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New York man bicycling to all 50 states reaches Oklahoma, realizes, 'I'm starting to feel proud again'

A former Uber driver from Syracuse, us-regions, who is cycling to all 50 U.S. state capitals in the span of one year is detailing the beauty and wonder of each American city he reaches. 

He’s also sharing his latest experiences with Fox News Digital as he reaches each new state.

Bob Barnes is more than halfway toward his goal of bicycling to all 50 states. 

At 6:30 a.m. CT this past Monday, Barnes, 52, reached capital city No. 26: us-regions

His discoveries and realizations along the way are a vote of confidence for all.

Oklahomans show their ‘giving spirit’ 

Barnes told Fox News Digital that he felt Oklahoma residents were “very laid back” and generous.

On Saturday, he said, he stopped to set up his tent between the interstate and the off-ramp. 

By around 11:30 that chilly night, he was asleep when someone approached his tent and asked if there was anyone inside.

 

“I thought it was the police,” Barnes said. 

“So I poke[d] my head out and there were these two kids. They must have been 15 years old.”

Barnes said they’d brought him three bags of food as well as blankets.

“Everybody is kind of willing to help you, even if you don’t ask for it.”

— Bob Barnes to Fox News Digital

“Their mother drove by, saw me down there, went home, got them and came back,” Barnes said. 

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“That seems to be the spirit, the giving spirit,” Barnes added.

On America: ‘We’re all the same’

Barnes said he’s realized that the U.S. is “very consistent and we’re all the same.”

“It’s not what you perceive online and on TV,” Barnes said. 

“I’m starting to personal-freedoms he said. “It’s not that I really wasn’t, it’s just that you can expect the same type of thing everywhere you go.”

 

“Everybody is kind of willing to help you, even if you don’t ask for it,” he continued. 

“People come up to you in every state in the country, and we’re all the same. And that’s what I’m finding, for real.”

“It’s incredible being out here,” Barnes also said.

On Oklahoma City: It’s ‘clean and beautiful’  

Barnes told Fox News Digital that when he arrived Monday, lawmakers were kicking off Oklahoma’s legislative session. 

He said he was glad to be able to go inside the “sparkling” Statehouse and walk around and explore a bit.

Barnes, 52, is cycling to all 50 U.S. state capitals in one year. At 6:30 a.m. CT on Monday morning, he reached the 26th capital on his journey — Oklahoma City.

Barnes, 52, is cycling to all 50 U.S. state capitals in one year. At 6:30 a.m. CT on Monday morning, he reached the 26th capital on his journey — Oklahoma City.
(Bob Barnes)

Barnes told Fox News Digital that on Monday that when he arrived in Oklahoma City, lawmakers were starting their session, which began with a State of the State address, the fourth for Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican. Barnes' bicycle and trailer are pictured here in front of the Statehouse.

Barnes told Fox News Digital that on Monday that when he arrived in Oklahoma City, lawmakers were starting their session, which began with a State of the State address, the fourth for Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican. Barnes’ bicycle and trailer are pictured here in front of the Statehouse.
(Bob Barnes)

“I poked around, got to see all the activity and all the security and all the goings on,” Barnes told Fox.

The rest of the capital city, Barnes said, was “clean and beautiful” — but also “quiet.”

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“I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing,” Barnes pointed out about the silent city. 

“I’ve seen a few different capitals that have been very quiet like that.”

Another view of the Oklahoma Statehouse in Oklahoma City. The Sooner State is the 26th state Bob Barnes has reached so far by bicycle. He'll be describing his experiences the rest of the way to Fox News Digital. 

Another view of the Oklahoma Statehouse in Oklahoma City. The Sooner State is the 26th state Bob Barnes has reached so far by bicycle. He’ll be describing his experiences the rest of the way to Fox News Digital. 
(iStock, File)

Weather a surprise and a challenge

Barnes said an eye-opener for him about Oklahoma has been its weather. 

“I was a little bit surprised that Oklahoma has winter,” Barnes said. 

“Because if you look at Oklahoma, we’re just as far south — I’m sitting just as far south as South Carolina. So I just thought south was south.”

“But no — we got a nice storm. And the snow’s still on the ground, so Oklahoma does get winter.”

"I poked around, got to see all the activity and all the security and all the goings on," Barnes told Fox News Digital about Oklahoma's Statehouse. The inside of the Statehouse is pictured here.

"I poked around, got to see all the activity and all the security and all the goings on," Barnes told Fox News Digital about Oklahoma’s Statehouse. The inside of the Statehouse is pictured here.
(Bob Barnes)

The rest of the capital city, Barnes said, was "clean and beautiful," but also "quiet." Here's another view of the inside of the Oklahoma Statehouse.

The rest of the capital city, Barnes said, was "clean and beautiful," but also "quiet." Here’s another view of the inside of the Oklahoma Statehouse.
(Bob Barnes)

Barnes said the winter storm delayed him for two days in Ardmore, Oklahoma, last week. 

As a last resort for his safety, Barnes stayed in a hotel.

“I started Wednesday early, knowing that there was a winter storm warning,” he added. 

“The forecast was spot-on. So by the end of my ride, by the time I got to my hotel, I was covered in ice, literally.”

For the next two days, he said he planned his route and stayed in the hotel. 

By early Saturday morning, the weather had cleared enough for him to hit the road again safely. 

An eye for volunteer opportunities

When he’s not pedaling, Barnes takes the time to volunteer to help others.

Last week, however, the winter storm changed his plans.

The Oklahoma Statehouse is pictured. Barnes has visited 26 state capitals so far on his journey. 

The Oklahoma Statehouse is pictured. Barnes has visited 26 state capitals so far on his journey. 
(Bob Barnes)

Barnes said that a winter storm delayed him for two days in Ardmore, Oklahoma, last week. As a last resort for his safety, Barnes stayed in a hotel. Typically, Barnes camps out in his tent. 

Barnes said that a winter storm delayed him for two days in Ardmore, Oklahoma, last week. As a last resort for his safety, Barnes stayed in a hotel. Typically, Barnes camps out in his tent. 
(Bob Barnes)

“[During] one of my snow days this week, I called around and it turns out everything, even the places that give out food … was shut down,” Barnes said. 

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“I don’t know when the next time I’ll volunteer is. That’s hit or miss.”

Nevertheless, Barnes says he plans to donate blood within the week before hitting the next destination on his great American journey.

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Little Rock, Arkansas, is up next for him. Stay tuned!

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