Monday, August 14, 2006

Oklahoma – Native American State

Monday, Aug. 14, 2006

One should never count the years – one should count one’s interests.
I have kept young trying never to lose my childhood sense of wonderment.
I am glad I still have vivid curiosity about the world I live in.
-- Helen Keller

After my morning at Queen Wilhelmina, I headed west into Oklahoma on highway 270. I chose Lake Thunderbird State Park, about midway through the state, to spend the night.

Observations along the way:

· The first Oklahoma town I drove through was Heavener. It’s slogan is “Home of the Rhinestone.” There’s a little 7-11-type store named “Tote a Poke.”
· I drove across the top of Wister Dam that was built in 1948 and alongside Wister State Park.
· A store in Wister advertised baby chicks, ducks and eggs for sale.
· Local politicians – Mr. Corn is running for state senate, Mr. Fry is running for assembly.
· There’s a “private club” named “Charlotte’s Web.” Hmmm!
· Driving through the small town of Krebs shortly about 1 p.m., I noticed that the U.S. flag was flying upside down! What??? I was past it by the time the fact sunk in, and no easy way to turn around to find out why.
· The next town was McAlester’s slogan – “Home Italians and Cowboys!”
· Their Italian festival is over Memorial weekend, and the “Prison Rodeo” on Labor Day weekend. Perhaps learning rodeo skills is part of the prison’s rehabilitation efforts.
· The McAlester post office was right off the main street/hwy 270 route and there was a convenient place to park. So I went in to ask about Krebs’ flag. The clerk shrugged his shoulders and said, “I guess he wasn’t paying attention this morning when he put it up.” I then asked if he could call the post office and let them know, “It doesn’t look good,” I said. I don’t know what time the Krebs post office opened, but it seems strange that this obviously went unnoticed!
· Drove past a very old, two-story stone building that is the headquarters for “Rainbow Girls.”
· Gas prices on this trip so far have ranged from $2.79 to $3.09.
· Oklahoma is definitely ranching country. The state is in need of rain, and from the looks of the sky and clouds, it will rain today before too long.
· Sign on one ranch: (horse name) at stud at Circle T Ranch. My translation: “available to do studly things at Circle T Ranch.
· Crossed the Canadian River – from the looks of the riverbed it has been a big, wide river. However today it has hardly any water in it.

Zap/Boom! A moment to remember

“We do not remember days; we remember moments.”
--Cesare Pavese

The clouds gathered and darkened. I expected to be driving through normal rain. No such luck. The skies opened up and dumped buckets-full. And I’m near, but not yet at Lake Thunderbird. Fortunately the highway shoulder is wide enough to get completely off while I wait for the rain to subside.

When it was safe to continue – normal rain – I soon came to the state park entrance and stopped for camping information. It had practically stopped raining. Just as I got out of Jeremiah and pushed the “lock” button, there was a huge Zap/Boom from lightning and thunder. Whew, that must have been close.

I got a park map and drove to the RV area. I had just turned in and stopped briefly to look at the map. I was looking up when there was another simultaneous Zap/Boom. I didn’t see the lightning flash, but about 150 feet from me I saw a cloud of dust rise between some scrubby trees. Yikes! My heart was pounding. This is a moment to remember!

Oh, my gosh! Do I really want to be in this park? I decided I was just as safe – or perhaps safer – here in the park than back out on the highway.

When the storm subsided, I found a place to park for the night - #46, a pull-through site.

Tomorrow I’ll continue west into Texas and spend the night at Caprock State Park.