Dec 302013
You know you have been on the road a while when even your homeschool curriculum is asking, "Are we there yet?"

You know you have been on the road a while when even your homeschool curriculum is asking, “Are we there yet?”

We awoke on day 14 of our holiday road trip in Yukon, Oklahoma. We were still running from the winter storm system and the winds outside were glacial. It felt as frigid as our morning in Chicago but the temperature at 20 degrees was a full 7 degrees warmer.

The most notable thing about Yukon, Oklahoma was their extremely tall men! I am not sure what they are feeding men in Oklahoma these days but all of the men we saw in the hotel were far taller than average. It was becoming humorous. I was feeling shorter by the second.

When we checked in the night before, I noticed that almost every single vehicle in the hotel parking lot was a large pick-up truck. As we got off the elevator on the floor for our room, a college-age man was grabbing a snack from the vending machine and dashing back to his room right next to ours. He must have been at least 6’5” and might have been wearing a basketball jersey. In the morning, we went downstairs to breakfast where a similarly-sized businessman was watching the weather news and checking his phone for messages. Meanwhile a tall man was checking in at the front desk. These men all were in basketball-player height range. Oklahoma women seemed average size but there was something crazy going on with the men.

Garth Brooks Blvd in Yukon, Oklahoma.

Garth Brooks Blvd in Yukon, Oklahoma.

As we drove out of the hotel parking lot, we saw “Garth Brooks Boulevard.” It made me think about other famous men from Oklahoma, like Blake Shelton 6’5” (Ada, OK), Toby Keith 6’3” (Clinton, OK) and even Garth Brooks 6’0” (Tulsa, OK). The U.S. apparently doesn’t keep any statistics on height by state but we’ll have to nominate Oklahoma for tall men.

All eyes were on the weather today and it was going to be a tough day of driving.

Despite the severe cold, highway construction workers were still out on the job.

Despite the severe cold, highway construction workers were still out on the job.

Quick view of downtown driving past Oklahoma City.

Quick view of downtown driving past Oklahoma City.

All along our route, you could not escape the "Winter Storm Warning" signs.

All along our route, you could not escape the “Winter Storm Warning” signs.

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The winter storm starts to catch up with us.

The winter storm starts to catch up with us.

As a country, we seem to be getting better and better at organizing for disasters.  Here, a sand truck preparing for de-icing efforts.

As a country, we seem to be getting better and better at organizing for disasters. Here, a sand truck preparing for de-icing efforts.

The roads became slick.

The roads became slick.

Entering Arkansas.

Entering Arkansas.

The road becomes more treacherous and we see several cars that have slipped off the road, fortunately with no major injuries apparent.

The road becomes more treacherous and we see several cars that have slipped off the road, fortunately with no major injuries apparent.

Visibility was challenging at times.

Visibility was challenging at times.

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After hours of challenging driving, we stopped for lunch. When we were planning our trip, my 5-year-old saw me plan a visit to a restaurant called The Purple Cow. For some reason, she became fascinated with this restaurant and asked every day if it was time to go to The Purple Cow. She was thrilled that today was finally the day!

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Thrilled to be at The Purple Cow!

Thrilled to be at The Purple Cow!

Even more thrilled that the signature purple milkshake comes in her favorite flavor, vanilla!

Even more thrilled that the signature purple milkshake comes in her favorite flavor, vanilla!

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The Rodeo Burger

The Rodeo Burger

While we were eating, The Weather Channel was streaming behind us.  We were a bit concerned that we were driving right into the worst affected areas.

While we were eating, The Weather Channel was streaming behind us. We were a bit concerned that we were driving right into the worst affected areas.

After a delicious lunch, we headed to our next destination in Little Rock. . . you might say, THE destination in Little Rock, The Clinton Presidential Center.

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We were lucky as we basically had the entire presidential library to ourselves that day. The security guard indicated that they had record visitation the day before but that the day we visited was especially light. The weather may have been a factor in that.

The Clinton Presidential Center is a library and museum about the Clinton presidency but also a meeting and event space. It has a wonderful, modern design and incredible views of Little Rock.

Decorated trees inside the library.

Decorated trees inside the library.

View of Little Rock.

View of Little Rock.

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There are a couple of signature features of the Clinton Center. There is a recreation of the Oval Office as it existed during the Clinton Presidency that is wonderful to see. You can also sit at a recreation of the Cabinet Room table.

The Oval Office.

The Oval Office.

The Cabinet Room.  Visitors are welcome to come sit at the table, which is an empowering experience.  It was interesting to learn that the President does not sit at the head of the Cabinet Room table.  Rather, he sits right in the middle and the Vice President sits across from him.

The Cabinet Room. Visitors are welcome to come sit at the table, which is an empowering experience. It was interesting to learn that the President does not sit at the head of the Cabinet Room table. Rather, he sits right in the middle and the Vice President sits across from him.

The museum portion of the Center is full of interesting artifacts. There are precious mementos from the Clinton’s early life, including a birth announcement for Chelsea.

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Bill Clinton's childhood drawing of one of his favorite TV shows.

Bill Clinton’s childhood drawing of one of his favorite TV shows.

The museum also provides a place setting from one of the Clinton’s state dinners, gifts from various foreign dignitaries to the White House and examples of how they celebrated various holidays.

My favorite part of the museum, however, is that it let you take a look at the organizational strategies going on behind the scenes. There were binders full of the President’s daily schedule, which is exhausting just to read. There were drafts of speeches, complete with handwritten comments. I also loved the Post-it notes showing the distribution lists to various key staff members, letting us know that there is a lot of simple organization that has to go along with broad strategic policies.

Example page from the President's daily schedule.

Example page from the President’s daily schedule.

Page from Dale Bumpers' speech to Congress during President Clinton's impeachment trial.

Page from Dale Bumpers’ speech to Congress during President Clinton’s impeachment trial.

Clinton's handwritten edits to his State of the Union speech.

Clinton’s handwritten edits to his State of the Union speech.

Loved the vintage feel of the Post-it note tags.

Loved the vintage feel of the Post-it note tags.

Since so many memos and letters were addressed to the President, it was apparently important to note which ones he had actually read.

Since so many memos and letters were addressed to the President, it was apparently important to note which ones he had actually read.

There was a marvelous collection of thank you notes on display.  This was a terrific one from Sheryl Crow who thanked the Clintons for letting her perform at their inauguration.  One thing was clear from these letters. . . .the Clintons have impeccable manners and that most highly successful people do as well.

There was a marvelous collection of thank you notes on display. This was a terrific one from Sheryl Crow who thanked the Clintons for letting her perform at their inauguration. One thing was clear from these letters. . . .the Clintons have impeccable manners and that most highly successful people do as well.

Overall, the museum presented an impressive, yet human, tribute to William J. Clinton’s presidency. We all felt that there was a lot to appreciate and that it was well worth the visit.

It was turning dark as we left the library and we admired the Christmas tree and Menorah on display as we left.

It was turning dark as we left the library and we admired the Christmas tree and Menorah on display as we left.

On we drove through more rainy and cloudy weather to Memphis, Tennessee. We drove briefly through the city to take a few photographs.

A blurry welcome to Tennessee.

A blurry welcome to Tennessee.

Beale Street at night.

Beale Street at night.

Downtown Memphis.

Downtown Memphis.

Christmas lights at Graceland.

Christmas lights at Graceland.

Our dinner destination, Corky’s Ribs & BBQ was just outside the city and had rave reviews online as the best barbecue in Memphis.

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We walked in and received a warm welcome. The entire restaurant staff made you feel like family. They asked about the weather, had cheery smiles and even sang along with the vintage blues and rock music playing in the restaurant (Elvis included, of course!).

The food was excellent. Every part was perfectly made, including the coleslaw and beans. The children opted for the least barbecue item on the menu, the spaghetti, but it must have been good as they ate all of it!

Corky's delicious barbecue and spaghetti combo plate.

Corky’s delicious barbecue and spaghetti combo plate.

Dessert, was, of course, awesome too.  We all shared and there was not one bite left.

Dessert, was, of course, awesome too. We all shared and there was not one bite left.

We had made it through a long, rainy day and we still had more weather to clear. We went to sleep with visions of weather reports in our heads. Would we awake to an ice storm and have to reroute our way home? We decided to be ready for anything.

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3 Comments to “Ruly Holiday Road Trip: Day 14, Oklahoma City to Memphis”

  1. avatar Lou says:

    What interesting memorabilia to see from the Clinton Library! And that’s a great photo of Beale Street at night! Sets a real welcome to the city!

  2. avatar diadia says:

    Divine recollections and reminiscences for an area of the USA unknown
    to me. U are such a good touring guide that my feet are tired.

  3. avatar diadia says:

    Not quite relevant, but your initial intro to this article was
    “Are we there yet?”

    Just today I past a building wall mural in the 9th & 9th district which included
    a balloon saying “Ask a question” and a graffiti wit had responded in big, bold
    black letters, “Why?”

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