Sunday, September 29, 2013

Carousing around Cooperrton

Well, perhaps carousing is too strong a word, since little actual carousal took place. Lest I get ahead of myself, let's start at the beginning.

It was a scooterifically perfect day. We could not resist, the siren call of the open road, the horizons yet unexplored and the opportunity to pursue something new.

Our steel and plastic ponies sat restively in the driveway. Scooterchick was getting the necessitos out of her trunk and preparing to saddle up. We were anxious to get on the road.

We had a stop to make first. A friend's father was in the hospital ICU, and we told her we would stop by and pray with and for him on the way, so that was our top priority.

We told the staff our reason for attending and they showed us right in.

On our way out I stopped and snapped a picture of the huge fish tank in the lobby. This is a nice facility, and our friend's dad is being well cared for here.

We stopped to get gas before we left town. My darling, having refueled is ready to head out already. Miss Helen had decided to come with us for the ride.

One of the great things about this location is that it was about 80F. today, lovely for riding and with the gas price at 3.18 per gallon, it didn't cost much to top up both of the scooters.

I see that the gas price in Squamish has recently dropped to $6.08/gal. I will ensure we top of our tank before coming across the border.

Along the way we stopped at a historical marker and I learned about the Cutthroat Gap Massacre. If you would like to know more here is some information.

We arrived in Cooperton OK, and found this large building. It is, or more correctly was, the Cooperton Valley Gymnasium. With a population of 16 it seems a bit ambitious. There are a total of 3 inhabited houses in town.

This is a stone building that at one time was the town bank. It is a small building and I have no idea how long it has been since it was used as a financial institution.

This is the interior of said building. After being used as a bank it was apparently used a a storage facility. There are a number of truck tires and a couple gas pumps off in the corner.

This gas pump has been out of service for decades. It appears that gas was
 $0.72 /gal when it was retired. It originally saw service on Farris Farms.

This building was adjacent to the bank. There are a couple Ford vehicles is various states of disrepair. The lawn tractor looks like it would run.

There are the remains of a Pecan orchard across the way. Due to lack of pruning and fertilizer it is now a forest of dead standing timber.

Here is a picture of Scooterchick and Miss Helen, jawboning about our next destination. We decided to start heading back to the ranch the long way around.

One last picture on the way out of Cooperton. This old building was at one time the town grocery store. You could see the old coolers still inside.

We headed back south on Hwy 54 and turned left on Hwy 49 towards the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Along the road we stopped to take a picture of these Rudbeckia, better known as Black Eyed Susan.

Another stop, another picture. These are the type of rocks which Patsy and I have always referred to as Dinosaur Poop. Must have been some big honkin' dinosaurs though when you think about it.

This is the sign at the northern edge of the refuge. This is a tract of land measuring 59,020 acres that was set aside in 1901. This is a little over 73 sq. mi.

On the left side of this picture, just past the bridge, you can see a small family of Longhorn Cattle. The old bull was just crossing the road as we came along, and we slowed, took the far edge of the other lane and idled past.

He paid no attention to we gnats, and I for one am glad because one swipe of his horns could skewer rider and machine effortlessly.

I have been riding past this ravine for 5 years and have always wanted to take pictures, but this is the first time I have had a chance to stop and do so.

At times the creek runs freely through here, but at this time of year it's pretty dry. After looking at the flat ground a little topography is nice.

One last ravine picture. In the foreground is Purple Prairie Clover.
It makes a nice contrast, with the shadows in the ravine starting to lengthen as we head for home.

We scooted home for a lovely Fish and Rice Dinner, whipped up in a trice by my darling Scooterchick. And so, sated and relaxed, I finish my post and bid you a very good evening.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Traipsing About the Countryside

We headed out for a bite this afternoon. Our destination was Chickasha, to try something different. When first we arrives, we found a second had store, so did a little browsing. We also found a lovely lake, Lake Burtschi which is a fishing lake built and maintained by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

We ended up stopping in a place called the Boomerang Diner which is a 50's style Diner. As soon as we came in I saw The King.....uhuh-uhuh-uhuh-uhuh. Apparently Elvis lives on at least in Chickasha!

The style was unabashedly 50's-60's. The food was handmade and delicious, if not particularly imaginative. My beloved had a Burger and Rings, as did Swee'Pea and I had Chili , Cornbread and Rings. The Chili was slamming, the Cornbread moist, but the real star of the day was generally agreed to be the onion rings. They were crisp, fresh and tasty.

I should have liked to show you pictures, but the food didn't last long enough to photograph. I was dispatched, rapaciously!!

The pie selection was extensive, although we were all too full to sample any...

As we were leaving, we came across a wall of buffalo. These beasts were thundering across the plain, or at least across the wall of a local bank.

The fall approaches, and the Pampas Grass if in full feather. They were simply luscious at the intersection of the main road and the bank.

We decided to return to Lawton by the back roads. Along the way, we passed through 4 small towns. Two of these we have introduced you to before, Fletcher and Elgin and this was our opportunity to acquaint ourselves with Cement.

This was the entrance to the town. It was more substantial than the town turns out to be. Cement has a whipping 530 people.

Three blocks down we came to the end of town, with the Cement Fairgrounds. It was as deserted as the rest of the town. We actually saw 5 people in Cement, though 3 of them were children.

On the way home we decided to stop and take pictures. This is Lake Elmer Thomas, which you have seen before, but not in fall.

We went up Mt Scott, which at 2,464 feet stands only 823 feet above the surrounding landscape, although with a flat landscape, 823 feet of prominence gives you quite a long view. This is a view of Lake Lawtonka, which supplies drinking water for Lawton and Fort Sill.

This is a view from a little higher up and encompasses the end of Lawtonka and Elmer Thomas. You can see the long view appearing.

This is approaching the top, another view of Lake Elmer Thomas. It is quite a bit more extensive than it looks from ground level.

The sun is beginning to set. There is a tree stump which has decided against all odds to pose alluringly for photos.

Here is the view looking south towards town .

I thought I should give another try to the Panoramic setting on my phone. This looking North West to North East. It is a marvelous vista especially at sunset.

Here are your friends, smiling in the evening glow.

Here are Scooterchick and Swee'Pea mugging for the camera. I think the shutter may have clicked a little prematurely.

This one seems better timed. They are smiling in unison this time.

As the sun sinks below below the western horizon, Dusk falls over the land and our time draws short. The colors can't really be satisfactorily captured with the lens. The colors are really rich and varied, as are most western sunsets.

The colors continue around the compass and tinge the horizon with pastel colors.

As the sunset fades, the colors deepen and a soft light falls over the landscape. The temperature has begun to cool, the breeze is freshening as it drops below 75F.

And so our day of traipsing comes to an end, and so sadly does this blog post. I bid you a pleasant good night.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

AChristoPat's European Vacation----The Return

We were up and packed by about 7:30. One last breakfast and it was time to take the luggage downstairs. This necessitated use of the "nearly smallest elevator in the world." I know I alluded to this in a previous post, but here again is another picture that illustrates the  miniature dimensions of the lift.

Here are your intrepid correspondents in front of a map of Prague getting ready to leave. The hotel staff have already called for our Taxi.

Our luggage made a neat well-behaved pile on the floor of the lobby.

This is Maxim, a very helpful front desk fellow. He was very useful for changing money, giving directions or just wishing us a good day.

We had heard in advance that the Hotel could arrange a ride to the airport. We were thinking Taxi, it turned out to be a Volkswagen Transporter, with a taciturn demented driver at the wheel. On several occasions I actually thought we were going off the road and once, we were inches from a mid speed collision with someone who was driving sanely.

Our "driver" dropped us off at Terminal 2 assuring us that this was the place we needed. We went inside and asked for BA check in and were informed British Airways only uses Terminal 1!

On our way I took note of a new regional airline which has popped up in Europe. It is very popular, but unfortunately named.

I don't know what their advertising slogan is but I can imagine something like "in a rush---take a Wizz".

On the long walk to the proper terminal, we came across a coin operated kiddie ride. While in North America we might see a pony , these folks had a coin operated Train, complete with track and an Indian Brave surveying the wide prairie.

I remember the abortive attempt which was made to market Skoda automobiles in Canada. It was about as successful as the attempt that was made to introduce Lada, another Czech made automobile.

Well it looks as though Skoda gets that last laugh. This is the Skoda Octavia Combi RS. It's a good looking piece of kit, and the fact that there are a large number on the road here, leads me to believe the have conquered their faults and are turning out a good product.

 Although this poster is about a week too late, we appreciate the sentiment. Thank you for that. Your welcome is  bye-bye!

We had arrived in good time for our flight to Britain and soon we were boarding for a flight which would be about 2 hours.

On the flight they served us something called a Chicken Tikka Wrap. it was the spiciest thing we ate the whole trip. It was smoking hot!!!

My beloved had a bit of a snooze and I divided my flight time evenly between listening to music and conversing with our seat mate, He is an American living in London who leads tours to the continent. Interesting chap.

Within a short time we were coming into London and descending into Heathrow with views over the Thames and London.

Another view over the Thames with the bridges of London visible. London has a population of a little over 8 million, so the metropolitan area would be about 11 million give or take.

Here is a picture of my beloved Scooterchick, on the bus that came to pick us up at the plane. A short ride to the terminal and then to find our connecting flight.

The bus we rode was crowded and  all the passengers swayed back and forth as the driver wound his way around turns and up to the terminal to drop us off.

Little did we know that we would be dropped off at the farthest end of Terminal three, while our next connecting flight departed from the very farthest gate of Terminal 1. Although we were intended to have a 2 hour layover, we had to pass through customs twice and passport control a further three times and we ended up having to jog to the departure gate. Although they have slide walks through the airport, it still seemed like quite a hike. We made our flight after the final boarding call.

They served us an interesting continental style dinner. There was a salad that was gone in 5 bites, a Chicken and Veg. Casserole, together with a Wheat Roll, Jacob's crackers, Vache Qui Rit Cream Cheese, Walkers Stem Ginger Biscuits (cookies) and Lescure Beurre des Charentes (although why the fact that the butter which came with my dinner comes from the Province of Charentes in France is pleasing to me I know not. It still is.)

I must admit, I cadged several more packages of the Ginger Cookies in flight.

Although the flight was long, we landed in Dallas on schedule pretty well and made our final flight to Lawton arriving at around 10:30.

We were exhausted. Having gotten up at 07:00 it was now for us about 4:30 in the morning. We slept like the dead, and awoke this a.m. much rested but a bit foggy in the noggin. So ends the Grand Adventure, and so ends this post. Good night all...