Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oklahoma City to Dalhart - Day 3

Good-bye to Oklahoma City as Jeff and I make our way toward Texas. If you are a person who listens to the singer, Emmy Lou Harris, then you know the song, Red Dirt Girl. This was red dirt country. 
It is not my favorite scenery though I suppose if you grew up here that is what you would love.  The landscape was rough, chunks dug out of it for unknown reasons.  It looked to me like whenever someone dug a hole they never bothered to fill it back in. There was junk  scattered everywhere. Old cars, old farm machinery and empty houses left standing where they were abandoned.
I did love seeing the old homes.  It was a bit sad seeing so many abandoned, but they it was easy to imagine a family living in these homes that stood long and patient waiting for time to erase their face. Most of the homes still wooden shakes on the roof. The dry air of Oklahoma kept these homesteads from rotting to the ground as quickly as would happen in much of he East.  These homes often with a barn and windmill standing nearby were beautiful in the way they stole the stage.

Also beautiful in Oklahoma were the new windmills, tall white structures marching across the landscape like nuns dressed in white heading to mass. 
There were many stretched across this windy state. 
 I don't always approve of giant windmills.  I don't like them to be erected in the major flyways of song birds in the Appalachians. Far too many of these birds are killed each year by the large power company windmills. 

 Wind power is good, it is mostly clean and the windmills are lovely, but they must be made to be safe for these songbirds whose numbers are already dwindling.  They are an important part of the food chain besides the happiness they add to our lives.  And they eat alot of bugs.
But back to Oklahoma. 
It was while we were still in Oklahoma that we stopped for lunch. After getting off to travel old Route 66, searching for a park or picnic spot, we chose a shady underpass for our lunch spot.  After sandwiches of Bologna and cheese, Fritos, peaches and orange juice, I noticed  bird nests built of mud lining the underpass. See more about these in My Other Blog.

We did get to travel along old Route 66 where we got a few kicks.   Most of the route now travels parallel to Interstate 40 through Oklahoma's grasslands - or
 veers off into the business section of once thriving towns.

There were more great sites in Oklahoma.  We couldn't leave the state without visiting a Cherokee store. We took some photos of a guy from Poland and let him photograph us in all the conventional poses. 

There was even a real American Bison, but while I was perfectly willing to exploit statues and paintings, the buffalo looked to pitiful to photograph it.

We drew closer to Texas. then there it was. Texas came upon us lake a warm blanket, sage blue with scrub oaks appliqued upon its rumpled surface.

The gray-blue sage blew in the gentle breeze like waves across the surface.  

At the information center outside Amarillo we stopped to search for a camping spot. 

The brick from which the walls were made were laid to resemble the walls of a canyon when a sunset paints them in multihued layers.

A dry creek bed running between the parking lot and picnic shelter, and metal silhouette cut-outs of cows and bulls completed the scene.

I know you are dying to know  about the bathrooms, so I've included a picture at the bottom of the beautiful tile work that lined the bathroom walls.

Inside the information center we were given directions to a great tourist trap called The Big Texan, a fun restaurant that advertises all over the northern part of Texas.  They will give you a free meal if you can eat a 72 ounce steak in one hour.  Neither of us attempted the challenge, being happy with our own beef and fries.

 From Amarillo we drove North to Dalhart where after man mis-turns and mis-directions, we finally found a RV park that suited us for the night.

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