Bars, Brothels, and the Wild West

I haven’t blogged for ages for one simple reason — it has been too hot to leave the house for weeks and weeks. Temperatures over 100F for many weeks have removed my adventurous spirit and replaced it with an exhausted one. Even checking the mailbox requires too much effort and I stumble down there every few days.

Yesterday I was forced to venture out as I need to get an American driver’s license. The American licensing department is nothing like Australia’s. Here, you can wait for 7-8 hours at the Department of Public Safety and still not get seen. And you can wait for months and months for an appointment. As I’m on a time limit and need a license for my job, I had to book in the earliest appointment I could find and that’s just for the written test. It meant a six hour round trip for a test I ultimately failed and now have to rebook. But that aside, I decided to treat it like an adventure to remove the sheer annoyance and inconvenience of it all. 

We booked the test at Woodward, which is North West of OKC, and left at 6 pm last night. We accidentally went the wrong way (talking instead of focusing on the GPS), which added an hour onto the trip and when we backtracked and made it onto the correct route, had missed any food stop opportunities. At 9pm we finally found a Subway in a tiny town called Seiling, and it was hot and delicious. It also could have been because we hadn’t eaten for about nine hours and were famished.

I loved the countryside. I was warned that it was a boring and ugly drive, but I disagree. It was lovely. The rich red soil and rocks of Oklahoma are stunning, and we were able to watch the hues of purple, pink, and blue in the sky as the sun went down. I find the Oklahoma landscape to be a thing of beauty, and struggled to find anything ugly or boring. 

We arrived at our hotel in Woodward at 10 pm and pretty much went straight to bed. The license written test was early in the morning and I wanted a clear head. It didn’t help — I still failed, and I can’t blame it on exhaustion or anything else. Just being unprepared and struggling with the imperial system. I was upset for the first half hour or so afterwards, and hated that 15 year olds can pass the test but I can’t. I decided that being miserable was annoying me so I perked up and enjoyed the trip home. We looked around a few of the little towns we passed by, bought cold brew, and kept going. 

I need to tell you a little bit about Woodward before I go further. Woodward has a very interesting history that needs to be shared. When we arrived at our hotel there was a booklet on the local area and it told the story of Woodward. It used to be known as “one of the wildest and woolliest towns in the Outlet. At one time, 23 saloons and 15 brothels lined the red-dirt streets.” It was a dangerous place to live, but soon went on to be an important shipping point. Ironically, Woodward is now recognised as one of the friendliest towns around, and is thriving. I can vouch for the fact that every single person we came in contact with was incredibly friendly and kind. It has that lovely small town vibe you don’t find everywhere. It was so hard to imagine it as a wild western town when it’s so friendly now. I would have liked to have spent more time exploring Woodward and getting to some of the local nature spots, but we had to head back.

We stopped at the Cherokee Trading Post at Calumet on the way back to the highway as we needed to eat. It was very touristy so I loved it. They had real buffalo there, wall art, some teepees, totem poles, a restaurant and a store. It was fun to look through all the knick-knacks, buy a tourist t-shirt, a jar of local honey, and eat chicken fried steak fingers in the Cherokee Restaurant. My husband is part Cherokee so he really enjoyed looking through the history books and paintings in the store. It was a really fun stop. 

Even though it was just a trip to try to get my driver’s permit, it was good to get out again. It forced us to leave the apartment and the city, and visit places we wouldn’t normally go to. The weather should be cooling down in the next month or so and I can’t wait to get outdoors again, and hopefully see a lot more of this city and some of the lakes. Until then I’ll stay inside and just think about all the exciting places I can visit.

We were able to see more of Route 66 on our drive
Mural at the Cherokee Trading Post
Greeted by this chief at the Trading Post
Cherokee Restaurant at Calumet, OK
Saw this big guy in the restaurant foyer

Published by My Average Travels

I'm Annelise; an Australian writer living in the USA, who loves experiencing new places and things. I'm perpetually on a budget, but despite this I manage to find myself in some incredible places. I'm not about glamour or luxury, but about real life, real experiences, and making real memories. Most of my travel experiences have resulted from plan B's. I write about average moments that have brought me great joy in the midst of the every day.

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