Oklahoma, at least it had my bank.Posted on November 13th, 2007 after 13660 miles by Dean Croshere.
This is scenic Oklahoma.
I’m not being sarcastic. This was the most scenic view I could find on the more scenic of the two “scenic” turnouts I had crossed in the past 10 miles. These turnouts are almost certainly the best possible use of few thousand dollars of taxpayer money, after all, they were certainly the most scenic parts of Oklahoma that I saw.
I was on the way from Texas, to Texas, on a route that I slightly modified to take me through Oklahoma.
See, the easternmost Bank of the West is in Southern Oklahoma, though there isn’t any in Texas or New Mexico. It wasn’t terribly far out of my way to drive to reach one of the bastions of money storing utility. I could finally put a PIN number on my card so I could answer the prompts on the LCD display of any ATM machine or POS sale doohickey.
It was describably relaxing to watch the teller count the cash and put it into my hand. So describable, in fact, that I would describe it to be as relaxing as being secure in the knowledge that I had cash. I could finally pay just about anyone for just about anything.
I don’t really know much about the Oklahoma City bombing. I know Timothy McVeigh exploded what I think was a truck full of manure based explosive inside the federal building, killing over a hundred people, including many children that were in the daycare section of the building.
Of course, that is one opinion. The other, as was espoused to me by the man who seemed to have nothing better to do than espouse these things, was that the whole thing was a government orchestrated conspiracy plot. He kept repeating himself in a mumbling fashion without actually describing how the government would benefit by blowing up a federal building in Oklahoma City. He couldn’t even explain why the government blamed a domestic bomber instead of foreign terrorists, as they originally assumed.
I finished taking pictures of the memorial and, failing to find the ice cream cone that I found myself craving, I hit the road.
Oklahoma City is the very center of Oklahoma. The drive to it from the south was so boring that the earlier scenic picture can be described a highlight. The drive from the City to the east was just as boring. At least the Midwest has corn and soy, Oklahoma has nothing.
Except for these guys. Maybe they should have just stuck with "wide load."
I also still had nothing to listen to. My podcast directory was entirely dry and I was growing really bored of having my music on random.
That’s when I got a genius idea. I still had the audio book of Travel’s With Charlie in the backseat of my car. I could listen to it again.
I popped it into the deck and began listening to the tome that had helped to guide the beginning of my trip. I first listened to the tape when I was about a week into my trip. Now, on my tenth week, it had new meaning for me. For one thing, I now had a scale for my trip. I’m at about 15000 miles in just over 2 months. I figure I have 2 or 3 thousand miles and a few more weeks to go, putting me at about 17500 miles in three months. Steinbeck traveled 10000 miles in roughly the same amount of time.
Amongst other reasons for this, he almost certainly drove slower, especially considering his 1950’s truck with the living quarters stacked on the back. I have more observations about his trip, but I’ll leave those for a later post, maybe even a reflection piece when I’m all done.
Steinbeck helped me pass the time until I arrived at my destination, the Palo Duro Canyon state park in Texas. It is labeled to be “the Grand Canyon of Texas,” proving, once and for all, that not everything is bigger in Texas.
The Canyon is just outside of the city of canyon, located just south of Amarillo Texas, the place Steinbeck had to stop for a few days so a vet could nurse his poodle, Charlie, back to health.
I arrived after the gates were closed, but there was a little late arrival campground provided for people like me. I cooked myself another MRE while I shot some long exposures of the remarkable night sky.
Then I got bored. Real bored. I have been so over stimulated for this entire trip, that I wasn’t really sure what to do with myself.
I spent a little while taking pictures of the deer in the field right by the gates. I’m not sure what chemical light provides a green light like this, but it sure provides for a nice picture.
I also got creative and took a long exposure self portrait.
After this last exposure, my camera battery died.
Unsure of what to do, I made a few phone calls. I was lucky enough to have a good cell connection. I spent a couple of hours talking to friends and family back home as I wandered about the premises.
Finally, I got tired enough to go to sleep under a wide open sky featuring canopy of more stars than I’ve ever seen or even knew existed.