Saturday, June 30, 2012

Road Trip Day 2: Oklahoma City, OK

Day 2 was a nice drive across Arkansas and two-thirds of Oklahoma. Both are hillier that I imagined. Arkansas is actually a very beautiful state and it makes sense now, where they get their nickname from, the “Natural State”. It was an easy drive across and as we neared the Oklahoma border, we came across AR Wine Country. Yay! Naturally, I decided that we need a short break, as we had been in the car for about 4 hours or so at that point, and if there was a winery or two a couple of miles off the highway, why not check it out?!

Chateau Aux Arc Winery, Arkansas
The first place we stopped was called Chateau Aux Arc. They had a cute tasting room and gift shop, with nice landscaping for a beautiful outdoor setting. Too bad the 103 degree heat kept us from staying outside for more than the time it took to walk in! They had a variety of wines, all of the grapes being grown in Arkansas. I sampled each that they had in stock and chose the Chardonnay and a sweet Red as my favorites. Since we will be camping in a few days, we will need to be prepared! After this quick stop, we decided that we could check out one more just down the road. We stopped at the Wiederkehr Wine Cellars. All of the buildings were European Chalet style, old dark wood, with lots of flags flying. The wine here wasn’t as tasty as the first place, as many of the wines were sugary sweet in my opinion. I did find a couple that would do, and for around $6/bottle, you can’t go wrong! I also grabbed a Sangria, which will be great on another one of these blistering hot days.
Wiederkehr Winery, Arkansas

After the wine, we pulled over in the shade to make sandwiches for lunch. It was a quick stop, but we had our fill and got back on the road. The remainder of the drive was uneventful, and we made the whole trip in just over 8 hours, stops included. The thing that has been nice, is that the traffic keeps moving and there haven’t been too many cars on the road to impede our progress (knocking on wood….).

Oklahoma City is our second stopping point for this trip. It gives us a decent distance to drive the next couple of days to put us in position to do some fun stuff that we’ve been planning. The “short” day drives also allow us to see different cities and get a sample of what they have to offer, instead of just driving and sleeping and driving again. Not to mention, the food in these cities is supposed to be phenomenal, so we are excited to have the opportunity to have a great meal after conserving our funds by eating out of a cooler for two meals a day.

Cattlemen's Steak House, Stockyards City, OKC
For dinner in OKC, we had a few choices: Steak, steak, steak, or catfish. We decided to head to Stockyards City, the home of Cattlemen’s for dinner. This palce is deceptibly large, and they have a large waiting room upstairs with a bar, that makes you feel like you are at a wedding reception. It was nice though and you weren’t in the way while waiting for your table, which made you feel more comfortable. They told us we would be waiting about 40 minutes, but I think we waited maybe 10 minutes for a table. Once seated, I quickly decided on the Prime Rib special and Jen ordered the Presidential, a 20oz. T-Bone. We both did work on our steak, leaving some of the ecoutraments behind, but enjoying every last, savory bite of meat. It was delicious and we walked out happy and stuffed!

We then headed to the Bricktown neighborhood, more known for it’s bar and nightlife scene in the downtown area. We stopped at Bricktown Brewery, which had a great atmosphere and plenty of seating, but the beer was just average. We then headed around the corner to TapWerks, where they have over 100 beers on tap and many more in bottles. Heaven! We each had a sampler of Oklahoma beers, and then a sour to top off the night. We met a local guy who had lived in Alaska for a few years, and we made some conversation with him. I’ve been to Alaska a couple of times, so we talked about some of the fun places in Anchorage and Girdwood. He also shared some tips about places to check out during the next leg of our trip. There are so many nice people out there, you just have to open up and talk to them!
Tap Werks, Bricktown, OKC

Jen then suggested that we look for Big Truck Tacos, which she had read about and was recommended by a famous chef. Neither of us were hungry, but when in Rome…

So we headed out across the city to find this place. It was a cute joint with lots of multi-colored lights, a walk up order window and plenty of seating inside and out. You could tell that it was probably a popular late-night place, but it had some unique menu items and gave us something else to check off our list! We brought the food back to the hotel and wolfed it down…no hangovers tomorrow! I tried a tilapia-style taco and a veggie taco. Jen had the veggie taco as well and a bbq chicken taco to supplement. By the end of our feast, we were full beyond repair and it’s time to sleep! So many exciting things still ahead…

Tonight we decided to make it in a bit earlier, as we have about 9 hours on the road tomorrow. The plan is to head to Amarillo, stop for lunch, and then finish the trip to Albuquerque. I’m anticipating some long roads, good food, and a smooth trip to New Mexico!

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