Before we left town, I saw someone I used to work with at the TV station in Lubbock post from her own trip up Route 66 with her family that the state troopers were EVERYWHERE!!! So I decided that, with it being a long weekend with July 4th at the end of things, and with knowing from past TV stories that law enforcement steps up efforts when a holiday makes for a three day weekend, that I was going to take notice and see how many of our fine law enforcement officials were on the roads.
First, Texas. Now, I understand that Texas is the second biggest state in the country in terms of land area. However, I left a town of 14,000 (Hereford), drove through a town of 15,000 (Canyon), and another of 190,000 (Amarillo). Couple that with the other 100 or so miles on I-40 to the border, I only saw ONE state trooper. No sheriff deputies or local cops were spotted.
Oklahoma wasn’t much better. I didn’t see any law enforcement officials from the state border all the way in to OKC. The next day, we get on the Turner Turnpike to Tulsa and one state policeman was hanging out at the toll plaza. Then on the Will Rogers Turnpike, there was actually one state policeman clocking for speeders.
Missouri gets the blue ribbon. From Joplin to Saint Louis, I saw 18 cops. One was even sitting on an overpass over the highway clocking people coming down the road, undoubtedly radioing to someone further down when they spotted offenders.
In Illinois, I saw 6 cops.
Indiana sported two of their finest…in the last 20 miles.
Ohio? Considering we drove through lots of civilization with the Cincinnati area, I was disappointed to see none.
Missouri knows how to make it safe!
So, we hit the road to go see Tara’s sister, Tammy. Our first stop is in beautiful lovely…middle of nowhere…Oklahoma. You know it. It’s that long, lonely trek through the barren, desolate areas of Texas along I-40 from Amarillo allllllll the way to Oklahoma City. You get to drive through Indian reservations. The cool thing is that is was a lot less dusty and a lot less brown than my drive through the Indian reservations of Arizona a few weeks ago. Shoot, it was a lot less brown than Texas is right now (not counting the areas that are black due to wildfires).
The hotel we ended up landing with Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” feature ended up being a historic hotel in downtown Oklahoma City called the Skirvin Hotel that is now run by Hilton. These historic hotels are nice surprises, especially considering that you know Hilton has done everything to restore the place, while keeping with modern conveniences.
The Skirvin was right downtown in Bricktown. We get off the Interstate and 1) they’re doing a bit of construction downtown, and 2) it looks like we’re possibly going to have to fight the zombie-pocaplypse. Downtown looked practically empty. When we finally find the hotel, we start looking for where the self-park is located. Another fail. We finally decide to valet park. It was a great decision as the valet parking staff at the Skirvin is one of the best in the industry in my opinion! The attendant on duty told us exactly where the self-park was (but Tara and I still agreed to valet because it was a pain in the neck). He was also able to tell us that the meters on the street were free for the holiday weekend.
Being July 3rd, I was surprised that OKC was having a fireworks display that night. We could hear the concussion shots from our hotel room, but it took us a moment to figure out it was the fireworks. There were storms developing in the area, so we thought it was thunder at first.
Once we raced out in to the street to find the fireworks, the valet attendant was able to tell us we could go up on the parking garage of Santa Fe Plaza to watch. It was actually on of the highest points around with an unobstructed view. It was a pretty nice fireworks display. (It was better than we would have gotten at home…can anyone say “laser show”?) The fireworks finale looked and sounded a little like battle explosions with shells and mortars. However, the highlight of the show was Mother Nature’s addition! We had several lightning strikes in the distance. We even had a couple of cloud-to-cloud strikes overhead. We were lucky that no lightning struck anyone on the top level of that parking garage!