So, you know when you’re at some event and someone suggests using an “icebreaker” activity to inspire communication and camaraderie? It’s the kind of situation on which extroverts thrive, but introverts internally (or externally) cringe. Well, I love these kinds of moments.
Side Note: I also love wallflowers, so I see you, cringer-in-the-corner. I’ll be your friend, even if you don’t make eye contact.
One traditional icebreaker question goes as follows: “Let’s go around the room, and everyone share something that no one else knows about them!”
This is followed by a round-the-room groan, because everyone loves to share random, personal secrets with total strangers! Yeah, no.
Well, no one, that is, except for me.
I have my always-go-to answer, which, I promise, is simply factual and not bragging. For real. Then again, if I tell you, I guess I can’t use this anymore, because at least a handful of people will know…
Meh. I’m going with it, as blog-fodder is running low.
I have visited all 50 states. I’ve only lived in two (sunny Florida and sweet home Alabama), but I have physically sojourned in each state. I blame my wanderlust parentals, as I wrapped up my tour of the good, ol’ U.S. of A. when I was 20. When I was about 15, I remember sitting in the front seat of my mom’s car with an atlas in my lap. We started talking through the states, what I remembered from our various trips, and which ones I’d like to visit in the future. As the stories continued, we began to notice I was coming dangerously close to hitting them all. And then the discussion changed to how we could make sure I hit that magical #50.
You’d think somewhere far away—like Alaska or Hawaii—would be the last stop, but, alas, no. It was nowhere near as exotic or adventurous. Mom and I had to plan a special trip to this less-vacationed destination.
It actually worked out quite nicely. My now-husband decided to propose in December 2009, which was about a week before Mamacita and I hit the road for a girls’ trip to cross #50 of my list. We planned my whole wedding that week, even securing the venue and DJ. It’s amazing what you can get done when you’re trapped in a car for hours on end.
And all that wedding planning happened en route to…
Whoo! Streamers, etc.
I know. It’s shocking it took me 20 years to get to the Sooner State.
Fun Fact! Oklahoma is called the Sooner State because the first people who sprinted (before they were supposed to) into the area to claim land were nicknamed “sooners”.
Oklahoma turned into a wonderful memory, especially as I hit vintage Route 66 with my mom. I had this little guidebook and would say, “Mom! There’s an original neon sign about six miles west. Let’s go find it!” and, since she’s a good sport, we did. Or we didn’t. Sometimes I think the book lied or was over-exuberant in its supposed Route 66 finds.
Regardless, getting our kicks on Route 66 was worth the drive. We drove from central Florida, through Alabama, Mississippi, (a blip of Tennessee), Arkansas, and Oklahoma until we saw a sign for the Texas border. So we saw loooong stretches of Oklahoma. It’s not like I just stopped at the border and took a picture for posterity’s sake.
Places worth seeing (should you ever find yourself in need of a road trip or roaming the Oklahoma plains):
Guthrie, OK: This town is ridiculously adorable. It’s like it was forgotten in yesteryear, but in the best way possible.
Hot Springs, AR: OK, not technically near Oklahoma, but worth a stop on the trip. We went in the middle of winter, so visiting a bath house was nice and warming. It was definitely the most undressed I’ve ever been.
Pops in Arcadia, OK: Just a funky gas station/restaurant/store. It has a giant soda (pop) bottle out front and every kind of soda (pop) you can imagine inside. Buy some interesting flavors and have a seat.
Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial: It was worth remembering the lives affected by such a tragic event. My heart broke for the victims.
Sandhills Curiosity Shop, Erick, OK: Y’all. I don’t know how to explain this one. Anyone see the movie Cars? Remember that old-lady car who would slap bumper stickers on everyone? Her store (and potentially loose grip on reality) was inspired directly by this shop and its proprietors. Seriously. A man named Harley and his wife, Annabelle, will serenade you with the Route 66 song and a guitar. The store is covered with super random memorabilia. I hate to be paranoid Debbie Downer, but this was the one place where it crossed my mind, “You know? If they turned on us and buried us out back, no one would ever find the bodies…” But, hey, it leads to a fun story.
Jim Davis Arms & Historical Museum, Claremore, OK: So, Mr. J.M. Davis collected more than 20,000 firearms and related items during his life. He also collected beer steins, Old West saddles, WWI posters, etc., etc., etc. It’s just one of those have-to-see-to-believe places.
See? I planned a road trip for you. No charge!
Honestly, I love planning trips, even if they never happen. There are always quirky and interesting places to discover, so no need to only pick the places at the top of the most-highly-rated list.
Where would you like to visit? Even though I’ve hit every state, I still have so many more places I’d like to visit!