Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Guest Star Day: Oklahoma!

We decided to take a short road trip this past weekend. You know, before the weather gets too cold. It was a blistering twenty degrees when we set out, so our timing was perfect.

Which way to go? Blizzards in the north, freezing temps in the east, and we've been west on several occasions. Okay, south it is, by default. We tossed clothes, snacks, and blankets into the back of the Big Red Beast and headed for Oklahoma.

Typical mundane family travel conversation followed.

"Where's the map?"

"This looks like a nice town. Let's get out and walk around."

"Please more cranbaby bites, Mama!"

We saw Grand Lake, Lendonwood Gardens, and any number of interesting buildings. I snapped a picture of the sign outside of the Disney Assembly of God church. "M-I-C... See you in Sunday School!"

Okay, so that's not exactly what went through my mind, but this is a famiy show.

Darkness landed with an audible thump, so we rented a hotel room near Vinita and learned that a thirty-pound toddler is capable of taking up an entire king-sized bed. I'm not kidding; Junior sleeps like an eggbeater. We two grownups spent the night clinging to the edges and protecting our kidneys from flying feet.

The next morning, we stumbled out into the frosty breeze and headed for the highlight of our trip: the Oklahoma Tallgrass Prairie. Being volunteers at the Kansas counterpart, we wanted to check out our comrades in conservation.

Signs at the entrance to the 39,000-acre preserve give dire warnings about the hazards of open range territory. "It is illegal to drive off the county roads. Bison are dangerous. Do not approach. Loose bison!"

Okay, we figured. We'll keep our eyes peeled, and maybe we'll see one of these loose bison.


We drove along, admiring the scenery. Ooo, look at the view! Ahh, look at the trees! Wow, look at the HOLY HEART FAILURE, BATMAN!!

We sat openmouthed as about fifty huge, shaggy brown bison ambled across the road, directly in front of our vehicle. They had no reason to fear us. Bison can jump six feet, vertically or horizontally. They can run thirty-five miles per hour. They are very, very big.

Naturally, my husband wanted to hop out and take pictures.

"Are you nuts? Didn't you mom warn you about loose bison?"

We continued through the open range, stopping every mile or so to admire another family group of the preserve's 2,700 bison. We were greeted at the ranch house/gift shop with smiles and pamphlets, and we left with a stack of postcards and a promise to return. We got home just in time to miss the snow that smacked into Kansas City, and hustled into the house to sort laundry and souvenirs.

I have pictures. Would you like to see them?

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