Goodbye Oklahoma City

After a week in Oklahoma City, I’m back home in Las Vegas. I posted a few blog posts already about some interesting things I’ve done in Oklahoma City, but like usual, I decided to do a recap covering all the miscellaneous things that I haven’t already discussed.

My airline of choice is Delta Airlines, but I opted not to take Delta for this flight because it didn’t have any non-stops from Las Vegas to Oklahoma City, while Southwest Airlines did. The shortest Delta flight had a layover in Salt Lake City that added about three hours to the total travel time, so I figured I would take Southwest.

This was a less-than-ideal experience, as I somehow ended up fairly far back in the queue for boarding. The flight was completely full in both directions, so we ended up cramming into every single available seat (and then had some people involuntarily delayed due to seats being oversold). Also, I had to sit towards the back of the plane (which is not something I’m used to doing anymore in Delta), otherwise I would’ve had to take a middle seat.

I love getting nice aerial shots of cities, but unfortunately, that didn’t work for my flight into Oklahoma City because it had rained that day and there were a lot of low clouds.

Flying into Oklahoma City via Southwest Airlines

I’ve historically been loyal to Enterprise Rent-a-Car, but for the first time, I decided to go with Avis Car Rental due to a chain of disappointing ex­pe­ri­ences at the Enterprise Rent-a-Car at Los Angeles International Airport. I’m a big fan of pickup trucks, but the trucks offered at Enterprise at LAX were basically work trucks—they were lowest-trim Ram Classics or Chevy Silverados for the past handful of rentals. Avis advertised their pickup truck class as “Ram Rebel or similar,” so I figured I’d give it a shot.

Ram Rebels are my favorite truck, and I was a bit disappointed that Avis didn’t give me a Rebel, but they actually really did honor the “or similar” portion of the listing. I ended up in a 2021 Ford F-150 XLT with the new 12″ screen, which was great.

I wasn’t really a fan of Ford F-150s during and prior to the 2020 model year, but they made some pret­ty nice upgrades for 2021. The 12″ screen doesn’t look as overwhelmingly large as Ram’s because the Fords have horizontal screens, but once you actually go to use it, it’s clearly very large. The touch­screen is re­spon­sive, the menus are intuitive, and the camera is clear. I’d still say that Rams are my fa­vor­ite trucks, followed by GMC, but Ford has im­proved their trucks enough that I’d actually con­sid­er them in the running for my next pickup truck purchase (as opposed to before, where I wouldn’t even consider them at all and thought they were lagging noticeably behind other truck brands).

The only thing that stuck out as annoying this time around was the auto-start/stop (but that’s not unique to Ford anymore). If you put the vehicle in sport mode, it will disable auto-start/stop, but then I noticed that the transmission is a bit rougher when shifting. Also, the truck doesn’t remember what mode you last used, so it will always go back to normal mode when you restart the vehicle.

Apart from that, I had a great time driving the new 2021 Ford F-150. I clocked in right around 8 engine hours for the week.

2021 Ford F-150

The people in Oklahoma City are a lot nicer than I expected. In Los Angeles and even mostly in Las Vegas, people generally ignore each other and don’t really interact much if they don’t know each other. While in Oklahoma, I acted the same way I do in the West coast, and I imagine people in Oklahoma thought it was weird, because they would go out of their way to start a conversation.

A few excerpts of the more interesting ones:

  • A man asked me about my pickup truck because he hadn’t seen that design of grille before on an F-150. I told him that it’s the new 2021 model year. He asked if he could check it out, to which I said “sure.” He peeked inside, saw the 12″ screen, and said “wow, it’s like a Tesler!”
  • I went to 7-Eleven to buy some beverages and noticed that the cashier was very friendly and seemed to know everyone’s names. When it was my turn to make my purchase, she pointed out that I was a new face and asked what my name was. I told her, then clarified that I’m only here visiting. She said that she’ll still remember my name, in case I ever come back in the coming years.
  • A guy was walking his dog around the hotel I was staying at. He greeted me, said that he was visiting from Tulsa, and asked where I’m from. I told him I’m visiting from Las Vegas and he seemed shocked, because he was under the impression that people weren’t actually allowed to live in Las Vegas, and that they would just go there for the hotels and casinos, then go back home after gambling.
  • While refueling my rental truck, there was a guy on the other side of the fuel pump also refueling his work truck. He insisted on having a con­ver­sa­tion with me, and we were yelling back and forth over the sound of two running fuel pumps. We somehow pieced together a discussion… but I still don’t know whether we were talking about fuel prices, the speed at which the pump was dispensing fuel, or the size of his fuel tank.

Flying out of Oklahoma City via Southwest Airlines

Visiting Oklahoma City was a pleasant experience. Considering that most of my recent travel has been to Southern California, as well as some other cramped cities (and even a few cities that were harshly anti-police and made me feel uncomfortable with their vandalism), it was refreshing to go to a city that had a lot of wide open space with respectful people who seemed to live normal, law-abiding lives.

I’m unsure if I’ll ever have a reason to return to Oklahoma City again, but if the opportunity ever arises, I’d definitely be open to taking the trip again. If anything else, this has opened me up to wanting to visit a lot of other “random,” “middle of nowhere” cities in the Midwest. They may seem “in­sig­nif­i­cant” to someone who has spent a majority of their professional life in and around Los Angeles, but they definitely have their unique rea­sons for being special in their own ways.