has always been on my bucket list and Jim and I had gone as far as to plan it for our honeymoon. But with Covid making everything more difficult we gave it up as a honeymoon idea.
At the end of September last year Jim had a week off so we made last-minute plans to drive to Oklahoma City and have a look around. Jim was born and raised on the outskirts of OKC and although he left years ago, he has always wanted to return. I’m not a fan of tornadoes to be honest, so the idea of Oklahoma left me cold. We had done a couple of day trips to little towns on the Texas-Oklahoma border, but no more than that.
The drive to OKC is easy and scenic. Not North Carolina scenic, but still beautiful in its own way. I love a variety of landscapes and I find it fascinating that America is so different from state to state.
I loved OKC. There is so much to see and do. I’m from Brisbane, Queensland’s capital city. Brisbane is like a huge country town. It’s beautiful and really relaxed. I found OKC to be really laid back as well. It’s not massive like Atlanta or Dallas and that appealed to me. I want city vibrancy without the massive population. Oklahoma City gave me those same relaxed city vibes that I had in Brisbane. It’s not as beautiful as Brisbane but parts of it are quite charming.
We visited the Cowboy Museum in the city and it was phenomenal. I had no idea a museum about cowboys could be so fantastic. I’ll definitely be going back.
We ate great food, went shopping, did a lap around the city, and drove out to El Reno which is about thirty miles west of the city. El Reno is not my favourite place by a long shot—it had a bleak, sad feel to it, but there were a couple of reasons I wanted to go. Well three actually.
Firstly, I wanted to see Lake El Reno. It’s a huge man-made lake. Nothing overly spectacular but I like lakes. My daughter is a photographer and she came along and took some great photos of us. It was a lot of fun. Cold and windy, but fun.
Secondly, Jim took me to Sid’s Diner. Sid’s is famous for their fried onion burger. Guy Fieri featured Sid’s Diner on his show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and raved about the fried onion burger. I was able to try one. I didn’t like it. I know that sounds awful, but it was just too onion-y for me. Makes sense—it was an onion burger. I’m so pleased I had a chance to visit, and Jim loves their fried onion burgers. He has eaten there many times and never tires of them.
Thirdly, and most importantly for me, is that Route 66 passes through El Reno. There’s a fantastic Route 66 memorial across the corner from Sid’s Diner and I was able to take photos and enjoy the experience. We drove part of the Route but plan to go back and do as much of it as we can.
It was a really nice little break. A few days exploring Oklahoma City was all I needed to fall in love with it. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it. The inner city parks, skyline, and restaurants give me a small taste of home, and if that’s all I can have at the moment, I’ll take it.