We recently took a vacation and for the first time ever and I journaled. Wow, what a concept. On the following entries I will let you follow along on what we saw and did for our nine days in the mountains. Enjoy!
First Day, July 10th Hitting The Open Road...
Dave and I are taking our first vacation without children...hmmmm that's 33 years now. Time to get to know each other again. It's 10:56 A.M. and we are on our way with the temperature sitting at 97 degrees outside. Got gas last night at the East side Walmart here in Norman for $2.02 a gallon, the West side Walmart was $2.28 a gallon, go figure. It's real windy out and the temperature seems to be rising. For once, someone else is staying at home and watching the dogs, Fitz, Lizzy & Bear.
We are car camping, took the mattress out of the tent trailer and it fits perfectly in the back of the Suburban. Dave bought a hitch rack so we could carry more stuff with us, we borrowed a tent just in case we wanted to get out of the car.
11:30 A.M. and we have pulled onto I-40 West bound, high cross winds and 99 degrees out.
11:52 A.M. pulled off highway at El Reno to have a Johnny's Onion Burger. Was trying to find the place as we had never been to El Reno. We stopped to ask a local cowboy where it might be. He stepped away from changing a baby in the back seat of his truck which was filled with kids, and asked us which one we would like, "There's Sid's, Johnny's & Joe's" which he said was the original. He then told us how to get to Johnny's which was around the corner, we found it after that. Got a call from the girl saying we did not leave very much food in the house, so transferred some funds into her account, ain't cell phones great! Well the burger was great! Will have to come back again sometime. If you haven't been I suggest going, I think you will like it. Great atmosphere!
Saw a sign on the back of a little Toyota "Echo" that said "It's not a truck, but I'm still a cowgirl". The fun things you see in little towns. El Reno has a working Trolley Car that will take you on a historical tour of the town. It also supports the Oklahoma Guitar Museum. Had to make a stop at the local Walmart as a bungee on the hitch rack broke and we had to get some new ones. The bungees we had from camping years ago are giving out.
1:10 P.M. Temp. is 109 degrees. Folks, I think it's hot outside. Thank goodness the air-conditioner on the car works. On the road again. Had to make a stop at the Cherokee Trading Post where we make the turn to head to the panhandle, always love to look at all the neat goodies.
FIRE! As we pulled out of the Trading Post parking lot we could see the beginnings of a large fire off on the far distant horizon. Dave is concerned that we may run into it. It looms ever closer as we travel NW toward Seiling, OK. Our local weatherman, Gary England parents had a grocery store there, don't think is is open any longer. The smoke is getting more ominous to the East of us. We topped a crest in the landscape and you can see the fire quite well now. The smoke is so heavy that white storm clouds are forming at the top of the smoke column. We stopped at a Shell Station so I could take a break. Dave talked to a guy who was buying water for the fire crews. He said that the temp was 113 degrees and the wind at 30 mph. NOT GOOD! He said that several weeks ago this happened in the area and it left a scorched earth effect. The area is loaded with red cedar trees which is like burning grease.
While taking a break at the Shell station in Seiling, OK. The fire is about 8 miles away.
As you can see in this shot the fire is creating it's own storm clouds up above. The fire was north and east of Chester, OK
When you open this picture you should be to see the flames. It's not often that a city person gets to see a range fire. This one was a doozie.
We have reached Woodward. Stopped at Walmart to get gas and purchased a camping lantern, one of those little high intensity dudes. We might make Clayton, New Mexico in time for dinner. Wind is terrible. WOW! Just North of Woodward is a wind farm. Not just a few giant windmills but as far as you can see from the West to the East...awesome!
Have passed Fort Supply now, headed into the Panhandle of Oklahoma, am looking for a large granite marker that marks the Bad Lands Territory which became the panhandle of Oklahoma.
26 years ago we broke down by it with our new tent trailer. It too was the hottest day of the year. We limped back to Fort Supply and dropped off the trailer and then went on back to Woodward to a car dealership and had them check out the car. They put on a new radiator cap and sent us on our way. We got back to Fort Supply and picked up the trailer and proceeded back out through the panhandle and lo and behold the car broke down again at the same spot. We lifted the hood to the catch latch and traveled at 55 mph all the way to Woodland, CO with no airconditioner UGH!. Had to go back into Colorado Springs to a radiator shop to get the radiator repaired the next day. Ah what a memory!
Ah it looks like afternoon summer showers off to the North of us. About 40 miles East of Guymon, OK we hit the top of a hill, the road went straight forever, boring! The only thing that keeps us awake are the bumps in the road jarring us.
PRAY FOR RAIN! That was a sign I just saw in a parched field.
Took a dinner stop at a Mazio's in Guymon so there went the dinner break at Clayton. Back on the road at 7:13 P.M. 101 degrees outside. Is it getting cooler or does it just seem that way?
Ah the smell of rain is all around. 7:15 P.M. 96 degrees, it's starting to cool off, YEA! 77 miles to Clayton, New Mexico. The storm has started. For a bit there it looked like another fire off in the distance but the wind is so strong that is a black dust cloud being churned across the prairie. Having to fight the car to keep it on the road. Prairie storms are different than city storms, nothing out there to buffer the wind. The lightning is something else. Big bolts in open fields...you can see forever, no trees just flat. Boise City, OK should be close, next stop as we need to refuel. The wind is costing us gas. 7:59 P.M. A cool 71 degrees. Circled the courthouse in Boise City, OK and now on Hwy. 412 headed to Clayton, NM. Took another cloud picture at the OK-NM border. WOW! Smooth roads with shoulders here in New Mexico.
Made it to Clayton - stinks here, big cattle feed lots just outside of town. Didn't make the turn as the phone rang, was our son-in-law J, to let us know about a house they were looking at to buy. Had to wait for a train before we could continue back where we missed our turn to get on the right road. Now we are chasing the train we were waiting on. We are on a nice road easy to travel on. Ah we passed the train. Just saw our first prong horned antelope. Arrived in Trinidad, CO around 10:00 P.M. Found a campsite for $15 at a Budget Inn. Lights out for now.
Amore & Arrivederci For Now