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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
On we drove through more rainy and cloudy weather to Memphis, Tennessee. We drove briefly through the city to take a few photographs.
Our dinner destination, Corky’s Ribs & BBQ was just outside the city and had rave reviews online as the best barbecue in Memphis.
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!
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.