Sunday, June 28, 2015

What I Learned While Driving 25 Geckos to Oklahoma




1) Transgender people can still be kicked out of the US military

Yep, I learned this while listening to NPR as we drove through rural Kansas. While my scaly travel companions clung to their artificial tree branches, I learned that don't ask don't tells repeal only made it ok for openly gay men and women to serve in the US military. Apparently, it's still fine to boot out openly transgender men and women.


2) There are people in Kansas who actually listen to NPR (well, three anyway) 


Yes, NPR exists in a conservative state like Kansas and people do listen to it...well at least three do. I listened to the station for about four hours during my trip and they played separate recordings of the same two people for their customer testimonials. Still, it's quality programing and I'm sure the Geckos appreciated getting a well rounded look at today's current events.


3) People in rural Kansas shoot off fireworks in corn fields


This probably isn't too surprising given how isolating life in some of the six home, one gas station mini-mart towns must be. While driving back from Oklahoma I passed through four separate towns where young people were shooting off fireworks in cornfields. Granted, it might be practicing for fourth of July celebrations next weekend.



4) Taco Bueno is better than Taco Bell but isn't Mexican food


For the uninitiated, Taco Bueno is a fast food Tex-Mex chain. It's best described as a better version of Taco Bell. The portions are larger the quality is slightly better and you don't feel like your digestive system has been ravaged once you've had your last bite. None of that makes it great Mexican food but after three hours in a car with no one to listen to your renditions of Pink but 25 confused lizards, it manages to hit the spot.


5) Bluegrass is perfect music for driving through an endless sea of corn and wheat


I'm not a country fan. However, I have a soft-spot for old school folk and bluegrass. Both types of music are awesome to turn on when driving through an area that has nothing but farm fields. The downside is it also contributes to graphic fantasies of hillbillies emerging with shotguns from the cornrows.



6) Kansas City's main mix station can't be lost easily


I don't have an MP3 player and I'm do lazy to burn CDs (You know, cause that's so time consuming). This means I usually listen to a local mix station 102.1 when driving around Kansas City. What I didn't know was that you can drive almost two hours south of the city and still pick up the station pretty clearly. This means I can listen to my favorite station play the exact same songs from about ten singers over, and over, and over, and over again...ah, American Pop Culture.


7) A ton of cars in Oklahoma have Cherokee Nation License Plates 


The Cherokee people were forcibly relocated to Oklahoma by the US government during a tragic event known as the Trail of Tears. Several thousand Cherokee died in the forced march from the Appalachian Mountains. Today, a large number of Cherokee live in the State and as such you see a number of cars with Cherokee nation license plates.



8) Oklahoma State troopers' cars need a new design 


Don't worry I wasn't pulled over. However, I did get a look at the cars of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Cars. Let me tell you, they have the absolute worst paint scheme of any highway patrol cars I've ever seen and I've been in a number of States. The cars are all white (as are the troopers) and have a black outline of the state of Oklahoma on the side...that's it. I think these officers need to do some consulting with the fashion police.

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