Southwest Oklahoma Expedition – January 2021 Part 1

I know this is a Land Rover site, and if you only tune in read about my exploits in my Land Rover, I understand if you don’t go any further…but I went out in my F150.

It’s been a weird year. You know that. I haven’t been able to get out and travel since last year. I have been remodeling the house, lots of funds tied up in that. Over the last year, Mrs. Okierover was tasked with taking care of her dad part-time and then full time as his age finally won the battle. We also had another grandson born. I don’t have to mention the pretty obvious elephant virus in the room. I started but had to abandon my latest Range Rover renovation project. I’ve had my Range Rover torn apart for more than a year now. So getting out has been, basically, impossible.

I know, I know, but I was “jonesing” for some windshield time. And since the only option I had was the 2014 F150 Lariat 4×4…I called my old co-pilot and bestest overland buddy, Mr. Fisher and told him we were getting out of town.

Mr. Fisher has recently purchase a new Chevy Silverado 4×4 pickup truck. And it had never been anywhere off the pavement (well maybe it had, but it’s not germane to the story, stay with me). So he was totally game to stretch its legs wheels. I told him we were going no matter what the weather was. #Hibernot and all that. Fortunately the weather was mild for January in Oklahoma. It wouldn’t have mattered. I planned a trip and nothing was stopping me.

So roughly here was the plan, attempt to dirt road down to the Southwest corner of Oklahoma. No maps, no “planning” as it might be described. Just go. It’s not like we were heading out across Africa. It’s Oklahoma with moderately well maintained county roads. So my planning was limited to campsites and meal planning. This would be a mistake later, but I won’t spoil the ending.

Day One Route

Day 1

We decided to start on Saturday of the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. We met at the Okierover Base Camp in Newcastle and headed for the turnpike. We took the turnpike to Wichita Wildlife Refuge and then took the surface roads to the opposite side and then the first random road we started the wandering toward the border.

Loveland Jail

We found ourselves in Loveland, Oklahoma (OkHistory.org) The jail was still standing. There is one just like it in Granite, Oklahoma.

Ravines near Loveland

The flat farmland began to become spotted by ravines the further south we found ourselves.

Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area

We didn’t take a lot of photos the first day as it turns out, I had no idea what we would encounter. As fate would have it we stumbled on the Hackberry Flats Wildlife Management Area. As an amateur birder this was a great treat. Several hundred species of birds manage to travel through here each year.

Hackberry Flats Platform

There was an observation platform about midway across. We went up. There were the remains of some unfortunate bird left there from one of the many raptors we had seen on the way. Mr. Fisher had a pair of binoculars and I turned them on the many birds. Most of the birds were too far away to identify. But we did see an eagle. Probably an immature Bald Eagle. The birds hanging around got well out its way when it took flight. The museum was closed so we headed on.

Gear Talk: I need a decent pair of binoculars.

Fun No Dumping Sign

We stumbled on this interesting scene. A “No Dumping” sign with a little devil hanging on the fence.

Rusty Truck Rotting Away

We also saw this rusty old truck rotting away in a cow pen.

This is where I made the classic “lack of planning” mistake. I didn’t zoom out the map, and believed that when the roads started getting closer to the Red River, I thought we were at the corner.

We were not. Not even close.

I missed it by 56 miles as the crow flies. Thankfully Mr. Fisher has a devil-may-care attitude and we took it in stride.

The day was getting long and I had planned for us to camp at Lake Hall. (TravelOK.com) I have never been to Lake Hall and wanted to get there before the sun set. So I swallowed my pride and got us back on the highways and headed quickly to Lake Hall.

As we got closer I did manage to get us a little dirt road time as we closed in on Lake Hall.

Southwest Corner of Lake Hall

Cooking

We pulled in to Lake Hall, found a suitable camping spot and began dinner. Bonus, there was no cell service at our camp on my ATT phone Samsung, while Mr. Fisher had 1 bar of service on his iPhone. While we listened to two Great Horned Owls chatting to each other I cooked our dinner. We also had a visit from a skunk. We never saw it, but we smelled it for nearly an hour before dinner.

Tactical Spork Ready for Action

Dinner 1st Night

  • Tenderloin and Sirloin Steak Medallions
  • Saute’d Red Potatoes
  • Yeast Rolls

Mr. Fisher added Iced Sugar Cookies and Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies. We had a few adult beverages including Boddington’s Ale (BeerAdvocate.com) and then Whisky for Mr. Fisher and Plantation Pineapple Rum (PlantationRum.com) for yours truly.

I found a recipe on the side of the Plantation Pineapple Rum bottle. [33.99$(US)] Reverend Stiggins Fancy 1824 recipe. According Charles Dickens the good Reverend liked his rum with 3 sugar cubes and a splash of hot water. Turns out, I do too.

Probably Whisky
Grizzly Adams-look Coming Along Nicely
Fire is Good When It’s Cold

I got a nice fire going, we needed it. It was turning cold. Thankfully there was no wind, but the temp dropped to a low 31F with very wet air. I needed a blanket on my shoulders as I soaked up the heat from our fire. We burned through all our wood and dragged some of the branches from the Great Ice Storm of 2020 into the fire to keep the conversation going.

The stars were out in force. You can see the Milky Way splashed across the sky.

Gear Talk: I don’t have the complete Modular Sleeping Bag System (MSBS) the military uses, but I also don’t sleep on the ground or in the open air. So I haven’t needed it yet. I’m sure if I needed to get to -50 degrees F, I can just add the second sleeping bag I bought and I’d be there.

I never really appreciated “remote start” until this trip. When you get in the vehicle, and are prepping your bedroll it’s kinda nice to fire up the engine, heat the cab up and then go to sleep. It also helps when you have a military grade zero sleeping bag with the extra external cover.

I think when I get the Big White Bus back on the road, it will have a remote start at some point. I also think with an added deep-cell second battery and a heated pad or blanket, I could sleep in a snow covered wonderland.

Pro Tip: Get a good sleeping bag if you are going to go out in the winter.

Or forget to bring yours, wear all the clothes you brought and sleep in the bucket seats like Mr. Fisher.

Total Miles Driven: 245 Miles

Total Time: 6 hours 32 minutes

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering Overlanding

2 thoughts on “Southwest Oklahoma Expedition – January 2021 Part 1

  • The unplanned route missed the goal yet created another trip. Gear for next time – communication upgrade. Thanks for the invite.

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