A Late Winter Drive

Sometimes the best drives are the laziest drives. I was able to sneak away to the South Central Coalition of Historical Trekkers winter gathering at Fort Gibson. The weather was dreadfully cold Friday night but there was a glimmer of hope it would warm up at least during the day on Saturday so off I went.

The drive out was uneventful as I was in the dark most of the way. I’m trying to preserve my annual leave so I left after work on Friday and made the 2.5 hour drive. I still have the dash apart looking for the relay that is buzzing and thus the lights that illuminate the gauges are disabled due to a missing rheostat. The Range Rover was really humming along and I thought I’d check the speedometer so I flipped on the map light under the rear view mirror. The indicator was hovering around 92 miles an hour. “GOOD GRAVY!”

I thought as I slowed her down, but realized, this Rover can still run.

I got to the Fort and made the customary greetings, observing all the protocols of a 19th century gathering and unloaded my stuff. The frost was already settling but as fortune would have it, my mates had us in the north end of one of the dog-trots on the site. Sleeping indoors even when it is cold is a blessing. Having a roaring fireplace was a godsend.

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I put my dinner on and will now give you a recipe to try. This is an OkieRover first on this site. Perhaps I’ll share more of my culinary secrets in the future.

Pan Poached Catfish
Heat a cast iron skillet on coals. Insert two half pound catfish fillets. Add a cup of apple cider. Poach the fillets until the liquid begins to evaporate. Allow to crisp just a bit for texture and serve.

It was a happy accident that the apple cider was in the coffee pot and not just water. Everyone had already eaten so I enjoyed the pound of catfish alone except for a small part that David wanted to try. We all went to bed with bellies full of wine and food, and with smiles on our faces from our palaver.

We woke in the 19th century and went about our day. We took a walk down to the Arkansas river. We spotted several birds among them black vultures, red-headed, downy, and red-bellied woodpeckers. We returned to the dog trot and cooked two hens on our squirrel cookers over an open fire while the flocks of ducks and geese headed to their nesting areas. The troop of pelicans was a nice treat to see as well.

Saturday night was more of the same as Friday and we all had a great time. As Sunday began we were all back in the 20th 21st century. With the Range Rover all packed and my salutations offered I headed home.

My intention was to do a little birding on the way home and to generally wander westerly until I got home. I added a half dozen more birds with a barnacled goose being probably the most unusual of them.

This a view of the fort from the road which passes to the north of the fort. 

This is the bridge that passes over the Arkansas near the fort going North. A great relic of the 1930s. Passing to the right you can see the railroad bridge. A mile up this road is the site where Sam Houston built his cabin and lived while with the Cherokees (Wikipedia). There is only a rubble field and a mound where the cabin once was.

Oklahoma does a pretty good job of telling the story of our state in road side markers. I had never heard of the Nuyaka Mission nor of the Green Peach War (RootsWeb). It was a civil war between two factions of Creeks in the 1880s.

My good friend Mike Segroves often seeks out the Dairy Queens while on his travels. I spotted this one in Okmulgee. My Great-Grandparents on my father’s mother’s side of the family, the Fishers lived in Okmulgee.

Okmulgee State Park and Dripping Springs State Park are found just past the outskirts of town west of Okmulgee. It was nice to wind through the parks at a leisurely pace.

Oklahoma, before integration was fashionable, had white towns, Indian towns, and black towns. I’m not going to regale you with politically correct terms here, it was what it was. There were many prominent men and women in each that from the surface were exactly the same as their counter parts in the other races.

One of those towns was Boley, Oklahoma (Wikipedia). To say it has seen better days is an understatement. But where many dozens of towns are just a burned out building here or there, Boley is still in the fight.

I would have loved to have seen this town in its hey day. To be there when they fought off Pretty Boy Floyd and his gang in 1932 would have been epic.

I ran out of places I’d never been just after Boley. I made my way to the more traveled of highways and made up some time to get home before dark. The leisurely pace was good for the pocket book too. I averaged 16 miles per gallon on the way home. Not bad! Imagine what it would have been if I had a transmission that didn’t slip in fourth and some new oxygen sensors.

This was another lengthy post, so first thanks for hanging in there with me this far.

I’ve received a few emails from folks this week looking advice and help finding other Land Rover services. I am always happy to help when I can. I’m thinking positive thoughts for Casey in California and Tom in Maryland, I hope you both can get your Range Rovers back on the road in short order.

And lastly, Land Rovers USA contacted me about a picture I posted to their Facebook page. They were very keen on it and want to use in an upcoming project. Keep and eye out for it.

Thanks for reading, thanks for writing, and Happy Rovering.

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