This morning I ran some errands. I went to AutoZone to get some chrome cleaner, got a haircut, bought some lunch fixin’s at Wal-Mart, stopped by the Harley dealer, and visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
There’s a discoloration on the muffler of my bike. I was hoping chrome cleaner would remove it, so I stopped at AutoZone, just up the street. Later I used the cleaner and determined the discoloration is bluing, not cleanable corrosion.
The barber shop was my next stop. The barber, Mike White, has an old Studebaker and an old-fashioned shop. He has every inch of wall space covered in auto-related memorabilia. Mike told me he had been to Colorado Springs recently for a Studebaker car show.
The Harley dealership is in the same shopping area as the Wal-Mart. It’s typical of the new-style shops Harley is building. The highlight of my visit was cooling off in the air conditioning.
I took a picture of the Route 66 sign because our Gypsy Tour is going to follow Route 66 to Flagstaff.
Our family visited the Memorial in 2000 on our second western tour. It’s a very moving site. I wanted to see it again and see if they had made any changes. The first thing you see outside is the fence of memories. People leave small mementos and messages on the fence.
The center piece of the Memorial is the lawn of chairs. There is one chair for each person killed. The chairs are arranged by where each person was on the floor plan at the time of the attack. Larger chairs represent adults and smaller chairs represent the children who were in the daycare center.
There is a reflecting pool beside the lawn of chairs. The time of the blast, 9:03, is recorded on the wall at one end of the pool.
Notice the large trees between the pool and the field of chairs. I was disappointed today by those trees, which weren’t there or were very small 13 years ago. The trees block the view of the chairs and soften the emotional impact of the site. When we were there the first time it was obvious where the building had been and how many people were lost. Now the trees make the site look like a serene cemetery.
As I rode around the city, I couldn’t help but reflect on what I saw. There is a shiny downtown centered on the state Capitol and municipal buildings.
The neighborhoods, however, reveal a city that used to be great. There are many, many commercial buildings; most of them are empty. Judging from the age of the boards used to shutter the buildings, the worn paint on signs that once proudly announced the names of the businesses, and the extent of grass growing in abandoned parking lots, the business failures happened before the recent great recession. Without commerce there isn’t enough money to maintain the city. The roads are uneven and rough. Patching has been kept to a minimum creating lumps to be avoided.
The weather this afternoon was sunny and hot. It was 94 degrees with 44% humidity. Weather Bug said it felt like 99 degrees. I agree; it was very hot when I was cleaning up my bike.
I have no plans for tomorrow. I’ll have to think up something to do.