When the Circus Comes to Town
I'm lucky to have the friends I do.
Last weekend my buddy Justin drove up from Austin to hang out before my hike! We've known one another since junior high...and though we are a little more wise (J), and a little more gray (me), we still operate together in what might be described lightly....as juvenile.
The weekend started on Friday evening with yard beers across the street at Summer and Nathan's. Our friend Brandi also strolled up from down the street, and the party was on. We shot the bull for a couple of hours, enjoying the evening and making G-rated, Disney-inspired jokes. Dogfish Head is now distributing beer in Oklahoma, so the yums were plentiful. Some people even learned how truly delicious a good IPA can be! I won't say who....but it wasn't Summer...and it wasn't Nathan.
Justin was slated to arrive about 10:15pm, so I sat out front with the crew sipping beer and waiting anxiously. By the time he actually arrived, I feel like everyone already knew him! Justin got settled, then joined us for a bit before he and I hit the town.
Our destination for Friday evening was Bleu Garten, a great local outdoor hang. BG is a food truck park and outdoor bar in the heart of Midtown OKC, complete with all of the anticipated outdoor beer drinking furnishings (giant jenga, cornhole, fire pit, etc.) and draws quite a crowd. We stayed late and had a great time! So great that neither of us was smart enough to take any pictures.
Saturday morning found us headed back downtown for some climbing. ClimbUP, as you may recall from my earlier blog, operates a gym downtown (affectionately known as 'the silos') in addition to their Norman location. The silos are an experience not to be missed.
The mural on the north side. There are routes out here that we've climbed before, but today we stayed inside as the temps were already creeping north. I do recommend the outside climbs though. It's awesome to be at the top and look back over downtown.
Justin underneath the ledge.
Grabbing a bit of chalk on my way up.
Taking a break up high. This route is really fun...especially when you have to get up and over the ledge.
After a good session, we cleaned up a bit and ran over to The Loaded Bowl for lunch. I can't recommend this place enough. It's a vegan restaurant and has a great variety of offerings. They also serve good beer!
J had the Down Home Bowl and I went for the Loaded Nachos. I've not had anything here that fell short. They really have a great thing going.
LB is right across from the old Farmer's Market in OKC. The name is misleading because it actually houses an antique mall rather than an actual farmer's market (which would have been my preference...but it was cool anyhow).
Curiosity drew us inside.
There was one of these fire trucks at my grandma's house in Tennessee that all of the grandkids got to play on. Everyone has fond memories of it, so this was a pretty neat find. It was $250...so it stayed put.
We also found this...
The next logical stop of course...Anthem Brewing.
Besides the excellent beer, Anthem is cool because they offer 4 and 8 ounce pours in addition to traditional pints. It's a great place to drop in, especially if you just want to get a wider variety of brews without drinking like a fish. Plus the people are cool and the atmosphere is neat. Did I mention that the beer is excellent?!?
I had been wanting to check out Roughtail Brewing out in Midwest City. Of course I didn't have to twist any arms to get Justin on board. So we cruised out there.
Roughtail definitely has some solid brewing going on. We slipped inside their taproom for a couple of IPAs.
Everything Rhymes With Orange IPA on the left for J, and Hoptometrist IPA on the right for me.
After our beer tour we headed back to the house for a bit.
We enjoyed several profanity-laden games of ping-pong, and, not surprisingly, worked up enough of an appetite to head back out.
Next stop was Victoria's on campus corner in Norman. They make their pasta in house and have all kinds of creative pestos and dishes. Hard to beat.
Then...ice cream. The Baked Bear was just a block's walk from dinner, so off we went.
Just two dudes eating ice cream on a bench on a warm summer's eve. Nothing to see here.
After a quick regroup, we were off again in search of....more beer to wash down the ice cream and pasta.
We checked out the new outdoor bar downtown called The Yard. They just opened last month. I think it's going to be a cool hang once their momentum picks up. I'd like to see a wider selection of draft beer, but I think time will work in their favor. They definitely have a bright future!
A couple of goobersmooch dudes were kind of killing the vibe here, so we zipped back over to Bleu Garten since the weather was right, then headed home.
Sunday morning was breakfast at the Red Cup Cafe at 36th and Classen. Another excellent vegetarian cafe and coffeehouse. I give it 6 stars out of 5. It's really that good.
Justin had this. I can't remember what it was called, but it had toast, eggs, and potatoes and was really good.
Breakfast burrito for me. It was the business. Avocado just makes.....yea....avocado.....I don't need to say anything more.
After breakfast Justin had to get on the road. I'm so grateful that he came up to OKC to hang. We always have a good time.
Good thing I'm headed to the trail soon to burn off some of the weekend's intake. Whew..
Get outside when you can!
Want to climb some stuff? I did...so I headed over to ClimbUP yesterday for some fun. They have two locations, on in Norman, and one in downtown OKC. I headed to Norman as it is closer, I didn't have a ton of time, and it was in proximity to another errand I needed to run. Often if you plan right, you can sneak an urban adventure into your day's routine! I always feel like I've gotten away with something when this happens...and I like it.
Lots of options here. This side is the bouldering wall. I'm not into bouldering as much, but it's a great setup nonetheless.
Over here is the roped side. I prefer climbing this way because you can go higher. The gym downtown is very unique in that it is built in an old grain silo, so there are some very tall routes! The Norman location doesn't go as high, but there is certainly no shortage of options for climbing.
Purple climbing shoes make you stronger.
If you have the opportunity, go check out one of the ClimbUP locations soon.
If you've never climbed before, be prepared to learn just how sore your body can actually get! If you're a seasoned vet, you're likely already aware of how great these gyms are. And if you're in the middle like me, grab your gear, go break a sweat, bust up some knuckles, and have a great time.
Like many teachers in Oklahoma, I work a second job. Now and again that job lands me in some neat places, and today was one of those occurrences.
I haven't been to the Oklahoma City Zoo in years and had the pleasure of visiting today. The weather was right and the crowd was minimal, so I took advantage of the opportunity.
After woofing a sandwich I had with me, I headed inside.
Pictured behind me...is a rhino. That rhino had his face buried in that hay every time I walked by.
I asked the zoo people if I could try some, but they said no.
Sadness. Someone is always bound to misspell it...or mispronounce it. Sometimes we are lucky enough to get both.
Got to see the elephants up close.
This tiger was taking a serious nap.
Nice and cool in the bamboo forest. If you look closely, you can spot the ever-elusive garbage can.
Things got real serious with the tortoise. We had some words....but I think it is all worked out.
Every kid in the aquarium made a joke about Finding Dory.
Every single one...
A little girl walked up next to me and asked, 'What would happen if your stuck your hand in front of his mouth?' while we looked at this massive snapping turtle.
I kindly explained that she would have no fingers left on that hand.
That seemed to to be satisfactory....because she turned and walked away.
Flamingos are pretty awesome....
...but all I could think about was that scene from Alice in Wonderland where they use the flamingos as croquet mallets!!
The zoo people said no.
Zebra-print yoga pants.
I asked if they came in a men's medium.
The zoo people said no.
And of course...the elegant giraffe.
Zoos are often a hot-button topic in regard to proper treatment, habitat, animal rights, and the like. I'm certainly not an expert (I know you are shocked) but the OKC Zoo seems to be doing a fine job at providing good facilities and rehabilitation to these special creatures. I hope that you'll take the opportunity to go out and visit this summer!