Southwest Oklahoma Expedition – January 2021 Part 2
If you missed Part 1, jump over to that post and catch up (the link is after the break). Or don’t, this is still a free country, more or less, depending on who you ask. What follows is Day 2 of the Great Southwest Oklahoma Expedition! See there, this trip just got more awesome the more we drove!
We rolled out with the sun coming up. It was chilly.
Gear Talk: I’m so glad I refurbished my dad’s old Coleman 425c stove. My dad bought it in the early 1960s, before I was born. It is easy to use, works well, and adds that little bit of nostalgia to every trip.
Pro Tip: Cook breakfast. Life is too short to unwrap a breakfast bar and drink cold drinks for breakfast. These things have their time and place, but a warm breakfast is always welcome.
- Breakfast sausage
- Eggs (three each)
- Yeast rolls
- Hot chocolate
Mr. Fisher passed on the hot chocolate. His loss. It was yummy. I’ll bring creamer next time and make it extra special. Not ridiculously high in calories (160 with out creamer), super yummy.
Gear Talk: I watched an episode of 4XOverland by Andrew St. Pierre White on his YouTube channel. (He’s the bloke we all want to be.) This episode, TOURER vs OFF-ROADER, is a pretty good video if you are building your rig. But at the 22:37 mark he begins talking about the “Travel Buddy Camp Oven”, (12-24voltovens.com.au) a small oven they added to their Aussie Dream Tourer. He said it changed the way they plan for meals. For 215$(US) you too can have warm bread at every meal. I’m not sure I want to pull the trigger on that just yet. But it got me thinking.
Normally I’m a “see how little gear you can bring and still stay comfortable” kind of guy. But after having warm bread at dinner the first night and breakfast the next day. I’m may be looking for some sort of metal hot box for warming bread or making biscuits. Who doesn’t love a little sheet metal work?
Our destination for Day 2 was Red Rock Canyon State Park in Hinton. My friend Gared Findley frequents this park and it was my hope we would be able to camp with him. He has a 4 door Jeep thingy, I don’t know the Jeep nomenclature for his rig. It’s got all the right parts though. He also has a custom built trailer, which kicks butt. Unfortunately he was working that weekend so it was not to be. If I ever do see him camping, rest assured, I’ll give a full report on that trailer.
I’ll warn you now, this post has lots of pictures and a few videos. So if your 9600 baud modem isn’t getting a good connection, you might have issues viewing the post.
We left our campsite and headed east. Unfortunately the further east you go from the Texas/Oklahoma border, the more “people-ly” it gets which also means more pavement and less dirt roads. I tried to keep us on the dirt as much as possible.
Also, you are driving through the cotton belt of Oklahoma when you are in the Southwest part of this great state. An interesting observation is how much cotton is left behind after the cotton harvesting machine of your choice passes through the field. Being generally problem solving/process improving sorts, we surmised that multiple conditions could contribute to this. Perhaps it was wet the day they harvested, quality of the machine, and or type of cotton being harvested.
We needed some petrol so we headed straight for the little towns east of Lake Hall. (Oklahoma Department of Wildlife) None had a gas station. So we jumped on the highway and headed for Mangum. We gassed up and headed east straight into the Quartz Mountain area. I only saw three or four places I would definitely move into if I could.
We stumbled on this place sheltered from the south by a huge mound of rock. He’s got a little of everything there. Looked like he was really working on them too and not letting them just rust away in a field like so many other people with the mindset, “I’m gonna fix that up one of these days.” 10 years later its a rat condo.
We stumbled on this very fancy storm shelter. It looks well built. But what was missing was any indication there was ever a house or barn anywhere near it. Evidence tornados are common.
It was still Christmas in this spot near Babbs, Oklahoma. We found this tree still sporting most of its decorations.
I really liked this house. It was pre-electricity as there was no pole with a meter anywhere on the house. I bet for a 100 thousand dollars you could make this a nice weekend home away from it all.
As we were wandering around, the map had this road marked. Any road that looks like this has got to be fun. So off we went. At the far end there was a “Road Closed” sign and a bridge dropped into the creek to go with it. I wonder which 100 year flood took out this bridge?
We found a lot of roads like this. Freshly graded. Several of the “paved” roads we traveled on were worse going than the smooth dirt and gravel we found on some others. I actually apologized to Mr. Fisher for one such road we traveled on. It was terrible. Driving in the ditch wasn’t any better. Paved washboard.
This road near Corn, Oklahoma was interesting. I’m sure the civil engineer said, “It’ll be just as expensive to go around.”
Some roads looked like that had some promise to be fun. I imagine if this was wet it would more of a challenge. Some of the roads we rode on the first day would have been nearly impassable during a plains rain storm. Some had some impressive ruts.
This cow didn’t make it. That’s an expensive loss when you can only run a few dozen per section. We didn’t see any many burros out west. Adding a burro may have helped keep the coyotes away.
Caught is Roadrunner doing his thing on the side of this embankment. The only coyotes we saw were shot and left on the side of the road.
My favorite rock structure on this trip. No filter, that’s what color they are.
I was really hopeful this was not a dead end. It turned out to have a single house and an oil field gate across the end of the road. The road down to the oil well would have been fun, lots of winding and switchbacks.
Mr. Fisher took some videos. I’m going to drop them here. They aren’t fancy and not too exciting. But he took them because I asked him to.
You can see the dust coming up in the last video. There were times that Mr. Fisher would drop back half a mile or more due to the dust. Especially on the granite gravel roads. Based on the wind direction he could be in zero visibility if he was up close.
Pro-tip: When you are the lead vehicle its good to stop or slow way down when you make an unexpected turn on a road. Let everyone catch up. If you are 3 or 4 vehicles deep and the dust is quite bad you might lose someone. And its not terribly fun to breathe or stare at dust and miss the scenery all day.
Gear Talk: I bought a couple of FRS radios a few years ago. I didn’t test them before we went on this trip. The batteries would not hold a charge and the radio would cut off after you talked. They are now in the trash. Gonna be looking for some new ones.
Red Rock Canyon
The sun was getting low in the sky and I turned us hard for Red Rock Canyon. I had reserved a spot for us during the week 15$(US). They weren’t all that concerned about where we parked. There were lots of pull behinds of various sizes. We even saw a REAL overlander with a very nice adventure trailer. It still had the dealer sticker on it. The size of the roof top tent on that trailer was impressive. They stopped a couple of camps over, but moved after it got dark. I thought they may have left, but they only moved to a different site. We thought about going by for a visit but decided not to. I snapped this pick on the way home.
We got the fire going first thing. The drop in temperature was immediate when the sun went down. We had a slight breeze too and that was making this quite a chilly night. There was lots of damage from the ice storm. There was no need to bring firewood as there was plenty to cut up. I failed to bring my bow saw. Note to self, put one in the on board kit.
Mr. Fisher had chicken taco/burritos planned for us. We also had nacho cheese for dipping. I put the jar in a pan with boiling water. That reduced the viscosity nicely and we enjoyed chips and nacho dip along with our chicken burrito/tacos.
- Pre-Seasoned Spicy Chicken Breast
- Black beans
- Tortillas (burrito size)
- Nacho cheese sauce
- Tortilla chips
- Iced sugar cookies
I again had several cups of hot chocolate. And I had about 2 drinks of my Plantation Pineapple Rum before I adjusted my blanket and spilled it all over me. As Mr. Fisher noted, “You spilled more run than you drank this trip.” Indeed I had. I spilled half my cup on the first night as well.
Gear talk: Chairs and camp furniture. Mr. Fisher has a nice camp chair (visible in the picture of dinner) that even has a little side table built in. Quite handy. I am using my ARB chair (also visible). I won a gift certificate to purchase these when we went to SCARR 2016. They are pretty comfortable and have been durable. However, they have no place for my drink or phone or plate of food. I will need to think about getting something small to serve this purpose. If it served two purposes it would be better. So I’ll be looking for something for my next trip.
We were able to get the NFL playoff games on satellite radio and listened to the games on a Bluetooth speaker while we setup camp and finished off the night. We sat around the fire and chatted like we always do. It was great to be out with Mr. Fisher. It had been a while since we could go anywhere. We’ve both had new grand babies born since the Covid took over everyone’s life. Remodeling your house and traveling to see the new grandbabies takes precedence over trips for fun as Mrs. Fisher and Mrs. Okierover will quickly point out.
Total Miles Driven: 180 Miles
Total Drive Time: 6 hours 5 minutes
We both got up with the sun and headed home. I think next time I will be lazier and let the sun get a little higher in the sky. Driving east for 2 hours looking into the sun was mostly unpleasant.
Locations for all the pictures can be found in this linked file (.TXT file from Okierover.com) if you are interested in finding them yourself. I didn’t map this trip. I’m sure Google did though. If I can figure out how to get it into an exportable format I may upload it as well.
Until next time, thanks for Reading and Happy