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The soil is a thick clay and deep red, like blood in the earth. A shock of crimson peeks from between thickets of brush, or out of a gash in the field where the magnificent herds graze. Sometimes we pass a shallow pool stained with the red mud, like a streak of watercolor on the leafy farmland. Eastern Oklahoma is not flat. We ride over hills and through short forest of spindly trees. The colors are beginning to change, and the leaves begin to match the soil. The land still bears the terrible stain of the time it became Oklahoma, which means “Red People” in Choctaw.
Tulsa was built on oil. This comes up a lot in conversation. The Golden Driller stands tall before the Tulsa State Fairgrounds, a monument to that precious resource. The Golden Driller probably doesn’t think climate change exists and supports drilling in ANWAR. In spite of this, just west of Oklahoma City, driving on the former Route 66, we crest a short hill and find ourselves surrounded by towering white wind turbines, a farm spanning for miles. I immediately thought of the Golden statue of Saparmyrat “Turkmenbashi” Niyazov in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan that constantly rotates to face the sun. The Dictator Niyazov died a few years ago, yet his stupid statue still spins.
Food has been an important part of our journey so far. We tend to plan our day around fattening our asses. This stop was no different. We entered Tulsa to a feast of taco, ate homemade bread on a farm, and went to “Goldie’s,” famous for burgers and fries.
I made several non-human friends in Tulsa. Tucker, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi whose bark splinters glass and immediately rolls on his back when confronted by an intruder. Mooshu, the cross-eyed Siamese cat that chatters away in a clipped and raspy warble. Hobbs, the demented and bloodthirsty Turkish Van. Sophie, a fearful but beautiful Samoyed. The yellow lab, Cooper, who ate an entire bowl of potato chips in one bite. QT, the orphaned kitten at the cat hospital, so named because he was found at a Quicktrip, that climbed his cage to dizzying heights (for something so small) and sucked on my finger.
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