45th Infantry Division Museum, OK - 13 AUG 2010

"The 45th Infantry Division Museum is Oklahoma's only state operated museum dedicated to military history. The museum collects, preserves and exhibits objects and equipment relevant to the history of Oklahoma's military heritage from the Spanish exploration to the present day." (per their pamphlet)

Tinky Winky still ignoring signs:

They had a Bill Mauldin room, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist from the 45th Infantry Division, with over 200 of his original cartoons and this one about him by Schulz.
This cannon was used by Major John S. Mosby, CSA 43rd Virginia Ranger Battalion.Every western with a big battle has a Gatling gun...now I got to see one up close.They had many items which belonged to Hitler...interesting fact: the 45th Infantry Division dates back to the 1890's and their original emblem was the yellow swastika (on a red background) which was a Native American symbol. When the Nazi party adopted it, everyone else dumped its' usage...and the 45th starting using the Thunder bird (another Native American symbol) as its' insignia.
My next stop was the Museum of Women Pilots located next to the airport. It was in the upstairs of a small office building, I think my 80 man class room was bigger. When I went to pay my admission, the small, fragile, antique woman told me I wouldn't have enough time to see everything as they would be closing in an hour. Guess she doesn't know Merrilee speed.
I actually had to look at everything three times to stretch my visit to closing time...and TW posed everywhere she could.
It's hard to do flight simulation when your hands don't reach the controls:
As my little old lady was closing up, I asked her, "Do you still fly?" She said, "I had this back surgery and had to give it up because of the cost. When I was married my husband, who was also a pilot, and I shared the cost of a plane. But he's in Texas with his second wife. I'd co-pilot for anyone who needed one."

Oklahoma Railway Museum - 12 AUG 2010

The heat was in the triple digits when I stumbled upon the Oklahoma Railway Museum.

They actually give rides on some of the historic cars a few days a month and there is no admission charge to visit the grounds.
A few cars were open but the inside temperature was prohibitive...the heat had sucked all the breathable air out.

After grabbing a few pictures, TW and I ran back to the car with AC.

Boot Quest, OK - 11 AUG 2010

This week I was in Oklahoma City and thought I would shop for cowboy boots. There was a boot store across the street from my hotel but their prices seemed a bit high. I told my class I was thinking about driving back to "Steppin' Out" to look for boots and I got a couple of local recommendations. One, took me to the tourist town of Stockyard City. Old-style clock outside of a bank.
The whole town is registered as "Historic".
This is where Oklahoma National Stockyard company began its public livestock market. In the early 1900's this place was home to several major meat packing companies.
Guess they don't want anyone walking off with this Bison.
Many businesses in the area date back to 1910.
I was told me to check out Langston's Western Wear. The building was originally a dance hall/bar with "hotel" rooms upstairs. My student said she once got a tour of the upstairs that still holds the original rooms which she described as being very small, only large enough to hold a single bed...just enough room for the "ladies" to do their business.
Langston's may have over 15,000 pair of boots, but I was ready to move onto my fourth store...Sheplers, which another student told me would have better prices than the tourist trap. I was side-tracked by this strange vehicle parked at a bar next door to my destination. Is this an Okie-style custom van? Vanity plates:Custom paint job:
A few pin-ups on the side and you're good to go!
If you noticed TW wasn't in the previous pictures, that's because it was so hot, she refused to go shopping. However, I did find my boots:
Across from my hotel was this interesting restaurant:
This 12 foot Kodiak bear greets you in the lobby:
The backwoods fishing lodge atmosphere is created using all types of dead animals:

I liked the idea of creating a picture frame from wood chips:This reminded me of my doctors office waiting room when I was a child. It was a small dark room with large overstuffed chairs and the trophy heads of many animals Doctor Bunker had killed over the years. It was such an eerie place to sit that it took my mind off the inevitable penicillin shot I would always receive.
When a friend and I bought a vacation cabin in the mountains 30 years ago, the one thing we agreed on was no dead animal parts.

Gene Autry Museum, OK - 05 AUG 2010

Everyone in class said I had to check out Meers Restaurant, which claims to have the "Best Burger in Oklahoma". It required a 15 minute drive out near the Wildlife Refuge to what once was a bustling gold mining town but now only has this one building:
Which is the Meers Restaurant:
They serve only 97% lean, grass fed Longhorn beef from their own herd. It has less fat & cholesterol than chicken and tasted great!
Their own brand of beer is a wheat brew using the original recipe from the Choctaw Nation. With home made ice-cream and peach cobbler, the meal was well worth the drive.
Passed this place and thought why would anyone with an intestinal problem want to share it with other?
I drove over to the town of Gene Autry to see the Gene Autry Museum:
Beside all thing Gene Autry, they had some item or picture to represent nearly every western TV show or movie, from the 40's & 50's. I had forgotten that Robert Blake was a child TV star, "Little Beaver" in the Red Ryder Western series.
The sign said, "You are welcome to take pictures with the horse. Absolutely no one may sit on him." But then Tinky Winky can't read:
All things Gene Autry:
Even rubber boots:
More than one kind:
The hostess at the museum told me Gene was born in Texas but after he made it big in movies he purchased a ranch in this area, so the town changed its' name to honor him. It is interesting that the Wikipedia bio on Gene Autry, has no mention of Gene Autry, Oklahoma. Now this guy was one of my favorite childhood TV shows:
And also this gal:
TW loves Hop-Along:
This is the first butter churn I've seen, with a unique shape similar to the one I own:
Here's mine...bought it in the 70's at a flea market/swap meet in Minnesota...never seen one like it since:
On the way to the airport, I had to stop to get a shot of this converted Muffler Man:
Turns out it's he's advertising for a Western store called Steppen' Out. This place has the best selection of hats and cowboy boots I've seen. I plan to go back next week and find me a new pair of boots.