Welcome to Oklahoma

Life on the Road!……

I am now in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. 1,365 miles from where I started! It has been a very challenging week dealing with the fallout from $10.00 per night RV parks, boredom and REALLY bad roads.

Note to self……STAY AWAY FROM $10 A NIGHT RV PARKS!! The first one was across the road from a sawmill that got fired up promptly at 7:00AM making what appeared to be railroad ties. Not a problem as far as waking me up because I’m always up at sunrise, but the noise!!….and of course the trucks bringing in the trees at a steady pace on a road with no bike lane, made it impossible to do any biking. With no water for kayaking within 20 miles and Wi-Fi that never held a signal for more than a few minutes, it was a very slow 3 days. Although I did enjoy my trip into Natchitoches. It is a beautiful little town along the Cane River that is home to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the oldest general store in the state, dating back over 150 years.

I did take a very long walk down a gravel road that eventually led to a trail which in time took me to a clearing where I found a hunting blind. About 75 yards down range I spotted a trough that is filled with corn during hunting season to draw out the deer for the hunter who is sitting in the blind. The odd thing was, I could see through my binoculars something having a frantic fit on the ground near the trough. So I decided I should tramp through the knee high grass and go check it out. What I found was a raccoon caught in a live leg trap…..and boy was he mad! Now I know I must be on private property and this raccoon was trapped for a reason. Of course he was so mad there was no way he was going to let me get any where near him to set him free. And I’m sure those back woods Louisiana folks would have no problem filling my ass with buck shot……or worse for “settin” their dinner free. So I decided I best high tail it outa there…..leaving the raccoon to his fate…

From there I moved north into Oklahoma, crossing through Arkansas and a bit of Texas. My second $10 a night RV park made me wish I was back at the first one. It was so far out in the country I couldn’t even get cell phone service most of the time. Wi-Fi was something they only knew about from watching it advertised on TV. The lake that I was planning on doing all the kayaking and fishing on…….flooded a couple of weeks ago and was closed. Apparently they had a tropical depression move up from the gulf and dump heavy amounts of rain. The park ranger (Hoyt) told me I was welcome to throw my kayak in and have a go at it but to watch out for the snakes in the trees. He said he saw a cottonmouth in one just yesterday. So much for the kayaking….and biking? Less then a quarter mile from the park was the main highway. Starting around sunrise, a procession of large dump trucks began running up and down the road at breakneck speed delivering gravel to the highway project up the road a few miles. This being the only way to get to more peaceful roads, biking was not really an option. So what did I do for 3 days with no kayaking, biking or Wi-Fi? Drove to the nearest Wal Mart (Still less then 10 miles from the RV park) and bought the Lonesome Dove movie set and watched it to prepare myself for Oklahoma and points west…

I mentioned earlier about the road conditions, which of course leads me into another story. In 1974 I drove the Alaskan Highway from Delta Junction, Alaska to Fort Lewis, Washington in an old ford van (1,380 miles which coincidently is about the same number of miles I have travelled so far on this adventure) . The Alaskan Highway at that time was only paved through the larger towns. 90% of the road was gravel and very treacherous through some rugged mountains. I was stationed at Fort Greely in Alaska and when it came time to be discharged, I was required to go to Fort Lewis to complete the discharge process. So I went to my commanding officer and requested permission to drive rather than fly. He told me I was nuts and gave me 7 days to complete the journey. And what an amazing journey it was. The road was so bad I had to buy 2 new tires and replace both headlights in Whitehorse, Canada which was only about 350 miles into the trip. Every hour or so a truck (didn’t see to many cars on THIS road) would come flying down the road from the opposite direction and spray the front of my van with gravel. Apparently the locals had no fear of plummeting down the side of the mountain while racing around hair-pin turns. At one point I had to stop because the line going to my oil pressure gauge sprung a leak and needed to be repaired. (no duct tape back then) When the repair was complete, I was a mess all covered with oil. I still have shivers thinking about having to take a bath in the freezing cold river near by. I ended up being 2 hours late reporting into Fort Lewis…..Yes, it took me 7 days and 2 hours!. From there it was on to Michigan and home……But that is another story for another time….
The Adventure continues…..

Flooding at Hugo Lake, Oklahoma
Flooding at Hugo Lake, Oklahoma

5 Responses to Welcome to Oklahoma

  1. Avatar Jesse H. Griffin
    Jesse H. Griffin says:

    Don’t cha just love Robert Duvall

  2. Avatar Beth Whitby
    Beth Whitby says:

    Hopefully at some time you can spend some time in Arkansas. There are so many beautiful spots. The Ozarks are one of those spots.

  3. Avatar David McClung
    David McClung says:

    Here’s hoping things get better in the days ahead. Great bunch of pics!

  4. Avatar Starloe Galletta
    Starloe Galletta says:

    Lonesome Dove is my all time favorite movie and book. It stays close to the book but if you have not read it, do so after seeing the films and you will have pictures for your mind. I have read it least once a year sometimes more for over 20 years. Is there a reason you are staying so far south? I know some great roads north of Kansas. Well a great one in Kansas too… Lol

  5. Avatar Kim Zeigler
    Kim Zeigler says:

    I’m gonna try to get him to head to Missouri / ozarks when he leaves he cuz he missed all the cool stuff in Missouri and Arkansas….