America – Part 2


 

Rolling hills in California
Driving through the different states I noticed a definite change in scenery each day. Driving out of California was yellowed rolling farmland dotted with trees, often eucalypts. I thought it looked a lot like the drive from Sydney to Canberra. Once we got to Nevada this farmland had made a smooth transition into red desert with sharp hill/mountain things that change from red to orange, brown and purple depending on the sun.  In Arizona the desert merged into woodland as we drove towards the Grand Canyon and into the mountains, and then back again into desert as we descended on the other side. In Texas the land still looked very desert like, but it was flat sprawling ranches dotted with houses and cows. Oklahoma was a sweet relief after all the desert. I wasn’t expecting it to be so green but where we were around OK city was all rolling green hills and fields with pockets of small trees in the hollows, it was almost English!
Hills changing colour in Nervada

 

A variety of flags discovered in the old farmhouse

In Oklahoma we were visiting our friends John and Mitch and were staying at Mitch’s farm in Perry, north of OK city, for the 4thJuly. We had a wild night on the third where we let off fireworks, climbed grain silos, played on hay bales and stayed up until 4am just talking and drinking American beer.  On the 4thI assumed that when a big lunch was served to us that this was our Fourth of July feast, but I was wrong, dinner was even bigger with family, friends and neighbours filling the many tables that had been set up in the garage and outside in the late afternoon. The day’s temperature was in the high 30’s and dry as dust. In-between meals we young folk went to a field and set up targets and a skeet (clay pigeon) shooter to practice our rifle aim with. It was the first time Claire and I had used a gun and it took me a little bit to not feel strange about the fact that we were just shooting them for fun. After a while I got into it and fired a few rounds from a shot gun and a pistol, but I didn’t feel the need to keep doing it. It’s strange how different upbringings can show through in base instincts like that. Here it was legal and we were doing it for fun, but my base feeling was that you don’t play with guns.

Abandoned markets in OK city

 

Mitch showing me how to use a pistol

Because it was so dry fireworks were only supposed to be fired down at the big town lake where there was a display being put on by the town council so we went down to watch that and had a fun experience where we were sitting in the middle of a field with kids letting off fireworks all 360 degrees around us. It was kind of fun and kind of mildly scary having them burst 20meters away from you and straight over your head and somewhere else you can’t see but you can hear, all simultaneously.  Fun!

 

All dressed up for the 4th
In John’s home town of Tulsa we bought cowboy boots (also known as my new obsession) ate chicken wings and watched baseball from the grass of the stadium. Both Oklahoma City and Tulsa Surprised me with how big they are and how modern. Oklahoma city has a population of 580,000 people and I expected a tiny old fashioned city but what I actually found (and in Tulsa as well) was a thriving city with high rise buildings, refurbished downtown areas with walkways and new restaurants scattered around but which still had the feeling of a quiet and community centred city.

 

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