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Day 19 :: October 07, 2004: 01:57 AM

Wednesday, October 6th, 2004
Day Nineteen

We got up to clear blue skies and sun and a very dewy wet tent. The sun soon dried it off and we left, after a quick look at our accommodation in daylight: the dam held not much of a lake. If this is a reservoir then the water supply is indeed sorely depleted.

We had been awakened by a number of unusual bird calls but all we had seen was a number of jackrabbits on the site – and some nice cacti. As we drove out the park heavy gray cloud moved in and it was raining before we got back on the I-40 which runs parallel to route 66. We got gas and went to the ATM and had a fruitless search for decent coffee.

The landscape became desolate once again. I don’t think I could live in this landscape even if the weather was not so nasty. Beside the road every so often we would see piles of vehicles left to rot, not in a junkyard just a heap. We passed a used car lot where every one of the vehicles was not so much used as abused….smacked in fronts, sides and backs but on sale anyway. The cows were chewing on tough little bushes and dried out grass, the ranches up for sale…in the numerous tiny towns restaurants were boarded up, motels had broken windows and peeling signs…though the big chain hotels and motels seemed to be doing well enough.

We passed a sign to”Rodeopia: a Cowboy Utopia”...

We passed a sign to”Rodeopia: a Cowboy Utopia” – we didn’t stop.

At the Texas state line we were informed of the fact AND told we were entering Central Time (now just one hour different from home!) and we were Welcome to Texas, though I think they are…

Talking to youngest daughter about her computer problems (solved)..and yes, we are back in cellphone contact….I told her Texas smelled of gasoline…we had just passed a filling station and the smell clung to us…in fact Texas had other smells:

We have passed many a cow farm, many of them Angus as these were, but only the ones in Texas smelled and these ones were truly obnoxious. The cows were penned in small fenced corrals and standing in deep mud and ….and …you know…what a smell! Poor cows, too. The sign proclaimed: Quality Beef …I beg to differ.

Texas had 2 speeds on the highway. 70 daytime and 65 at night and even the trucks were obeying it. Many states had forbidden trucks to go that fast, but at least they were not going above it, but no-one was.

One newly refurbished enterprise advertised itself frequently: Horses Hotel signs offered a free 72oz steak and the billboards were at regular intervals for dozens of miles. Getting closer it turns out that to get it free one person must consume the 4 and a half pounds of beef in under one hour! Yuk! Let me repeat myself: poor cows.

We passed a huge windmill farm with 20-30 windmills making use of the very blustery winds. We saw a Halliburton truck – Yuk. We passed a truck the back of which had John 3:16-17 on it and another one (we have seen a few of them) who enlighten following drivers with biblical quotes: it ain’t New York.

The Texan landscape was dreary and bleak, even grim. The oilfields AAA insisted we were crossing were not in evidence. Maybe Texas just says it gets money from oil and beef.

We did get Starbucks coffee and a great salad buffet in Amarillo TX and the servers were very friendly and sweet. It was the home of the Quarter Horse Museum, too.

As we came close to the border with Oklahoma there was a last hurrah! a dump of cars just left beside the road in the middle of nowhere and on the other side bleak yellow land with barely a tree…I was ready to leave (we did only see one Bush Cheney 2004 sign though on desperate and desolate ranch land).

Then we were in Oklahoma and instantly, really immediately, the landscape changed.

Different land use.

The fields were green and there were trees dotted everywhere, in groups of 10-12 even without an accompanying home, as well as individually. The contrast was amazing.

At Elk City we were informed that Susan Powell was Miss America in 1981. Clinton has yet another route 66 museum.

The lay of the land was a gently rolling –at first sight rather English- looking: the red soil contrasted with the green trees and cows grazing in green fields. And hedges! Lots of hedges. The sky was blue with white clouds and there were bright yellow wildflowers on the verge. And yes, there were differences: oilfields here and there, including many donkey engines – beam engines – it seems there is even one in the grounds of the State Capitol in Oklahoma City.

Another difference from the previous state is that, having cleaned the windshield in Amarillo nothing hit it till OK. There was nothing alive in Texas! No insects…once we got to more bearable scenery, the bugs started to collide with us once again. Texas is scary. They even have a town called Bushland: we did not go.

We had dropped over 1000 feet in elevation in the day. Other things had changed too: RV Parks now advertised that they has storm cellars!

Weatherford proudly proclaimed itself the home of Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford and United Methodist Churches showed up again.

Mike liked the fake police sign: a post with the same lights as a police car to make cars slow down as they saw it in the distance. We had dinner on the edge of Oklahoma City : Horse Show Capital of the World; saw turn-offs for Bethany and EdmOnd, and the signs for the National Memorial made us quiet and sad as we remembered that day.

We did not stop at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum – surprised? But motored on to Tulsa. The road is a toll road, fast, not corrugated like the ones that preceded it and we moved quickly. The song may say it’s 24 hours to Tulsa but we can tell you it’s $3.50 paid half way along the road (if you get off before the end you have to show your receipt for a refund: go figure!) and we made our way to Broken Arrow and a really great deal on a Comfort Inn with the nicest person at the desk and the ability to sign on, pay bills and update this blog…

Tomorrow we head to Kansas and beyond…mileage to date: 5821.

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