A pleasant drive home
As I've said before, driving home has always been an adventure. Well finally we got to adventure a bit. We were recently coming home from Denver through Southwest Kansas. A drive I highly recommend. Straight down Highway 83. This road is first, absolutely excellent. Smooth as a pool table. And secondly, it also is almost completely devoid of civilization. Well that's not really fair...it is very sparcely populated. Feed lots and cornfields and grazing land as far as the eye can see and then do it again.
Twenty-five miles south of Oakley is Monument Rocks Park What a great find! The only markers are the two signs and this lonely building. The building itself I'm sure has some great stories of this remote place. For as far as you can see around this place is wide open land. Just south of here is the farthest North and east the Taos Indians managed to set up a pueblo. The wind that day was being sucked into a building thunderstorm up north, at around 30 miles per hour with gusts to 40mph. It was a hot and very dry day.
I asked Janie if she was game and she said she was. So down the dirt road we started. It is a long 4 mile drive with only one turn if my memory serves me. Along the way we saw hundreds of dove. One of which was unfortunately unable to fly 50 miles per hour. And was thusly dispatched by the windshield, much to the chagrin of my wife. I tried to tell her it was a really big grasshopper. But she said, "if it was, the grasshoppers have beaks and feathers up here."
We continued to the crossroad and headed south. This section of road was a bit rougher and I slowed it down to 30mph. We crossed two cattle guards that my wife wanted to know about. Funny all those years of living in Norman and Noble and she didn't know what a cattle guard was....that's why I love her. When we had almost traveled the two miles the vista opened up to reveal this site. It was amazing to see them just sitting out there. We were still a good mile or more away at this point. A bit further we passed some pink bluffs off to the North I had to stop on the way back to the highway and take a picture. We drove right on down to the rocks and right up to them. There were no signs, no parking lots, nothing. We later learned these rocks were on private land that was named a Natural National Monument. Awesome was all I could say. They were formed from sediment and prehistoric fossils from when this land was covered by and ocean. The Scott River had once run through here and had eroded way the soil and sediment to reveal these features.
I promptly took the obligatory wife in the keystone picture and the intrepid explorer picture. We then looked around for a few minutes and decided to drive over to the unoffical Group 2 located southeast of the first group. Here I took the the obligatory vehicle near the pillar picture. It is a really great side trip. We didn't fiddle around too long as we weren't sure of the intentions of the storm and we wanted to make the Oklahoma Panhandle by nightfall. On the drive out we saw a roadrunner and a small hawk. Who was thankful of the Disco as she was dining on the dove we hit on the way in. Ah, the circle of life. Janie felt better about that as I explained to her that that particular hawk was slow of mind and would have starved to death, leaving a nest of hungry baby hawks without a mommy if we hadn't come along and killed that dove for it. Okay I made the last part up about the baby hawks. But I did say for the record, "ah, the circle of life".
We continued on south and finally made it into the panhandle where we were amazed at the number of jackrabbits. We also saw a great horned owl of enormous size. He was thankful we had just illuminated the two dozen rabbits lounging by the highway. The circle of life once again.
Our last encounter was with mule deer. I was surprised at their size. Just as Janie was asking me if driving 80mph was a good idea on an unfamiliar dark, winding, highway in the middle of nowhere without cellular phone coverage, we tipped a hill and I just caught the two mule deer crossing the highway in front of me. I was able to get us slowed down and avoided them without leaving the road surface. A testiment to my awesome driving skills and the amazing ability of asbestos pads rubbing very very very hard on metal discs.
As my blood pressure returned to normal I was wishing I was back in Fado's Irish Pub with a pint of Boddington's in my hand and my best gal by my side. We made it home late that night after driving through the varied farmlands of western Oklahoma.
Here are some high resolution images.
Update: Janie is medically fine. We had all manners of tests run on her and believe the attacks are due to her taking Zocor for her high cholestrol. We're going to switch medications and see how that works.
Thanks for reading and happy Rovering.