About Me

Tired of the mundane and craving an adventure, on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010, I embarked on the ultimate American road trip through all fifty states. After nearly a year and a half on the road, on a budget of less than 50 bucks a day, this is my story...

Oklahoma: Wichita Mountains and Guthrie

"Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge"

Sunday, August 7th
Today I left New Mexico from Tucumcari, heading east through Texas, to the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Oklahoma, arriving at about 5:30 pm.  It is the nation's first wildlife preserve; 60,000 acres set aside by Teddy Roosevelt 1901 to repopulate the American Bison, which was hunted to near extinction by white men who profited from its hide, head and horns.  Of course as soon as the buffalo became protected under law, hunters/sellers looked to the elk to replace buffalo sales, hunting the elk into an endangered species too, so the park then repopulated Rocky Mountain Elk, and reintroduced the Texas Longhorn that once grazed the land as well.  The Wichita Mountains are nearly 500 million years old, comprising an ecologically diverse community of prairie grassland, forest and rock outcroppings.

Didn't Mean to Interrupt, LOL

I entered the park via the Treasure Lake/Job Corps entrance to the southwest, and met up with the 49, the main road running east to west through the park.  I stopped at Prairie Dog Town for a few pictures of one of the curious critters that allowed me to get surprisingly close, then I popped into the great Visitor Center for a little information.  I set up my tent at a semi-primitive site in Doris Campground, where for just $8 I had the place all to myself!  Of course, no other tenters were there, because the temperature was in the scorching triple digits - and humid, too!  Then I headed to the eye-blink village of Meers (famous for their Meersburger made of Texas Longhorn from their own ranch), stopping for photos of big, beautiful Texas Longhorns and Buffalo on the way.  I visited Meers Country Store for a bottle of their very own Meers Gold Beer - "served in a BIG 22 oz bottle, Meers Gold is a wheat brew, handcrafted by the Krebs Brewing Company, using the original recipe from the Choctaw Nation. It's not Filtered.  Meers Gold is aged in the bottle and this allows completion of the fermentation process. This is the way the Choctaws have made their beer for over a hundred years."

A Peek at Quanah Parker Lake

Before bed, I had a long overdue chat with my friend Tyler, hosed myself down with cold water from the camp's water pump, and contemplated the universe from my quiet place under the stars :) 

Monday, August 8th
Today I went back to the Visitor Center for a walk around its interesting museum exhibits, a viewing of the informative film about the refuge then and now, and a look at some local photography of the area.

An fearless prairie dog came right up to my vehicle on my way to Holy City, a 66-acre area meant to recreate the look of Israel during Biblical times, and site of the nation's longest running Easter passion play, "The Prince of Peace."  After exploring the grounds, I drove up to Mount Scott, passing 3 hungry turkey vultures on the way!  Once atop Mount Scott, elevation 2500 feet,  I took in magnificent, panoramic views of southwest Oklahoma.

A View From Mount Scott

I left the refuge at about 1pm, and traveled to the little village of Medicine Park, "America's Cobblestone Community," "founded on July 4th, 1908, as Oklahoma’s first planned tourism resort.  A 5-minute drive around town revealed great views of beautiful "Bath Lake" (popular swimming destination for  visitors), a quaint "cobblestone square," and some delicious home-made ice cream at the town's Ice Cream & Candy Company.

Next I went to nearby Fort Sill, and paid a heartfelt visit to Geronimo's grave.

Victor Building, 1893
Then I drove a couple hours up to Guthrie, pitched my tent at Guthrie Lake, watched a severe thunderstorm seize the city as I attempted to blog at McDonald's, went to the town of Edmond about 20 miles away and saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes ( AWESOME!) - then I arrived back at the campsite to find my tent missing!  The Police Officer said that the thunderstorm was at its worst while I was in Edmond, with wind speeds of 90 mph in some areas, and my tent must have blown into the lake!  I searched and searched, and finally at about 2 o'clock  in the morning, I "went to bed" in my car.  Of course, not before spilling water all over a bag full of papers :(

Tuesday, August 9th
First thing this morning I took another good look around the campground and lake, but alas, did not find any sign of my tent.  My Lost/Damaged/Stolen List is getting bigger :/

Just Another Private Residence!

I spent the better part of the day in downtown Guthrie, the original capital of Oklahoma, and "the largest urban Historic District in the United States, containing 2,169 buildings, 1,400 acres and 400 city blocks; nationally significant because of its outstanding collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century commercial architecture."  I hopped aboard the restored First Capital Trolley for a 50-minute, audio-narrated "Historic Tour" through town, primarily focusing on fairy tale-like private residences of all styles of architecture.  Although the driver had no real knowledge of Guthrie's history (thank god for the CD!), and kept us all a little on edge as he barreled through town like an escaped convict, the immaculate homes were marvelous!  In fact, as soon as the ride was finished I hopped into my car and retraced the tour's "steps," to get some good photos.  Totally worth the $3!

And to Dallas I go!

PHOTO ALBUMS 


2 comments:

  1. Looks like you are having the best of times Matt. Hope you are safe and loving every minute!I enjoy reading of your adventures. Take Care!

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  2. Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment, Stephen! I'm glad you like reading my blog, that means a LOT to me =) It takes quite a bit of time to maintain, so I'm glad someone's getting some use out of it!

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