Hee Haw! Oklahoma & Texas!

So, after spending a night in lovely Arkansas, AEJ and I continued our cross-country drive. Next state: Oklahoma, where neither of us had been before.

Loki, by this time, was totally cool about the car.

When he wasn’t chilling on the armrest, he’d nap on AEJ’s lap.

Shortly into Oklahoma, we saw a highway sign that read, “Checotah, Oklahoma: Home of Carrie Underwood, American Idol.” HOLY CRAP! Seriously?! Did you watch American Idol last season? If you did, you were either a Carrie Underwood fan or a Bo Bice fan. I, personally, was a Bo Bice fan. Carrie Underwood was all about “well golly, I can’t believe this is happenin’ to lil’ ol’ me! I’m from a small town in Oklahoma!” I was always thinking it was just an act — until AEJ and I visited that town.

I couldn’t get a picture of the highway sign in time, but there was this sign on the fence of the local high school, as viewed from the freeway exit ramp.

Checotah is, it seems, truly a small town, and I think there may be a higher concentration of American flags there than actual residents.

Most of the downtown stores either had tributes to Carrie Underwood…

… or the upcoming OkraFest.

They really did make OkraFest seem really cool (hell, it’s “Fun in the Sun!”), but we had to move on. Sadly, we also didn’t get to stop at Frisbie’s Tackle shop, where you can get supplies for fishing, hunting, and archery — as well as an eye exam. Good lord. There are just too many jokes here.

Oklahoma had some beautiful scenery. There were fields of yellow…

… and these awesome wind farms, with mile after mile of massive windmills.

Then we reached Texas. I expected Texas to be completely flat and “big sky,” and a lot of it was, but it was a whole lot prettier than I expected. There were long, seemingly endless country roads…

… and beautiful fields…

… and stunning valleys.

And this weird, leaning water tower.

But then we spotted it. Or maybe we were “called.” I don’t know. But there It is in the distance (behind the seemingly equally inspirational telephone poles): The biggest man-made cross in the western hemisphere.

Here’s the plaque about it. And a big flag.

There’s really no way to convey how massive this thing is. Those tiny objects at the bottom of the photo? Those are people.

Just outside of parking lot for The Cross, there was a sign for some holy food. Some blessed Amer-Tex-Mex. What would Jesus eat?

That night, we decided to stay in Amarillo, Texas — the most fun city we visited during the drive. Why? Largely because of The Big Texan — home of the 72 oz steak! If you can eat the whole thing in an hour, it’s FREE!

The Big Texan has a hotel, too. Sadly, we’d already booked a room elsewhere, but the next time we’re in Amarillo, we are SO staying here.

We had our car, but if we hadn’t, The Big Texan would send this stretch limo with horns on the front to pick you up and bring you to dinner. Next time, AEJ, next time.

Here’s me, ready to dig in.

On the way in, we saw this sign. This struck us as very weird — a total throw-back cowboy gimmick theme restaurant, and it’s a WiFi Hot Spot. It felt more Seattle than Texas.

Once inside, we saw this guy, who had accepted the 72-oz challenge. When you make an attempt, they seat you at this elevated dining table in the center of the restaurant so everybody can watch you eat as a huge digital timer counts down from one hour. Neither of us tried it (we ordered 6oz filets, ’cause we’re wusses), but we, and the rest of the clientele at The Big Texan admired and respected this gentleman’s sense of adventure.

While you eat. these three guys go from table to table and play cowboy songs. They were awesome.

We saw this guy eating there, and thought he kind of looked like the offspring of Al Franken and Gollum.

Here’s my dinner — steak, mashed potatoes, and sauteed mushrooms. Delicious.

Hey! That guy finished his 72-oz steak! Hooray! People applauded, and we all took pictures.

On the way out of Texas, we passed Bushland. I had no idea he had a town there, other than Crawford. I’ll withhold further comment about Bushland, because I don’t want to be audited.

So, that’s Oklahoma and Texas! Next stop…


R says

Those are some sweet pictures. So did you get some Holy Food or what? You should have tried to eat that 72 oz. steak, I'm sure you and A could have done it.

jim says

Simply awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

Heidi says

hey there! you took some fun pics in this blog. I love the filed one espeically.

I was wondering if it would be possible to get a high res photo of this specitic one?


My fiance is from oklahoma and I'm trying to locate a pretty field shot to blow up into a picture for valentine's day (i know...short notice). Would you mind if used yours (should be the one of the field with the red barn in the background). I don't know if the resolution is high enough to make into a like 3 foot panaromic shot, but that is the vision of the present I'm trying to get for him. So he can have a little piece of home in the big city:)

Thank you for your help (hope you are checking your blog) and I hope all is well with you! Feel free to email me if you have any questions


Alex Muncatchy says

hey there, just checked out your blog, was actually looking for pictures to assist me in drawing simple scenery.
These pictures are beautiful and love your sense of humor. What kind of cat is that?
I have a ragdoll named "Sadie" who looks just like that, and what's ironic is when we moved from Florida to Michigan (I know, some people think were crazy) we had to take 3 ragdoll cats, 1 fifteen year old dog, extra luggage, and three people, all stuffed in our Cadillac!
thanks for sharing these, there're great!

Joie R says

I accidentally came across your website while looking at "pretty kitty" pictures with my 3 year old daughter she adored your cat, Loki and the funny way it slept in the lap of AEJ's lap. She ran around the room dancing in her version of a crazy kitty dance and then informed me she needed a "kitty like dat." She already has 3 cats, 2 black males and 1 orange spotted female. However that did not deter her enthusiasm for a "pretty kitty" like your Loki. So now she has a new favorite kitty, yours! She even told my husband that her new pretty kitty, Loki was hiding from her on the (com)"puter." I thought you might get a kick out of that!

P.S. As someone who has visited every one of the lower 48 states by car due to wanderlusting parents I clearly remember Texas. It's the state that always took forever to drive thru and had loads of flat grassy plains with cows and things. I used to love all of the vacations we took sometimes to amazingly strange and weird places. There are so many interesting things to see by car. Things you would never stop for if you didn't have to have a pit stop because your little brother started to choke on a carrot. Then your sister pounded his back so hard he threw up thereby causing a massive chain reaction of throwing up family members. Of the 9 people in the spanking new suburban only 3 didn't succumb to the tide of up chucking, but only because we had our heads out the window!

Monty P. says

I like the pics. Actually, I live about 1/8 mile from that grain elevator in Bushland. Old Route 66 ran right through town. Lots of history around here. I encourage you to drive from Amarillo down to Houston someday if you haven't seen all of texas. Only takes 12 to 14 hours but a really nice drive. Hope you make it this way again someday...

Cassie Adams says

Hi! I am a middle schooler in Aledo, Texas. I really love your music. My band is playing Strange Humors right now for UIL. If you ever get the chance again, I know EVERYONE in my band would really love it if you came. Aledo is about 20-30 miles west of Fort Worth, and it's NOT a very small middle-of-nowhere town, I promise! It's on the outskirts of the metroplex of DFW. One kid in my band says that you are his idol! I'm sorry if I'm bothering you and this will never happen, but it's just I (and everyone else) would love to see/meet you. That would be so amazing!!

P.S. I've also eaten at the Big Texan, and I saw someone taking the challenge too! And if your going on the highway, then Aledo is probably one of the first big towns you come to.

Your friend (I hope),

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