What would you do if you were leaving the states for two years?


If you were leaving the states for a couple of years, what would you do before you go?  Visit friends and

 family? Go places you’ve heard about but never had the time to go? Take time off from work?  Road Trip?  YES!!!

I guess the point of writing this is not to tell you about my adventures because you may not be interested in my summer, but it is written to inspire you to get out and get it done!  Take the time that we never have and stop at a rest stop, scenic pull out, a diner you’ve never been, or a historic marker along the road.  It is amazing the sights you will see and the information you will learn.

Day one: My first adventure began with a trip to POPS in Arcadia, Oklahoma.I first stumbled upon POPS in a funny way.  My students wrote about their weekend one Monday morning and Ian told me about how he had gone to POPS.  I thought that was so cool that he was so excited about eating a hamburger and having any kind of soda he wanted with his grandpa. I even mentioned it to his mom.  She looked at me kind of funny when I asked about all the POP at Ian’s grandpa’s house.  She laughed and said, ‘No, POPS is a restaurant that Ian loves to go to because they have over 500 flavors of soda to pick from and we always have a hamburger and fries.

We just love to go there.”  Well, that started my fascination with wanting to visit POPS.  So that was my first trip.

I called my friend Barb, and we headed to POPS.  Along the way, we passed the big round red barn, a world re-nowned Route 66 icon.  Of course that made for a fun photo op, so we went in for a tour and learned about the old round barn from a gentleman who was very proud to tell us about all the dancing that used to go on up on the 2nd floor of that barn.  We scooted on down to POPS, and choosing several different flavors of POP took a while because as Ian said, there were lots to choose from at his “grandpa’s place. “  As we were leaving I noticed the waitress had on a cute bracelet and I asked her where she got it. She mentioned a place in Edmond that was just down the street.  Well, what the heck, we drove down and checked it out.  It was the cutest little store called Gypsy Rose, filled with the cutest jewelry.   If you are ever in Edmond find the cute little pink store- front and have a visit. The prices are great! END

Big Blue Whale with Matt and Eric

Day two: Next was a trip to the Big Blue Whale, Molly’s Landing and the twin bridges.  This time I loaded the car with Eric, My friends Matt and Barb and we headed toward Catoosa.  I’ve been by the Big Blue Whale on several occasions, but had never stopped.  We climbed all over the Big Blue Whale.

Eric discovered a great fishing hole.  He can’t wait to grab a fishing pole and head back to the Big Blue Whale.  We found some interesting pillars to “plank” on.  Rarely, do you see double  bridges, so we took photos in front of the twin bridges.  How often does one get out of the car, walk through a field, and climb over some fallen trees just for a picture?  It was a good time.

Then we headed to Molly’s Landing.  I love the steak at the Landing.  It is mouth watering.  The atmosphere is quite unique and the service was terrific!  Good times.

After dinner, we headed home. But as we were sitting around, we decided we should go check out the horse races at Fair Meadows. May as well! I think I won about $11.40, while Eric was up about $6, Matt didn’t fare as well.

Fair Meadows Horse Races

It was a warm evening at the races and feeling lucky upon leaving with our $17.40, we decided to meet friends Lauren and Garrett at the Casino.  That adventure didn’t last as long, as Eric lost his $6 and I lost my $11.  II was still up .40 cents, so all wasn’t lost and I had a great time with friends and family.  END

Day three:  What will I  do next?  My friend Dana was in town so she, Eric, Barb and I headed to Skiatook Lake.  We took the boat out on a day that was very windy.  We enlisted Eric as our chauffeur. I was hesitant about asking him to go because several years ago he said he never wanted to go to the lake again with a bunch of middle aged old women who just want to float….on the water……

on a life jacket.  He didn’t have much fun, I guess.  This time, though he readily agreed to go and didn’t complain one time.  As before, we sat in the middle of the lake…and floated….on our life jackets. It was really too windy to wakeboard, kneeboard or anything like that.  We decided, rather than Eric being on a boat with several middle aged old women, he was on a boat with a bunch of “cougars.”  Which led to some interesting conversation.  Another great day in Oklahoma shared with friends and family. END

Day four:  A mountain bike adventure in Bentonville, Arkansas led to a visit with my friend Matt to Natural Falls State Park in West Siloam Springs, Ok.  I had read about that being one of the most beautiful places in Oklahoma in a recent magazine, so we decided to drive in and give it a look.  It was beautiful!!  We took some pictures and wandered around for a bit.  It was too hot to linger too long, but it was another check off the list! If you are ever in Bentonville, and you have a mountain bike with you, you have to stop at Slaughterpen Park.  It is so much fun, and so beautiful!  We rode through on the bike trails, stopping at times to let a dear hurry across the road, or soaking our feet in the creek.  There was a paved path that went all the way around the mountain.  It was so beautiful.  There was even a garden area, which was beautiful, flowers labeled, deer meandering through, a butterfly sanctuary, and even a bench dedicated to parents who have lost children.

I had to stop and sit on the bench for a while. Another great day.  END

Day five: Horseshoes!  How often do you play horseshoes on a summer evening in the backyard? This evening consisted of several games of horseshoes with Eric and Matt and I.  The games were all pretty close except for the game I beat Matt 15-1.  Yea, I had a couple of good ringers!  We don’t need to talk about the other games.

Prior to the game, I met my friends Steve and Pete at NYC Pizza.  I hadn’t seen them in quite some time. I used to work with them at Monte Cassino.  They are a couple of crazy, yet wonderfully great friends!  Horseshoes came up in conversation and they both had been wanting to play.  They had heard there were some horseshoe pits at LaFortune Park, so we drove over there to find them.  We didn’t find them, ……… because there weren’t any.  So

Horseshoes with Eric

before I leave for China, we are going to head west and play horseshoes at a park in Sand Springs.   END

Day six:  This day began with a great bike ride with my friends Carol and Ben.  Ben is one of my most all time favorite 3rd grade students and has just taken up cycling.  We rode out to Sand Springs and back for about a 22 mile ride to begin the day.  Ben did a great job and I was really proud of him as he effortlessly pedaled up the hill on Gilcrease Museum Road.  And even though this next event wasn’t on dayTo take a step back to the previous day, Eric and I had pedaled in the Tulsa Tough then volunteered at the rest stops during the Townie Ride.  Babette at Lee’s Bicycles always does such a nice job getting that organized for the cyclists.  I will certainly miss Tulsa Tough while I am away for the next two years! 

Day seven:  Eric and I pedaled in the Tulsa Tough then volunteered at the rest stops during the Townie Ride.  Babette at Lee’s Bicycles always does such a nice job getting that organized for the cyclists.  I will certainly miss Tulsa Tough while I am away for the next two years!  Later we decided to Eat somewhere we hadn’t eaten before, and attend a Driller’s game.   We went to Wilson’s BBQ for dinner.  It was a fine choice before we headed to the Driller’s game for clunker car night.  We signed up.  I don’t know what I would have done with a clunker car if I had won one, since I am trying to sell mine before I go to China.  It was a good thing we didn’t win because two of the cars wouldn’t even start!

So that was a week in Oklahoma! (and a little Arkansas) There were other places on my list that I had always wanted to do but was either teaching summer school and couldn’t take the time to go, or just flat didn’t have the money!  But that changed this summer.  The following blogs will be about our road trip to Pike’s Peak, Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore.

I hope that after reading this you decide to find the time and do those things that are on your list!  You won’t regret it.

About cessley

I am a bereaved parent. I write to give hope to other bereaved parents who are fresh in their grief. I want them to know life begins again. It (life) is forever changed, as are you, but one day, you will smile again. You may travel, you will make new friends, your heart will mend, though never heal and it will be a painful ride. It is one step at a time....sometimes, even one breath to the next is all we can seem to live through each day. But each day will be a new beginning, a different beginning, a different you. I have two surviving children: Amy, who is married to Brandon, and they have one daughter, Avery, and one son, Dylan. and Eric who is a doctor and is Clifton's twin brother. Clifton passed away when he was nearly two years old. As any bereaved parent knows, it is tough, REALLY tough trying to live after the death of a child. I lived in Shanghai, China for three years after the death of my son, and then lived in Beijing for two years. I am discovering life again, one step at a time. I returned to Oklahoma in February , 2020 due to the uncertainty of the virus. Little did I know the uncertainty would follow me across the ocean. This is nothing compared to the death of a child. I will survive! View all posts by cessley

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