OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Wrapping up a year’s worth of work, travel, and conversations isn’t easy if you have to condense it all down to a few minutes.

Places that stick in our memory for 2022: floating cabins on Lake Murray, artist Paul Snyder’s amazing movie house in Moore, a uniquely shaped, little barbershop in Woodward that started its life as a prisoner of war guard tower during WWII.

We remember shopping for T-shirts in Hooker, Oklahoma, and hitting the annual Christmas sale at Skulls Unlimited.

Modes of travel counted too.

We had B-52s on trucks, steam locomotives, and Ford Tri-Motor airplanes.

We slid down the restored Okie Zip, rode on the restored carousel at the Hydro Free Fair, and even helped deliver Christmas with the Guess family – three of whom work for UPS.

We drove ourselves to lots of different places, of course.

But we also flew our drone to capture scenes like a rain-fed waterfall plunging into a slot canyon outside Hinton.

Sites we remember included red cardinals and white snow in winter outside the Adams house in Blanchard.

We saw wildflowers at Veterans Lake on a clear morning near Sulphur, tulips blooming on the Tucker Farm near Ada, magnolias in Durant, and colorful cannas at the Horn Farm in fall.

We met some pretty cool people.

Gary Brooks showed off the brand new First National Center.

Tony Chapman showed us his invention to keep garbage off the streets.

Artist Brad Brauser showed us his painting which he started up again after a 60+ year delay.

Sites we’re still glad to see around: Ardmore’s Hamburger Inn since 1938, Taco Village in Alva since 1972, and Ossian Flipper’s ditch, dating back to the 1870s, still doing its job at Fort Sill.

People we’re glad to still be on the planet: DeWayne Hodgson, America’s oldest living Star Farmer and the state’s longest serving pharmacist, Don Self.

New things were glad to see arrive: a fine looking, 50 ft. tall leg lamp in Chickasha, a wood fired oven at the new Saucee Sicilian brick and mortar in OKC, a hot bowl of soup in Lookeba at CD’s Soups and Sandwiches and Holly J’s Place.

We celebrated new habitat for a handful of otters raised at the Wildcare rehabilitation facility. Handlers there released them from their care on a quiet spot along the North Canadian River.

So how about our Top 4?

We want to congratulate Doug Jackson wherever he might be aboard the SV Seeker, a 74ft sailing ship and research vessel he built in his Tulsa front yard over the past 15 years.

He calls it ‘the ship the internet built’.

For a former database technician who stepped away from his office cubicle, it is the culminations of a long-held dream.

He and the Seeker made their way to the Gulf of Mexico over the summer and early fall.

Another of our Top 4 salutes goes to Greg Gerardy, who completed the Oklahoma Memorial Marathon with one working lung.

His triumph over cancer, multiple surgeries, and just breathing is something we should all consider in our own struggle for good health.

We also can’t mention Top 4 without including a Trick or Treat stop in Oklahoma City’s Crown Heights neighborhood and three moms turned witches for just one night.

Susan Turpin, Julie Richardson, and Susan Chambers have maintained and extravagant 30 year Halloween tradition that has kids and adults lined up around the block every October.

Read more “Is This a Great State or What?!” Stories

So what’s Number 1?

It isn’t actually one story, but several.

Our attempt to swim across the state turned into a summer long journey with stops and spring fed watering holes from east to west, each with its own unique story attached.

It was a cool, new way to see Oklahoma above water level and below.

There were a lot more stops we wanted to make, but that’s why we’re so happy to see a new year offering new opportunities to see sites, meet great people, and discover things we didn’t know before.

We can’t wait to dive in.

Great State is sponsored by WEOKIE Credit Union