Our day has been filled with fun and adventure and still hasn't ended. I'm writing this post from the car, about 90 miles outside of Nashville, at 1:30am in whatever time zone I'm in at the moment. It's snowing outside (I like to call it a wintry mix, but it pretty much looks like just snow out there at this point), we're rockin' out to a little Gloria Gaynor ("I Will Survive" is a perfect song for me these days, isn't it?), and we've had an awesome day. Allow me to review.
I did a little research on the Internet last night on Oklahoma City's fine restaurants, hoping for a vegan one or one that had a handful of decent vegan-friendly options. What I found blew my socks off. 105degrees is a raw, organic, vegan, gluten-free restaurant, shop, and culinary school that serves up completely delicious, unique, and diverse meals that are oh so good for you. We headed in around noon and I started salivating upon reviewing the menu. I ordered the kale apple celery lemon parsley juice (a cancer warrior like me needs to make juicing a way of life), the cheese platter as an appetizer (the cheese was all nut-based and insanely good -- one traditional cheddar, the other blended with red chile, and the other spiced with basil), the caprese salad (nut-based mozzarella, of course), and the reuben sandwich (portobello mushroom, sauerkraut, and vegan thousand island). My dad got the portabello sliders which I snuck multiple bites of, and I ordered a sinfully delicious smoothie to go -- the Oaxaca, which consisted of dark chocolate, almond milk, bananas, and thai chili. We washed everything down with a shot of wheatgrass. Are you kidding me, Oklahoma City? One of the best and healthiest meals I've ever eaten.
As we left the restaurant, my old pal from Duke, Evan, swung by and welcomed us to Oklahoma City. Evan is a great guy, and it was awesome to spend a little time with him (and give him a WunderGlo bracelet).
We knew we were off to a bit of a late start (ok, a seriously late start) given the fact that we had over 650 miles to traverse today, but somehow that didn't deter my three nurses from pulling off I-40 to hit up a casino just outside of Oklahoma City. They joked that they were going to pull over, and I totally didn't believe them and kept my nose in my book, but lo and behold, I felt the car slow down, I looked up, and there we were. Firelake Casino. We spent only 30 minutes there, I lost only $20, and it enhanced our already exciting day, so no complaints from WunderGlo on this one.
We cruised out of Oklahoma City without incident -- well, actually, there was one incident. The highway turned into one lane, and it created a pretty serious back-up for about five minutes. I actually got out of the car and stood on I-40 which was fun and something I'd never done before. Moments later, another motorist came up to our car and told us that there had been a helicopter crash up ahead. A HELICOPTER CRASH?! My three nurses were taken aback, but I was not moved. "You guys, it's not true. Trust me," I said after the man returned to his car. Minutes later, the traffic cleared up and we were on our way. We never saw a helicopter on, near, or within eyeshot of I-40. I'm going to go ahead and say that my gut instinct was right. That guy was telling us a tall tale.
Our time in Arkansas was marked with the most wonderful hospitality from a native Los Angeleno. My friend from high school, Jennifer, and her brother Jonathan welcomed us into their home. Jen ran out and got us some delicious vegan pizza (tomato sauce, artichokes, kalamata olives, and mushrooms - yum!) and a Greek salad (sans feta cheese), we watched the State of the Union together (Why is Boehner always on the verge of tears? Was Justice Ginsberg falling asleep during Barack's speech? How much do I love Hillary Clinton?), and we refueled our minds, bodies, and spirits before hitting the road again. I only wish I could've stayed in Little Rock longer but, as I've felt with all of the places we've seen during this cross-country trip, I'll make it a point to come back soon.
And now, here I am. Blogging from the backseat, with a snoozing Yorkshire Terrier and husband beside me, looking at the snow that lines the highway and listening to my iPod on shuffle. I'm officially on the other side of the Mississippi River, content from a full day of fun, and going full steam ahead, as strong as ever.