More Bears? (Post #578) 5/9/2018


When did bears become a thing in the first place?

Actually I’ve known the bears were back for a few years. We were down in southeast Oklahoma around 10 years ago and all the trails had bear warnings.

These aren’t grizzly bears, they aren’t even brown bears, they are black bears. Think of them as smaller man-sized bears that, like there ferocious cousins, will kill you if you are stupid. Imagine the scene from The Revenent but the bear is smaller.

When in bear country, read that as Oklahoma and Arkansas, you should always take bear precautions. As always keep your food up high, make plenty of noise when hiking trails.

Apparently there are many misconceptions about bears. Some people think taking a selfie is a great idea. There was a recent news story about a bear enthusiast who was killed along with his girlfriend while trying to take a selfie with a grizzly bear. I call that natural selection at work. It’s just dumb.

In the unlikely event a bear charges to attack, you should aggressively fight back against the bear, according to the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Do not attempt to “play dead” during a black bear attack, the agency says.

Good to know. I’m pretty sure after fighting a bear for 5 to 15 minutes I might appear to be “playing dead” but trust me I’m laying down because I’m out of shape and need a rest. I may have also run out of bullets. Maybe I will give a class on defending yourself from a bear attack by fighting like a rabid ninja turtle.

That quote from above is from KFOR who posted a news story about the increasing population of bears in Oklahoma. The heat map is a good start but be aware if you are on a river bed you can encounter bears.

Mountain Lions and Big Cats

I for one am much more afraid of our mountain lion population in Oklahoma. They have been seen all over the state, even in semi populous areas like the South Canadian River south of Norman and north of Newcastle Oklahoma. I recently saw the carcass of a small mountain lion in the median of highway 62 a mile and a half north of the river. I emailed the Oklahoma Wildlife Department and it was gone the next day. The OWD has had a stance in the recent past the denied the existence of big cats in Oklahoma. It’s hard to deny when you hear one at night.

So if the ice storms, tornados, earthquakes, prairie fires, bears, and mountain lions don’t get you, feral hogs just might.

Don’t even get me started on Bigfoot!

To wrap up,

  • bear selfies are a “hard no”
  • take bear precautions when camping east of I35 and up near Black Mesa
  • while less likely to be encountered, mountain lions are out there and they will mangle you too
  • feral pigs have a mean streak a mile wide and there is no daily limit

I feel better that I have provided this very valuable public service announcement.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering

A Long Drive for Nothing (Post #531) 3/16/2015

Southwestern Regional Rendezvous

It turned out to be a long drive for nothing. My goal this past weekend was to go to the Southwestern Regional Rendezvous in Leslie, Arkansas. I went. But I didn’t stay.

It was a 5.5 hour drive to Leslie, Arkansas from Norman, Oklahoma. About an hour into the drive it started to rain. It rained from Shawnee all the way to Leslie. When I got to Leslie I found the event. I pulled into the lot that was passing for a parking lot.

Continue reading “A Long Drive for Nothing (Post #531) 3/16/2015”

#Hibernot (Post #439) 1/28/2014

What a great bit of advertising. I love the dog not moving when called with that, “I’m not getting back in the truck” defiance and little girl at the end trudging on behind her mum. Where do I get a #Hibernot bumper sticker? I’m all in.

I first saw this video on the Hooniverse website. I snagged this snippet from Land Rover UK’s website explaining Hibernot (Land Rover UK).

Winter. Hibernate? No Chance. #Hibernot

#Hibernot is about embracing the British winter, about enjoying winter in all its glory.

Explore what other people have been getting up to, tell us what #Hibernot means to you and search #Hibernot trails in your local area.

Doesn’t that make you want to go out in the 30 mile per hour winds with 48 mph gusts and experience the -10 F wind chill of the southern plains circa January 26th? Well no. But it does make me want to take my Land Rover somewhere remote and get out and enjoy, if only for an hour, the crisp clean air of winter and the sting of winter cold. The sting that reminds you of February, 1987 the winter that you stood in knee deep water running barbed wire for Dr. Kammerlocher. The sting that reminds you of the weekends you stood on the back of a M110 howitzer in freezing rain while serving your country in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. The sting that reminds you of camping with your friends (just for the fun of it) in period clothing from the 1750’s on the the Javine Farm near Barnsdall, Oklahoma when it dipped to 12 F overnight. The sting that reminds you of the cold air and snow down on the river below the dam at Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas when you took Mrs. Okierover on her first camping trip in 2013. Simply, hell yes.

Hibernot means not shunning exposure the elements, but embracing them. You would not know winter if you did not have summer. If sweat had never run down your brow while you were standing in the 120 F heat of the high desert of 29 Palms, you could never appreciate the winter blizzards on the southern plains.

We will never be as “hard” as we thought we once were back in our youth. We will never be as foolhardy again either. So get out and enjoy the winter. Get out and let the snow or cold rain fall on you with a “devil may care” (Idiom) attitude. Then get in your Land Rover, turn on the heater, and if they still work your heated seats, and drive to a coffee house or diner and get a warm drink, then drive home remembering the good old days.

Toby Keith said, “I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was.” (Youtube video)

Get out and enjoy your old self.

Thanks for reading, Happy Rovering, and Hibernot.

Hot Springs, Arkansas (Post #373) 8/5/2013

Mrs. Okierover picked Hot Springs, Arkansas for a short vacation this summer. As you may recall last year’s vacation was a 3900 mile jaunt to Glacier National Park. This year we decided to do something closer to home. Hot Springs is just a six hour drive if you pick the scenic route. Surprisingly Diet Mountain Drew made it almost an hour into the drive before he was asleep.

The drive in was not the one I planned. After a couple of wrong turns, the GPS was employed. The device had us driving all the way down to Broken Bow, Oklahoma and back up to Hot Springs. Not the prettiest drive.

As we turned northerly we watched the thunderheads rise and an impressive cloud to cloud lightning display. This only meant one thing, we would have some serious weather to drive through. It manifested itself in sheets of rain that double speed wipers were only just able to keep up with.

We followed what I figured was a local-yokel as he seemed to know the blind turns in the rain better than we. As we finally cleared the storm, we looked back to see he only had one headlight working. How he was able to see in that deluge was truly a mystery.

Our first day was a lazy day for the Mrs. and I. We took Diet Mt. Drew and his girlfriend to a water and theme park for the afternoon. We napped.

Day two we decided to rent a party barge and go tubing on Lake Hamilton.

El Capitan

Painful for my back, Mrs. Okierover found it therapeutic for hers.

Me and the Mrs.

That was a pretty good time.

We spent the rest of the day at Garvan Woodland Gardens. There was an art exposition of glass.

It was pretty. It was humid. Think Central American jungle humid with zero wind. We wandered around and enjoyed the quiet woods and gardens until the mosquitoes started in on us.

We ended the day with Pirate Cove Mini Golf. Your’s truly won by two strokes over Sadie, with Mrs. Okierover third and Diet Mt. Drew finishing last. A good time was had by all.

We spent our 24th wedding anniversary driving home. This time I had the route planned for some scenic driving. We skirted the lakes heading west out of Hot Springs and eventually made it to Highway 1 in Oklahoma. This is the Talimena Scenic Byway. This road is most popular in Autumn when the leaves are changing. It is truly a great drive. It is very popular with the motorcyclers.

When these vast stretches of timberland came up for auction only one bid was made. The National Park Service paid 1.42$(US) an acre. The land had been raped by forestry companies for years with absolutely no conservation effort made what-so-ever. Their operations consisted of showing up and running a rail line to the milling site. A boom town almost always followed. They would cut until it was no longer profitable and load everything back on the train and pull out. when they were through, it was a land of bare eroding hills, pock marked by fires and of little or no value.

On our way into the park, we came across this road side memorial to John F. Kennedy. It seems he was there to dedicate the opening of Highway 259 in October of 1961. There is a connection to the Knights of Columbus that I’m sure has more to it than the fact they asked him to come and they paid for the monument.

We stopped at Treats and Treasures in Talihena for lunch. Its an old fashioned soda fountain with a gift shop in the front. For the little town of Talihena it is a nice little place in downtown. I could retire to a town like this.

Ratty old gas station. I love it.

We got pulled over for speeding in Hartshorne, Oklahoma. It was a 45mph zone and I was probably going 60mph. I slowed down to 55mph when I saw the cop. He pulled us over and asked for my license. He said I was going “a little fast” back there. He then asked to see our insurance and asked if we were heading home. I was polite and answered all his questions with a “yes sir”. It took Janie quite a while to find the insurance form. I think he finally got frustrated with us and told me to slow down and let us go. He was respectful and very polite. I was impressed. He did have more tattoos than I’ve ever seen on a cop. If I were to guess, he saw the Marine Corps sticker, and hat and having served himself somewhere, he let us go. That’s my first pull over in over 10 years of speeding driving.

We continued on and turned north to Eufaula and then down Highway 9 to home.

It was a good weekend and we were glad to be home.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.