Out of Kansas, into Oklahoma

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Sunrise from my tent near Wellington, Kansas.

Well, here I am on my third day in the hot and muggy state of Oklahoma.  So far, I actually like it.  The odd state laws, unique restaurants, friendly people, and unfamiliar road kill are keeping me entertained.  Thursday, I started my morning at the Homewood, Kansas KOA with an excruciating workout given to me by my recruiter before I left.  Back home, I typically go to physical training days at the recruiting station on Tuesday and had just started going on Thursdays as well.  During those PT sessions, future soldiers, such as me, would pray to not have to do the Insanity-type workout led by Sergeant Baker due to the warm summer weather.  Well, that is exactly the workout I requested a copy of to take with me for this trip, should I feel the need to burn some calories.  Unfortunately, I only got a copy of the intense cardio workout… which sucks even worse in the humid heat of Kansas, no matter the hour of the day.  I started around 8am, and what is usually a 45 minute workout took me just over an hour to pitifully complete.  It wasn’t so much that my body was feeling it, but the heat took it out of me; it also didn’t help that I neglected to have dinner the night before and was waiting to eat breakfast until after I packed up to leave.

Oh well.  After the workout, I was proud to have accomplished it.  It hurts my ego just a bit to be living primarily off of gas station food such as hot dogs, chex mix, granola bars, licorice, and snickers.  My diet hardly ever includes items like this… bleck.  It’s like one long, drawn out cheat meal!  In light of all that, a workout was necessary.

Around 10am, it was back to the Kansas turnpike; on the map it’s known as interstate 35.  It is the highway that runs south, the same I have ridden from Iowa all the way to Oklahoma.  It is called a turnpike in Kansas because the whole interstate is a toll road, from Kansas City all the way to just a couple miles north of the Oklahoma border.  It was strange for me to have to pull a ticket at a toll booth, then, when I needed to exit or got to the end of the turnpike, I was required to pay for the amount of distance I’d covered.  Interesting, but I guess common on this side of the country.

It is simple things like this that make me believe regional differences in the United States are just as abrupt as differences between the United States and other countries.  Living in Australia for several months taught me many cultural differences, yet the same differences are apparent from state to state.  For example, when I first entered Oklahoma nothing seemed different topographically, but I did notice, since I don’t have a whole lot of entertainment on the road, that much of the highway road kill consisted of armadillo.  Weird!  I knew the animal lived in Texas, but I had never thought of it becoming road kill or seeing it in Oklahoma.

My ride from Kansas to Oklahoma was uneventful, which is fine.  It was a short, easy trip to get to Stillwater, Oklahoma where I was planning to stay with another friend, Jeff, for a couple of laid back days enjoying the sunshine.  My friend was working out of town and didn’t get into town until around 6pm, so I hung out at Starbucks and worked on some more homework, though not very successfully.  I was distracted by the insane amount of flies buzzing around and the two college girls with Chi Omega emblems adorning a laptop and a cell phone.  Before leaving, I stopped to introduce myself and learned that only one of the girls was a Chi Omega, a freshman at Oklahoma State University, and that her pledge class this year consisted of nearly 70 women.  She also told me that the chapter here has about twice as many women as my Eta Alpha chapter in Corvallis.  That’s crazy to me!  It was great to see a sister so far from home, especially since I haven’t seen many Greeks while here.

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New game: try to find at least 7 flies in this photo.

Thursday evening was laid back and enjoyable.  Jeff and I went to a restaurant called Brooklyn’s that had an amazing shrimp and grits and really delicious pizza.  By 9pm we were both exhausted for the day.

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Shrimp and grits with pizza at Brooklyn’s.

Friday was a day of me hanging out, again working on homework until about 3pm, and then working out at the apartment complex’s gym.  It was awful and amazing.  I tell you, I really can’t work out the same here as I can back home, but it is a different kind of satisfaction with the heat and humidity already making you sweat.

Dinner was another night out with Jeff and a few of his coworkers.  It was great to hear about Oklahoma from people that have lived here their entire lives.

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OKC Thunder: the team formerly known as the Seattle Supersonics. I giggled when I saw this.

Today has been a day of lying in the sun, hanging out in the pool, and now relaxing inside because the 90 plus degree weather is pretty warm for the Northwesterner!

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