This year, I have been far less aggressive about pursuing my long-term goal of visiting every county seat in the United States. Over the last few years, I’ve added an average of about 300 counties per year. So far in 2017, I’ve visited a little over 100. I decided to add a couple more short trips onto my calendar before the weather turned cold and the daylight hours shrunk. All that is just my long-winded introduction to my weekend visit to Kansas and Oklahoma.
Normally, I’d fly out on a Friday night and visit as many counties as possible over a weekend. With Columbus Day in the mix, that would give me three days on the road. Except that I had already promised to be in town Saturday afternoon to attend the local Italian Festival. So instead, I departed early Sunday morning for Wichita, drove to Tulsa collecting counties on the way, and returned to Wichita for a Monday evening flight home.
The weather was perfect for driving, warm and sunny. As for scenery, there wasn’t all that much of interest. Most of the area is farmland, though I traversed some beautiful wilderness on the Osage Reservation in northern Oklahoma. Part of the trip included driving along historic route 66. The majority of the original route in eastern Oklahoma is now numbered OK 66 instead of US 66, but the old signage can be seen in many towns and cities along the highway. One such place is in Miami, OK. The “Gateway” sign is on the south end of Main Street. Miami claims to have the longest Main Street on all of Route 66.
Despite driving just shy of 1,000 miles over the weekend, trip seemed to go by quickly. From touch down to takeoff, I was on the ground for about 34 hours. I covered 21 counties, 5 in Kansas and 16 in Oklahoma. Here are the before and after maps.
The only overnight on the trip was in Tulsa at the Renaissance Hotel, where I was upgraded to a lovely suite. This location is a category 4 property, perhaps the nicest hotel I’ve visited in that category. The interior is almost identical to the downtown Renaissance in Oklahoma City, with its nine-story atrium and glass-backed elevators. They have a very nice CL as well, though it is closed on weekends. Perhaps I lucked out that my stay was on a Sunday, so I got to check out the evening offerings as well as breakfast the following morning. While the hotel is well outside of downtown Tulsa, it’s worth a visit if you happen to be passing through the area.
About the only other item of note from this short visit are the jet bridges at the Wichita Airport (ICT). I noticed them on my Weekend in Wichita (and western Kansas) trip last summer and decided I needed to take a picture this time. It’s nice to get off the plane and step into the glass-sided jet bridge. At most airports, the walk between the plane and the terminal is more akin to walking through a subway corridor. The new airport terminal in Wichita is only a couple years old and it shows. Very nice. I hope more airports adopt this style of jet bridge. On those occasions where I get stuck waiting in line to board the aircraft, it would be nice to be able to look out on the tarmac instead of staring at the back of the person in front of me wondering what’s holding up the line.
I have a few more trips planned in 2017, though currently only one is to visit more counties. That will be in mid-November when I’m headed to North Dakota. I hope it won’t be too cold. Regardless, I’ll try to find something interesting to report here.