Red Flag Warnings: Oklahoma to New Mexico

Red Flag Warnings: Oklahoma to New Mexico

Red flag warnings are posted all the way from Oklahoma through Texas.

High Winds, Possible Fires!

We drove from the campground in Tulsa towards Oklahoma City and over the Arkansas River. You can see the skyline of Tulsa to the right, a big and impressive skyline!  The landscape changes from farms to ranches in Oklahoma, the speed limit increases to 75 MPH and signs of drilling for oil are everywhere.

Now, heading into Texas through the Texas Panhandle we zoom past miles of wind farms and cattle ranches. We are heading out of Texas and toward New Mexico as quickly as possible, our only stop at a convenience/gas stop in Shamrock, Texas for gas and water and a tiny break.

We are outside Amarillo, Texas before we see any houses or signs that people live here, but continuing through Amarillo on Route 40, we see every chain restaurant or hotel known to man. There’s also those chains not as well known to us easterners like Hobby Lobby, SteinMart, World Market, Jimmy Johns, Chick Fil A, and even organizations like Oral Roberts University.

We passed a huge, smelly beef processing plant – Quality Beef – with an enormous number of cattle penned up really tightly together by the highway…. phew, what a stench!

Now, passing by scorched earth and we see the Vega Texas Fire and Rescue trucks trying to control a fire. Due to the high wind conditions the RV only got 5.95 mph.  A tough ride in these windy conditions.

As we crossed into New Mexico the landscape changed from the flat grasslands of Texas to a more rolling landscape of scrubby brush, much greener and prettier.

We camped at Tucumcari KOA with of view of Tucumcari Mountain behind us and woke to some bright yellow American finches on our waterspout and two Guinea Fowls strolling the grounds.  The staff at the KOA cooked us a delicious breakfast before we left the next morning.

New Mexico calls itself “The Land of Enchantment” and I can feel the vibes in the air. I ask the young staffer at the KOA how he’s doing as I pass by him on my walk-around in the park.  “Freaking awesome” is his reply.

Yup, that seems to sum it up . . .  New Mexico, I like you already!

Oklahoma and the Cherokee Casino

Oklahoma and the Cherokee Casino

We drove all day today, through Missouri into Oklahoma trying to make up a day for an extra day we plan in Santa Fe. Parts of Missouri are beautiful but it is the land of millions of billboards. Tonight, we’ll stay at the Tulsa NE/Cherokee Casino/Will Rogers Downs KOA campground.

Apparently, Will Rogers was a native son of this area and is buried nearby.  He was a huge star in the 1920’s and 30’s and beyond.  “Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects” and “I’m not a member of an organized party, I’m a Democrat” were two of his famous witticisms that seem especially apt nowadays.

Tonight’s dinner was at the bar at the Casino run by the Cherokees. The staff was very nice there, but like most casinos I’ve visited the clientele was very sad-looking, very old, handicapped, obese, unhealthy looking, most of them were heavy smokers.  We had a great conversation with the pretty, young Cherokee bartender. She wants to travel and have her young son experience the benefits of traveling across the country and the world.

It was fascinating to be parked right next to the racetrack. We were able to watch the horses working out on the track the next morning, although we had missed the last race of the previous evening.

Hailing from Massachusetts, where there are some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, it was also a little startling to see the “No Weapons” signs posted on the door to the KOA campground. It would never had occurred to me that a campground catering to families would have to post a sign barring weapons from their property.

It’s very, very windy here with low humidity, very dry.

All throughout the night we heard sounds of small animals underneath the RV. When we woke we found chipmunk-like holes in the ground around us. Were they prairie dogs? Who knows?  We’d welcome any comments from those who are more knowledgeable than us.