After the hawk flying event on Saturday I finally got to meet Rose, who had sorted out mu RV accomodation in the beautiful Sequoyah State Park, along with her husband Lance. They took me on a bit of a tour around the area surrounding Wagoner, including going to see Route 66 iconic attraction The Blue Whale at Catoosa. It is pretty run-down, and very eccentric. I was amused to find out that a guy had built it as an anniversary present for his wife! She must have beeen thrilled!
That evening I drove down to Muskogee where Bob was working with his hawk Valkyrie at the Muskogee Castle Haunted Halloween Festival. I didn’t really know what to expect, but was amazed and amused at the huge event. The “castle” is an elaborate reconstruction of a medieval castle and village, filled for Halloween with a huge staff in both period costume and Halloween makeup. It was lit by fairy lights, and was really busy, filled with families having a frightful time! I sat for a while with Bob, and he took me to Domus Horrificus, a dark indoor maze peopled by all sorts of horrors – great fun!
I stayed overnight again at the State Park, and after some more hawk flying the next morning I set off for my next destination, in the Oklahoma farming area to the north-east of Oklahoma City. Oklahoma has the most drivable miles of the original Route 66, and I managed to get off the Interstate and follow the original route, taking my time and soaking up some of the atmosphere.
Sue and I had emailed back and forth several times during the past few months, and I was looking forward to seeing some of the farming lifestyle, of which I really have very little previous experience.
Sue and Nancy live on an 80 acre farm where they raise dairy sheep and goats organically, selling some for meat, but planning to produce cheese in the near future. One fascinating aspect of their farming method is the use of Italian-bred Maremma dogs, which live permanently within the flock and protect the sheep from coyotes and bobcats.
My farm visit was great fun, and activities that Sue and Nancy consider work were completely new experiences for me. I got to move bales of hay with a tractor, ride around on quad bikes, and got to shoot a 12-guage pump-action shotgun, both buckshot and slugs (which has a heck of a kick!), and do some target shooting with a .22 rifle. Buying the ammo was an eyeopener – just go to the local supermarket and look for the huge display of guns – no ID required to buy ammo!! I was pretty pleased with my targets, with most of the shots being within the two centre circles of the targets (although we weren’t really that far away from them!)
A huge thanks to Sue and Nanc for being such fun hosts, and for offering such a wonderful opportunity to try out some fantastic new experiences.
And today is a pretty interesting day in America, as it is Election Day (you may just have heard something about this?) Everyone is very excited, and Sue was up and off first thing this morning to get her vote in. Whichever way it goes, there seems to be a real feeling of history-in-the-making today.