Soon they approached Dodge City, Kansas, once home to "wild west" legends like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, and the setting of the legendary TV show Gunsmoke. The crew, feeling the need for some grub, moseyed on into the Dodge House & Saloon.
Gayle entered the restaurant first, sending the owner, Shelby, into a fit of excitement. What would happen when Oprah arrived? Shelby burst into a full-on scream. "I look at all those people that do that [on your show]—just what I just did—and say, 'How stupid is that?' What are you doing here?"
After Shelby settled down, Oprah and Gayle enjoyed a delicious lunch. Then, as the road beckoned, Shelby and her sisters serenaded everyone with a classic cowboy tune, "Don't Fence Me In."
Just as they were getting out of Dodge, Oprah and Gayle ran into the local basketball team, the Dodge City Legend...including their 22-year-old center, Sun Ming Ming from China.
Ming is nearly 7 feet, 9 inches tall, weighs more than 350 pounds, and wears size 19 shoes!
Just outside of Dodge City, Oprah had a breakthrough of sorts as the Impala was stuck for miles behind a slow-moving orange semi. "I see why people give people the finger now. All these years I never understood why people are always so frustrated. Because you're in the wrong damn lane, people!" she said. "Four days ago I was saying, 'What is road rage? Why can't you just move with the flow, people? Now it's like, 'Sheesh, you no-driving so-and-sos.'"
Gayle had her own moment of seething road rage when they ran into some rush hour traffic later in the day near Wichita. As Oprah was saying how thankful she was that this was their first brush with a rush hour, Gayle was in the middle of a slow boil. "I hate sitting in traffic," she said. "I'd just like to know how far down we have to go."
Just as the drive was starting to become particularly grueling, Oprah and Gayle found an audio oasis. As they approached Wichita, Gayle was driving and the radio was set to XM Satellite Radio channel 23, The Heart.
Toby, a DJ on The Heart, sent out a dedication to Oprah and Gayle in honor of their location..."Wichita Lineman" by Glen Campbell.
"I love that song!" Gayle—herself a host on XM's Oprah Radio—gushed.
Just 24 hours earlier, they spent the night in what Oprah called a "grungy, moldy, stinky motel," so when she and Gayle pulled into Wichita's Hyatt Regency Hotel, the weary travelers could barely contain their excitement.
"I wanted to hug the bellman, but when I went to hug him, he looked afraid," Gayle says.
Oprah even broke out into the "happy hotel dance" in the lobby! "After our experience in the motel the night before, that Hyatt was a welcome oasis," Oprah says. "What a difference a day makes!"
The ladies left their pillows and blankets in the car and bedded down for the night in beautiful suites. Oprah says she doesn't mind if hotel rooms aren't as fancy as the ones at the Hyatt...she just wants a room that's fresh and clean.
How do you spell fun in Wichita? B-I-N-G-O!
Bingo, a favorite national pastime, is played by more than 11 million Americans, and although Oprah was a rookie, she was excited to learn from the pros. "One of the most interesting things for me was having the chance to see how other people live and entertain themselves in America," she says.
Gayle and Oprah arrived at Bingo Casino and got down to business. Their new bingo buddies—Tillie, Gladys, Mary, Tenesha, and her friend Tenesha—showed the newbies the best way to win serious cash. Tillie, a hardcore bingo player, said she plays at least five nights a week!
With microphone in hand, Oprah even got comfortable calling a few numbers. "I could have had a whole other career and I didn't know it," she said.
Before beginning their sixth day in a Chevrolet, Oprah and Gayle got a special surprise in the hotel lobby. When they walked down to leave, a mother and her three sons were waiting to give the whole crew an inspirational send-off.
The three Roberts brothers sang an a cappella version of "You Blessed Me Still."
"I was very touched by the song that they chose to sing," Gayle says.
"Hallelujah!" Oprah said. "Thank you for the blessing."
Oprah has shopped at countless antique markets, department stores and specialty shops, but she says she's never been to a yard sale!
The travelers hopped into their Chevy and followed the signs to a neighborhood in Wichita where a yard sale was in full swing. Tables were piled with toys and racks were packed with clothes. After a little digging, Oprah found two black dolls at a bargain price—only $1 each!
The family hosting the yard sale didn't seem fazed by the camera crew on their front lawn. In fact, Gayle says they never even asked who they were or what they were doing there!
On day six, Oprah and Gayle were ahead of schedule and had already crossed the Oklahoma/Kansas border when the song "Oklahoma" started playing on their XM Radio...but that didn't stop them from singing along!
"I love that musical," Oprah says. "I loved knowing that we were in the state of Oklahoma, so I thought I'd join in and sing."
"The singing got on [Oprah's] nerves, but she sang 'Oklahoma' with gusto!" Gayle says.
After Oprah and Gayle's duet, they went solo. Oprah checked out the Oklahoma Welcome Center, while Gayle chatted with fellow travelers in the parking lot. At the welcome center, Oprah found out that Oklahoma has 50 state parks and the largest herd of buffalo!
Oprah and Gayle got a little turned around on their way to Tulsa, but they were thrilled with what they found in Perry, Oklahoma...real-life cowboys out on the range!
When Gayle spotted men on horseback, Oprah decided to drop in for an unexpected visit. "It's not every day that six car loads of strangers pull into your driveway to say howdy to your wife," Oprah says.
Cody, the cowboy in question, rode up to the fence with his lasso in hand...just in case. "He was serious because he had no idea who we were," Gayle says. "It really was like something out of a movie where the guy comes galloping over to rescue his woman."
Oprah and Gayle climbed up on a fence to admire Cody and his friend Justus as they roped calves and practiced their rodeo ridin'. "A guy who can ride a horse well, to me it's extremely masculine," Gayle says.
"There's something about a man on a horse," Oprah says. "A man who knows how to handle a horse is a really cool, sexy thing."
What Gayle doesn't know is that Cody and Justus flew all the way from Oklahoma to Illinois to surprise her! Oprah wants to know what Cody was thinking when he came galloping toward them after they first arrived. "I thought you were going to rope us!" she says.
"We heard [my wife] from the arena when you guys pulled in," Cody says. "You guys got out of the car and she recognized you and we heard her say, 'Oh, my God.' I was, like, 'Oh, boy.' ... It could have been good or it could have been bad."
From the looks on Oprah and Gayle's faces, meeting Cody and Justus was definitely a highlight of their trip through Oklahoma.
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