50 State Quest: #49 Oklahoma

Over my fall break I took a road trip to Oklahoma. This was my 49th state. The road trip took me through Missouri and Kansas, so I was able to see the St. Louis Arch and the state capitol buildings in Jefferson City and Topeka. And I spent my time in Oklahoma in the capital, Oklahoma City, so I managed to see (and photograph) three state capitol buildings on this trip.

Oklahoma Welcome Center

View from the Arch
My first stop was St. Louis. I had the chance to visit some friends from college. Wow, it had been a long time. The top of the arch is 630 feet high and this is a view of downtown from the top. The shadow shows you where I am.

The Arch in Fall
The leaves were changing in the park around the arch.

sunrise
I was in full-on sunrise and sunset mode on this trip. Plus I asked my students to tweet their own sunset pictures. There were so many oil wells that it seems fitting to include one in this sunrise picture.

Oklahoma State House
The Oklahoma State Capitol Building

Inside the Dome
The dome inside the Oklahoma State Capitol Building

Top of the Dome Sculpture
A replica of the Native American sculpture that stands atop the dome of the Oklahoma State Capitol Building

Oklahoma City National Memorial
The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Ever since this memorial was built, I have wanted to see it. It is definitely one of the most moving memorials I have seen. The captions below are from the website and describe the symbolism of the memorial.

Oklahoma City National Memorial
“These monumental twin gates frame the moment of destruction – 9:02 a.m. – and mark the formal entrances to the Memorial. The East Gate represents 9:01 a.m. on April 19, and the innocence of the city before the attack. The West Gate represents 9:03 a.m., the moment we were changed forever, and the hope that came from the horror in the moments and days following the bombing.”

Oklahoma City National Memorial
“The 168 chairs represent the lives taken on April 19, 1995. They stand in nine rows to represent each floor of the building, and each chair bears the name of someone killed on that floor. Nineteen smaller chairs stand for the children. The field is located on the footprint of the Murrah Building.”

Oklahoma-City-National-Memorial-Pano1
Click photo to enlarge

Oklahoma-City-National-Memorial-Pano2
Click photo to enlarge

Centennial Land Run
The Centennial Land Run sculpture. This group of 45 one-and-a-half life-size, bronze sculptures is 365 feet in length and even crosses a stream.

Monkey Skull
My friend Emily recommended that I go to the Museum of Osteology, also known as the skeleton museum. What she didn’t tell me was that it smells horrible. And that they use flesh-eating beetle larva to remove the tissue from the bones to prepare them for display. This is a chimpanzee skull from a member of the US space program.

Giraffe
I fed a giraffe at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

sunset
Industrial sunset

sunset
Edge of downtown Oklahoma City sunset

Kansas State House
The Kansas State Capitol Building in Topeka

Missouri State House
The Missouri State Capitol Building in Jefferson City

My return trip took me through Kansas City, both Kansas and Missouri, where I saw some friends from my grad school days. Bookending the trip by staying with friends really made this long trip worth it. Over the five day road trip I drove about 1700 miles.

Here’s a link to a slideshow of these pictures and more from the trip.

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