Ryan and Joel’s Spring Break Road Trip: Day 5

Originally posted on “Is It Sports?” this is day 5 of Ryan and his friend Joel’s spring break road trip

Day 5 Overland Park, KS – Ardmore, OK

The strange thing about Tuesday was that we spent about four hours in Kansas, from Overland Park all the way to the Oklahoma border south of Wichita, and I can’t tell you anything that we saw. There was a thirty mile stretch of interstate where the only exit was to “cow pens”. I’m not making this up, there were rusty old cow pens right along the freeway, and there was an overpass to get to them. I had never seen a gravel onramp before then. Only in Kansas, or my baby cousin’s sand box, I guess.

Irrelevant, but I still wanted to point it out; there was a roadside oasis on that stretch that said I was six and a half feet tall. Had to mention it.

We pulled into Oklahoma City thinking that we were just going to end up there for the night. We took our time, taking in the bombing memorial – very powerful – and looking around. It’s a nicer city than people give it credit for, really, and what with the bombing, and the tornado a few years back – you can definitely tell where it went through – this town has gotten kicked in the teeth so many times, I’m just not going to crack any jokes.

Joel and I went through Oklahoma so we could stop in Norman, home of both the Storm Prediction Center and Oklahoma University, a great meteorology school. As Joel said very eloquently; we’re dorks.

The plan was to visit the SPC first, maybe get a tour, then go to the University and see how roundly it kicked Purdue’s butt in terms of quality. The SPC, curiously enough, required a week notice before they let in tour groups. I guess they’ve had a problem with people sneaking in and creating tornado watches. We went across the street to the National Weather Service office (the SPC and weather service are different, I’ll spare you the details). They had a security guard at the door that had to buzz us in. Is there a weather tampering problem that I’m not aware of?

We actually got into the high security installation and took our tour. Since this is sort of a sports website, I’ll skip over the details and get to the University. Everything about this school was superior to every other I had been to. There wasn’t any large scale construction. The roads weren’t in disrepair. Historic buildings were actually preserved, instead of just being old. And the stadium was huge! This was definitely a football school above all else. The stadium was about eight stories tall and pretty much every item we could find emblazoned with an OU also had “football” written on it somewhere.

As with the day before, we needed to find a computer to find our status in the NCAA tournament. We figured we would just be creepy as in Omaha and use the free library computers. This time, however, all the computers were password protected. I was heartbroken. The fact remained, however, that we needed to get ourselves in one of these pools, otherwise the entire month of March would be ruined. We persevered. We found a 7-11, which I had no idea actually still existed, and asked for directions to public library. I haven’t been to a public library in years, so I didn’t really know what to expect, particularly from one in Oklahoma.

What I found were some of the scariest haircuts I had ever seen. The dorky teenage librarian looked like he took his cue from Flock of Seagulls, and I could have sworn Poison had stopped in to check out the new releases. We quickly checked out a pair of computers, Joel next to an impatient mother of about forty and a guy doing his taxes that was just as overwhelmed as we were. I got a computer at the end of a bank next to a guy watching something with Steven Segal, or more likely, Patrick Swayze in his mullet years. It was good to see the arts weren’t dead in Norman.

Our original plan was to stay in Oklahoma City that night. After seeing the most literate Normans, we decided to keep plugging along to Dallas. We set our sights on Ardmore, along the Texas – Oklahoma border. We got there, and along the freeway, there were several chain hotels. Joel was uncomfortable with staying in a place with rooms that opened to the outside, (maybe from watching Joy Ride?) but we had no choice. The most respectable looking hotel was a Holiday in, that had a creepy “nightclub” called Gusher, which had an eerily similar logo to the old Houston Oilers emblem, but with oil suggestively coming out of the top of the derrick. Adding that extra touch of class, the hotel restaurant was a Denny’s. I guess, though if you don’t have anything nice today, don’t say anything at all, so I’ll let Ardmore off the hook. Back with Day 6 later – Ryan