Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain
And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.
Oklahoma, every night my honey lamb and I
Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk
Makin’ lazy circles in the sky.
We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand!
And when we say
We’re only sayin’
You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma!
Oklahoma O – K – L – A – H – O – M – A
I had to start this post about the 24 hours we spent in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with the most iconic state song of all time. It was the song that was most played throughout our roadtrip, and, if I’m being honest, for a few weeks after our trip as well. (The second most played song was probably Oh What a Beautiful Morning, also from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! When we go on trips, Emma always builds us an amazing Spotify playlist that has songs about the region or songs from artists from the region, which is a fun way to infuse some local flare into our adventures.)
Oklahoma was hands-down my favorite spot we went on this trip — we saved the best for last and didn’t even know it. You can also read all about the genesis of our trip and our first stop in Omaha, Nebraska and our second stop in Wichita, Kansas.
My short time in the Sooner State left such an impression on me that since I returned from our trip, I’ve read two books about Oklahoma City. The first book I read on OKC was The Next Great American City in which Former OKC Mayor, Mick Cornett, discusses the strategic placemaking and investments Oklahoma City has made over the last two decades to revitalize their downtown core and attract top talent, companies, and even an NBA team. The second book I read on OKC was Boom Town by sports journalist, Sam Anderson. It’s a brilliantly told history of the city in which Anderson uses the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 2012 basketball season as a storytelling vehicle to highlight the city’s long history of a boom and bust cycle.
Omaha, Wichita, and Oklahoma City are all mid-size cities, and it was definitely evident from the moment we drove into Oklahoma City that it felt like it had more of a vision for what it wanted to be — and, as we talked to residents, they were extremely proud of their city in a way I didn’t observe the other places we went. In short, it felt way more cosmopolitan and a city where its best days could still be ahead of it. Reading both The Next Great American City and Boomtown only served to affirm and provide color on why I felt this way during my time in Oklahoma City — and if you’re planning your own trip to OKC, which I highly recommend, I think reading one or both of these books before your trip would add so much depth to your time there.