Jeremy and I decided we needed to get away from Wichita and have a little R&R.
So, what does R&R look like in the Crockett life?
Casinos, food, museums, and roadside attractions.
We took off Friday afternoon from our collective jobs and hit the road to Tulsa. We got a bit of a late start out of Wichita, so when we got to Tulsa we checked into the hotel and then headed to the Hard Rock Casino.
For those of you that know me, it should be no surprise to find we started at the gift shop to stock up on the latest HRC shot glasses. I got a tie-dyed shot made of silicone. Kinda cool. Jeremy bought this year’s pride pin.
We gambled for a while. Jeremy and I both like the “Little Shop of Horrors” game and the various Willy Wonka slots. Jeremy also likes the Dean Martin slots, and I like the skee-ball slot machines, but I haven’t seen one of them in a long time.
Amongst all the bright lights and noise, a nondescript ATM caught my eye. Notice the Pink Floyd reference?
Later in the evening we went back to the hotel for another time-honored Crockett tradition. One night of every trip we stay in the hotel and order local pizza delivered and watch mindless television. We tried D’oro Pizza. Excellent choice.
We slept in on Saturday and once we got around, we headed to another favorite of ours… Waffle House. I know, make fun of it, say the food is bad… whatever, we enjoy it… so don’t rain on our parade. The food was hot, fresh, and delicious. I always get the hash browns, smothered, covered, and chunked. The waitress was old school and made the whole experience even better. Someday… Waffle House needs to open in Wichita!
Our next stop: two museums that are not connected but are related to each other. We started at the Woody Guthrie Center.
This museum focuses on the life and music/lyrics of one of the greatest folk singers of all time. For those who don’t recognize his name, he wrote, “This Land is your Land.” There were lots of handwritten lyrics and paintings throughout the museum.
The original handwritten lyrics for “This Land is your Land” were held in special prominence in the main gallery.
We especially enjoyed the temporary exhibit called “Love Saves the Day: The Subterranean History of American Disco.” The exhibit tracked the rise of DJ culture in New York City and the private parties that operated underground to provide safe spaces for new music, new dances, and experimental sounds.
The DJs on the scene became champions of this new music, which was notably more diverse and inclusive, reflecting its roots in Black, Latin, and LGBTQ+ culture. The art form was appropriated by popular DJs and then oversaturated by the record companies hopping on the fad. The exhibit also includes the “Disco Sucks!” riot in 1979, which marked the end of disco.
Our next stop was the Bob Dylan Center. Dylan, like many artists, was inspired by Guthrie’s lyrics and sound. It makes sense these two archives sit in the same block.
The Dylan Center had more personal items that belonged to the singer and the museum opens with a cool multi-media exhibit. Just past the video, you gain insight into some of Dylan’s most popular songs. A timeline of Dylan’s life and career covers the walls.
Upstairs, there are some quotes on creativity and letting the words flow out of you. Dylan wrote a lot of his lyrics in mini memo pads, his handwriting was so tiny, it was hard to read. The rest of the second floor is covered in souvenirs and memorabilia from Dylan’s personal collection.
Both museums were great, if I had one complaint, they both had gift shops but no shot glasses.
Our plan was to hit five official Roadside America attractions, but it was raining so we decided to skip the fun stuff like the Route 66 Rising statue and the Sonic Center of the Universe. Maybe next time.
We did stop at the Margaritaville Casino. Another great spot. The casino is pretty much what you would expect from Jimmy Buffet. Tropical vibes, drinks, and people having a good time. The pool and Land Shark Bar were packed. Jeremy and I need to stay here sometime.
We made a stop at the gift shop to pick up a shot glass and then we headed out.
We had dinner at Tres Amigos. It was pretty good. The chips and salsa made it worth the stop.
By the time we were done eating the rain had subsided a little. We could see Oral Roberts University from the parking lot. I told Jeremy we needed to make one more stop. I have always been curious about ORU. As a kid, I used to watch Oral Roberts on syndication. He had a talk show type thing where he sang, preached, and asked for money. I quit watching him by the time he announced that God was going to take him home if he didn’t raise eight million dollars by a set date.
Side note, but related. On a Saturday night I stumbled upon Saturday Night Live. It started with a shot from Oral Roberts University. The legendary, Phil Hartman was Oral Roberts. Oral’s secretary comes into the office and says, “He’s here” Oral says, “Who?” The secretary’s response was… “Him” Smoke and lights fill the room. In walks God played by host Charlton Heston. “Oral, do you have the money?” That’s all I remember of the skit. It was genius. Later that same night Church Chat with the Church Lady featured Phil Hartman as Jim Bakker and the talented and well missed, Jan Hooks played Tammy Faye Bakker. I was hooked and I’ve been a fan since that night in March of 1987.
Back to ORU. The university is home to what is believed to be the World’s Largest Praying Hands. They stand 60 feet high and weigh about 30 tons. They were created by Leonard McMurray in 1980.
While on campus I decided we might as well see the famous Prayer Tower. This is where Oral took refuge in his final days leading up to his 8-million-dollar quest. It’s tacky and weird. It is supposed to look like a cross and crown of thorns. It looks cheap up close, but still cool to see.
I am so glad I went to the tower, or I would have missed the bust of David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby. OOOhhh, awwww, oooohhhh….