stay at Osage Hills was pleasant except for the plumbing
issue. We got all of our personal items dried, repacked and
we hit the road. The day was very hot. We headed north
through the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve hoping to see some free
The photos below are what we saw.
drove through the preserve but saw nothing except the
tallgrass. The rolling hills were quite beautiful, but the
plains state were suffering from a drought and the grass was a bit
the exit route from the preserve, we stopped for a road-side break
to refill our hydration bladders with ice. It was well over
105 and no breeze. And, to top it off, we did not see even
one buffalo in the preserve. We guessed that they were
hiding in the trees by the limited number of creeks in the area.
stop was near one of the transcontinental microwave links left
over from the seventies.
while we were stopped we were passed by a stretch limo with the
signage "Oil Capital". He just waved and drove on. We
assumed he was taking potential clients to a candidate drilling
went to Ponca City, OK to get supplies including some plumbing
repair items. Did I mention it was hot?
headed to the Great Salt Basin State Park that was on the edge of
a reservoir. The campground was near the spillway but the
lake level was way down due to the drought. All the water in
this fork of the Arkansas river was stagnant.
late afternoon light highlighted the colors in the bedding of the
morning I went outside to discover that the birds on the river
were making quite a ruckus. I managed to get a photo of a pair of
Turkey Vultures that were leaving the scene of a kill. The
lead bird had entrails hanging from its beak. Yuck.
the shallow, stagnant water below the spillway were a flock of
Herons. Also, note the group of Turkey Vultures on the
island at the right of the photo above.
morning when we were getting ready to break camp, I looked up and
noticed that one of our cabinets was coming loose from the
roof. The fun never stops!
caught this just in time before it actually became fully
detached. The cargo basket that we fabricated actually
prevented the cabinet from falling down. The fix was to
reuse the 2 1/2" wood screws and move them to new holes. The
good news is that we had an air-powered drill and bits with
us. In about 30 minutes we were on the road.
path took us through many small towns and in one of them we
decided to search for a place to eat. While driving around
the town, we spotted this place. I was aware that this area
is known for Rattlesnake Roundups, but never thought too much
about it. I can only imagine what transpires inside that
to the Den of Death was the local watering hole. I am not
sure whether the rattlesnake roundup participants go here before
or after the event. Most likely it is both.
search for a cafe took us by this old locomotive used in the local
south, we passed Little Sahara State Park. These were
interesting dunes, but very, very small compared to those in the
Altar Desert in Sonora, Mexico, Glamis, Dumont or Death Valley.
rancher that owns this land is able to get royalties for mineral
rights as well as whatever crops he plants.
spent the night at another Oklahoma state park, but it was
unremarkable and we did not take photos. The following day,
we knuckled down for some extended road work that took us to the
furthest western reaches of the Oklahoma panhandle. We spent
the night at Black Mesa State Park. The place was clean but
best of all it had electric for our air conditioner and shade from
the cottonwood trees near the stream. We drove to the
lookout to get the photo above. Note that the flat plains of
central Oklahoma are giving way to the high plains usually
associated with Colorado. We were, in fact, only about 20
miles from the Colorado border.
"stream" near the campsite actually turned out to be a pool of
stagnant water. The drought was taking its toll on the local
the walls of the cliff above the pool I saw these bird
nests. However, I saw no birds.
headed north into Colorado and were soon back in the high plains
Lamar, we spotted this large wind farm.
wind turbines are huge. The crane used to service them was
Lamar we ate at the Thai restaurant next to the train
station. After lunch, I shot this steamer at the local
museum. Note the wind turbine blade behind the locomotive.
mechanism that controls the steam valving is amazingly complex.
the way out of Lamar, we passed a place that had a bunch of
military surplus trucks for sale so we went in to answer the
question "who's is bigger".
This is a 5-ton cargo truck, same capacity as Thor but a 6x6. From Lamar, we headed west to La Junta to visit our friends Rob and Erin.
Our lack of air
conditioning in the cab proved to be quite a hardship. The
days were very hot and humid and there was no place to hide.
We drank tons of water and took electrolyte pills to stave off the
heat exhaustion. Our plan was to add the a/c unit before our
departure, but we were overcome by events. With luck, we
will get the unit installed during this trip.
The camper is
slowly self-destructing, but to some extent that was
expected. As I have repeatedly stated, I am no fan of the
build quality of American RVs. We are well along in our
planning of a replacement camper. This will require some
extensive efforts and has some risks.
address some maintenance issues for Thor.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2012, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.