Friday, October 3, 2008

True Grits...

Sept. 25, 2008

We started our day with real grits and other goodies at a Waffle House here in Oklahoma City. I’d never been to one of these, a chain of restaurants found on interstates and in neighborhoods from Arizona to Florida and throughout the south and southeast. The grits, my first fresh grits, were amazing! I have to learn to make those. (Anyone have a recipe they’ve tried that they’d like to share?)

We stopped in to the Cowboy Hall of Fame (aka Western Heritage Museum) before heading out of town and found a museum worthy of a full-day stop. There’s an entire building dedicated to children’s exploration, rooms for cowboys, Native Americans, art of the past and living artists. There’s a room dedicated to rodeo, even a section (albeit rather small) for women’s rodeo, and a rodeo graveyard full of storied rodeo animals. While we were there, an association of western artists had filled the conference rooms with various craft classes, like rawhide braiding.

Motorcycles travel at a different pace than air conditioned cars, and I hadn’t counted on motorcycle visitors on this section of our trip when I planned it. So while I’d figured three fast interstate hours per day in the car as we passed through the desert, with stops necessary for our outdoor riding companions, our day on the road is considerably longer. The stops, however, are nice and provide us a better look at the area we would have skipped through had we just kept our eyes on the home-sweet-home prize.

One of these great finds was a BBQ on wheels that Aunt Kathy and Uncle Jerry smelled from their open air, big mama motorcycle. Our air-conditioned, sealed vehicle kept us from noticing the wonderful smell that emanated from one of the best BBQs I've ever experienced in my life.

We found our way to Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge where we’ve set up camp in a nice quiet campground. Be warned, they only allow two vehicles per site here, and even Kathy’s tiny trailer counts as a vehicle. So, they had one site, we the next. It’s quiet here, though, and we saw a deer at the lake when we first walked down to check it out. The banks are too muddy, mushy to allow for water access (unless you’re willing to lose a shoe or two), but there are lots of frogs. The herd of deer meandered right into our camps for a few minutes before pressing on for the night.

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