Memorial Day is behind us, and it is more than obvious that the high transportation fuel costs greatly impacted the vacation decision-making processes. With no relief in sight, summer vacations will be altered, as well. Oklahomans are hedonists at heart, and the "Red River Rivalry" is but one of many examples of how we're willing to do whatever necessary to entertain ourselves " even if it means we travel south until we smell it, west until we step in it.
The "Big D," that is.
High fuel costs caused many Oklahomans to stay home, to enjoy the undersold venues we have right in our own back yards. News reports showed countless Okies heading out to the lakes and to some of our state parks to enjoy the amazing resources our tax dollars have been paying for all these years. The truly amazing revelation was that perhaps, just perhaps, the great state of Oklahoma is, well, great after all.
During a trip to Arbuckle Lake, the Wild Oklahoma television crew ran into Oklahoman after Oklahoman who had made the difficult decision to stay in state for the Memorial Day weekend. Without exception, everyone we spoke to was satisfied. The expectation is that the summer vacation months will see Oklahomans trying new things and seeing new sights in Oklahoma that they had heretofore overlooked.
While the governor spends his vacations in Mexico " at a cost to taxpayers for his "security" detail " the average Oklahoman will be forced to reconsider his or her summer plans. Cancún may not be in the budget, but the Bricktown Ballpark with the Oklahoma Redhawks will more than likely see record numbers (Redhawks games are one of the few affordable, family-friendly entertainment values left in Bricktown). Central Oklahoma lakes also will see record numbers. Instead of spending hundreds to watch a couple of killer whales spit water at each other, Oklahomans can spend $50 at a local outdoor retailer, head to the lake with tackle in hand and capture memories that will last a lifetime. And we don't have to take out a second mortgage to do so.
Whether it be Arcadia Lake, Lake Hefner, Lake Thunderbird or even Lake Stanley Draper, Central Oklahoma is home to some of the finest parks and recreation venues in all of the state. And the truth of the matter is that the cost to take the family out to the lake is negligible when contrasted with the cost of travel to surrounding states. Certainly this sounds a bit isolationist, but consider it to be exclusively pro-Oklahoma.
Oklahoma has a wonderful quality of life, and it's time for us to experience it. Yes, the high transportation fuel costs are cutting into our discretionary income, but Oklahoma will be the beneficiary.
Black is a consultant living in Edmond and founder of Wild Oklahoma TV & Radio. He was the 2007 Oklahoma Rifle Association Media Award winner.