From Texas we moved further north into Middle America, as we had plans on stopping in Oklahoma to train at Rafael Lovato Jr’s Academy. As we headed up the highway we took a little detour to the Toy and Action Figure Museum…… for the kids of course ?. This place was amazing! It had so many action figures, many from my childhood. We spend well over an hour walking around and trying to pick out all the toys we had owned and played with. Kobe seemed to know more about most of them than me, as he often plays with my old toys when visiting Nana and Pokka’s place. After that stop we continued into Oklahoma City, we were quite surprised how clean and nice of a place it seemed. Our Airbnb was located north west of the city in a nice shopping area which was great as we had to purchase some cold weather gear as the seasons were definitely changing.
First place on the list to visit was the Cowboy Museum, this place was fantastic, we were so glad we visited it. It had so many great exhibits, unfortunately you were unable to photograph and video a lot of them. The art area was probably one of our favourites with the carved leather saddles and amazing paintings. The Cowboy movie section would have definitely been a hit with my old man, walking around it I swear he would have watched every single one of those movies as he is a huge “yippie” fan. We spent a few hours there and left all in agreeance that this was probably the best museum we had been to yet, mainly because it was so different from all the others we had been to…. And we have been to a lot on this trip.
The next day (Monday) we headed to Rafael Lovato Jr’s Academy, unfortunately the 11am class wasn’t on and Rafael JR was out of town prepping from an upcoming MMA fight, but we met Dallas one of Rafael’s brown belts. He gave us a heap of things to checkout and do while in town. So, we headed off exploring more and would return later that evening for class. We decided to head into the city and check Bricktown an old section of the town with, you guessed it, with brick buildings and roads. We also checked out the Children’s Garden where they had a pretty cool pumpkin display.
We retuned for class which was ran by Shiloh Roberts, one of the friendliest and happiest guys we have met on this trip. He started the class with probably one of the coolest yoga warm ups that had me downward dogging like a bloody pro! He followed it up with a solid class on passing concepts that had plenty of pressure and movement that you would expect from Rafael Jr’s school, we had a fun time and some great rolls.
The next day we had the best pizza yet on this trip from a small place downtown called Empire Pizza (one of Dallas’s recommendations) if you head to Oklahoma make sure you check it out. We headed to Will Rogers gardens where I saved a poor little turtle from certain doom after he fell on his back on the road and couldn’t get up, a bit like when I have Dee in side control ?. We also took a drive around Lake Hefner which was damn cold and windy. We headed back to Rafael JR’s for the kid’s classes, Kobe and Lilly enjoyed the classes. We didn’t get to see too much of their classes as the parents sit in another room out the front and watch through the window or on a TV that it connected to a camera. Its not a bad idea as it stops the kids getting distracted and coached from their parents.
Dee and I then took part in Dallas Niles’s NoGi class, it was a blast I learnt a sneaky little 50/50 position ankle lock that I will be using from now on! Everyone was super cool to roll with and found myself laughing when we would end up entangled in some weird 50/50, inverted, bear trap leg lock position that neither of us could submit from. Even though Rafael JR wasn’t there we had a blast with guys! And they were so welcoming…. I don’t think they would get a whole lot of visitors as Oklahoma isn’t really a huge tourist draw… We loved it though.
From Oklahoma we headed further north into Kansas, we ended up staying in Wichita. As we were only staying one night we didn’t train, instead we headed out and checked out the place. We headed over to the Great Plains Nature Centre and checked out the exhibits then took a nice walk around Chisholm Creek Park. We then Headed to check out the “Keeper of the Plains” a giant steel Native American that stands in in the centre of Wichita along the Arkansas river.
We had enjoyed our run up the centre of the USA, seeing all the cotton, corn and plains. It really felt as though we had finally seen the real America that we had imagined after seeing so many movies as kids. From here we were off to the mountainous terrain of Colorado.