Crossing TN, AR & OK
April 27, 2019
Traveling on the back roads you often see people wave just passing along. You don’t know them, they don’t know you yet you are waving. A similar gesture between motorcyclists. It’s a reminder that we are all connected living our lives on this planet. A refreshing change from Florida where a hand going up usually is accompanied by a middle finger and yelling.
Our destination brings us to reseviours, rivers, lakes, state or national parks, nature preserves, museums and too many historical markers along the road to read. Civil war battlefields, Trail of tears, Santa Fe trail, Oregon trail. Fascinated how a couple centuries ago people migrated across country without much of a road map on foot, horse back or covered wagon. At least today we have the convenience of many stores to restock daily needs and continuous cellphone coverage. Farms & oil fields use cellular. However, as we get into mountain terrains we lose signals. No cell, no TV, no radio. So far we have been able to enjoy endless hours of satellite radio. We also enjoy reading. Old fashioned books, downloaded media and playing board games as we sit out stormy weather and enjoying each others company. As with much of rural America, there are miles of rangelands for cattle, irrigated farming fields and vast openness where crude oil or gas is pumped from earth or dozens of windmills and solar farms electrifying communities and industries. A rolling landscape of fields in varying colors of brown, green, and some of them an endless field of yellow flowers. These crops are oil-rich seeds; rapeseed commonly used for Canola or Vegetable oil or feed for cattle. We see beautiful homes, sprawling ranches mixed with others collecting every imaginable machine or trash. Sad seeing homes where occupants simply toss everyday garbage in their yard, abandoned children’s toys, old cars, boats, tractors all while next door to manicured lawns of homes, churches, or town centers.
Many old historic towns which we pass through are run down dilapidated structures collapsing from changing times while others are preserving their history. One of the cities preserving their history was Boise City, Oklahoma. As we arrived, we learned this little town was bombed one evening during WWII instead of bombing their training target. A bomber squadron had gotten, approx. 45 miles off course and saw their target of a lighted square and began dropping bombs. Most of the citizens were just heading to bed, others in a local diner or leaving a movie theater when all hell broke loose. Try contacting the government to inform them they’re wiping out a town! Luckily it was just training bombs with four lbs of dynomite. A fuel truck driver quickly escaped with his life and delivery. (https://owlcation.com/humanities/BoiseCityBombing). After Boise we commenced heading off the beaten path. More to see and more waving to do!
Growth is evident across our great country. New housing subdivisions are popping up too. It’s great seeing semi trucks and loaded railroad cars moving in all directions. Sort of feel guilty as we just poke along to taking in the sights. The back roads allow a slow comfortable pace with less wear & tear on our RV though at times it did merge onto faster paced highways in congested cities. Our goal is to enjoy the journey as much as possible and savor the experiences along the way, avoiding interstates allows us more pleasures. Westward, we selected Hwy 412 (a combination of US62,60,64) transversing across Arkansas & Oklahoma into New Mexico carefully watching or listening for hazardous weather conditions. It is rather important to dodge a tornado’s path. Prescott had left her ruby slippers in Florida so they would be of no help to us. Our route had little to no traffic while providing campgrounds at many Army Corp. of Engineer (COE) recreational lakes and various state parks spaced for a convenient day’s drive and not requiring reservations. One disappointment was when we arrived to the toll section west of Tulsa. Paying for a poorly maintained surface that was actually rougher; guess in a decade or two they’ll collect enough toll taxes to repair it?