Easter on the Oklahoma Adventure Trail

Previously! On the Travelogue…

Between Christmas and New Year’s 2017, we did the western half of the Oklahoma Adventure Trailwhich George also has a great write-up on. I think we were all surprised by how much we enjoyed Oklahoma sightseeing. It was a fun drive and went through some incredibly beautiful parts of the state.

Also through some little rivers which were cold and had ice chunks flowing through them…

Also did I mention it was so cold? It was so cold. Yes, that is the only hat I own.

Now that the weather is warmer, albeit rainier, and it’s been a whole three months, we’re itchin’ to finish the rest of the circuit.

OAT East

On Maundy Thursday, we’ll start back at Ladybug Cabin in Davis, on I-35 about half an hour north of the Red River. From there, we’ll set out west this time on a long road back to Tulsa by Easter Monday. There will be even less pavement on this half, and a lot more forestry as Eastern Oklahoma includes part of the Ouachita National Forest and gives a taste of the Ozarks in Arkansas and Missouri.

Evan has a write-up on the trip over at OppositeLock. The biggest appeal is the Kiamichi Trail (”K-Trail”) that stretches from Clayton, Oklahoma to Mena, Arkansas, which is entirely unpaved and largely unmaintained.

(Photo from Habitat Offroad, which also has a great write-up.)

It’s gotten some mixed reviews and runs through some areas of what is now private property, but, undeterred, George has detours in place to keep us out of the worst of the trouble (which the Internet calls “rednecks running at [the last group] with shotguns” and “boring, pin-striping hell”).

We’ll also stop at the Heavener Runestones, which isn’t so much a driving destination as a cultural oddity. Who knew, in a state so known for its First Nations populations, that there were also Scandinavian settlers dating back to the 19th century? Or at least, that’s the current theory on how these mysterious rock markings made their way to America’s heartland.

(Photo from EatSleepRIDE, with a great photo-dump and overview.)

We’ll also hit up a small part of the Talimena Scenic byway. A road Evan has attempted twice already but once time he got riotous food poisoning and the other time his Saab died. So, selfishly, I’m hoping third time’s the charm.

And of course, we’ll end up back at Frog Rock, which remains “just a rock” (inside joke after too much wine at the haunted winery). I’m lookin’ forward to this one. Regrettably, I was hesitant about the “scenic drive in Oklahoma” idea after spending too much of my life on Interstate 35 and the Turner Turnpike. But this time, I am all in.

Hopefully Evan can reconstruct the engine in the Land Rover in time.

Worth pointing out that we leave in two weeks and the Rover is still in pieces, but last night George and Evan put the engine back together. Unfortunately, over the weekend, Evan was testing the radiator for leaks with a pressure tester, which… may or may not have ruptured it. So that’s now been added to the to-do list…. He continues to chronicle over at OppositeLock, “Disco Inferno: Heads are on!

Disco Isn’t Dead

https://oppositelock.kinja.com/disco-isnt-dead-1823918403 Kinja has deleted its OppositeLock and Overland communities. Content Unavailable

Wow. He did it. The Disco lives!! Went for a little pre-OAT test drive at Whitewater Park below Keystone Dam last night.

Check out the latest from Evan over on Oppo:

https://oppositelock.kinja.com/disco-is-back-on-the-road-1824067401 Kinja has deleted its OppositeLock and Overland communities. Content Unavailable

Um. Unexpected brief change of plans. Surprise business travel to Portland! But I should be back to Oklahoma City in 34 hours, in time to meet the group in Davis at the Ladybug Cabin.

Meanwhile, OKC to PDX involved the briefest of layovers in Denver and this is just torturous. Look at the sky! Look at all that fresh powder! I’d love a snow drive, I wonder if it’s too late to amend the route…

Powell’s City of Books, the biggest bookstore I know of. Tucked into a little bag in the back of the photography section was a miniscule used book of haikus and black-and-white photographs of minivans.

Either this place is totally bonkers or I have a new super power: if I even look at a cross walk in this town, every car in sight screeches to a halt.

Taylor. Learning about pedestrians in Portland.

A Detour

Well I’m already on the road for OAT East, but half way to Davis, I got lost and ended up in Portland, Oregon. A quick work trip to help rally some troops with one of my favorite clients presented itself.

So my roadtrip began with a harrowing drive down the Turner Turnpike into Oklahoma City. As it turns out, none of the road paint is reflective anymore and half of it is still under construction (a permanent state for that highway, apparently). This wouldn’t be such a big deal but it was raining and misting and it was dark out. But I didn’t die and believe I have now completed the most dangerous part of the whole enterprise.


Flying out of Oklahoma City puts me closer to the start line when I get back tomorrow night and was also about $400 cheaper. It was a beautiful morning in the skies, and once we rose above the Oklahoma dreariness, we set course for the snowy expanse of Colorado in early Spring. There’s off-roading in Colorado, right? Maybe they could just meet me on layover in Denver?


I finished up work this afternoon at a coffee shop in downtown Portland just a few blocks away from the only bookstore I frequent: Powell’s Books, the largest independent bookstore in the world whose flagship Portland location houses over a million titles plus gifts and trinkets and art supplies of all kinds.


After my book tour, I headed down to the Southwest Waterfront district where I’m staying the night.


I suspect these digs are moderately fancier than what awaits us in southeast Oklahoma.


More meeting prep completed, I walked up the river to dinner at a Vietnamese place nearby. Portland has a perpetually temperate, quiet beauty that I always precipitate. I do hope our work with this client continues so I can use it as an excuse to come hang out.


After dinner I was walking back and discovered something glorious. Blue Star Donuts. I think the word “boutique” may apply, but the signage mocking social media gave me enough of an amused pause to lose all self-control. Among their varied offerings, The Mexican Hot Chocolate, replete with a dark chocolate, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper glaze over a chocolate cake donut. Send insulin.


I meandered back to the hotel through the shiny new buildings and cranes that have exploded through this relatively young district while ugly-eating my chocolaty prize.


Lots to be excited about for tomorrow. I love this client and the exciting opportunity we have with them. And when that meeting is over, I fly back to OKC and rejoin the group at the start line at the Ladybug Cabin in Davis.

In case anyone is curious, I have found a combination of “hotel iron that I thought was good but turns out to be kinda shitty” and “hopelessly creased pants” that will result in me looking like I was delivered to this meeting by Amazon Logistics.