Day 22: Heaped on high horizons

Liberal, KS to Clayton, NM

Loving the freedom of this trip. The freedom to go wherever I want.

In the OK Panhandle
Grain elevator, Guymon, OK

Back in Oklahoma, stopped at a coffee shop, Urban Bru, in the tiny Panhandle town of Goodwell. When I got there, there were a few young men customers, one wearing a cowboy hat. The barista was really nice and let me stay a long time and use the wifi to do yesterday’s post.

Went to the No Man’s Land Historical Museum, also in Goodwell. Beautiful and tranquil outside. Seth Hammond, a docent, gave me a long disquisition on the history of the area.

Facts about the Oklahoma Panhandle I got from wall text:

The Panhandle is semi-arid. Despite looking flat, it slopes upward from 2,000 feet to almost 5,000 feet from east to west. Its land area is 8% of Oklahoma’s area but it has less than 1% of the state’s population. Mainstays of the Panhandle economy are agriculture, stockraising, and oil and gas production. Its population was 30,000 in 1980. Population density of the entire state is 44 people per square mile, while density of the Panhandle counties is: Beaver Co. 4, Texas Co. 9, Cimarron Co. 2. Annual rainfall is 15-20 inches, most in late spring and summer.

The museum is basically a storehouse of stuff of varying interest. I love railroad history and there was some of that.

I drove to the CO-KS-OK tripoint. Some of that time, I was driving on a dirt road following the KS-OK state line. The last 8 miles were dirt road.

I was excited to find the tripoint marker. It’s a small black disk set right into the road. Paved here, so no one steals it.

Marker at the CO-KS-OK tripoint
My car, Large Marge, parked at the tripoint (I named her that because her license plate is P56 LGE)

The tripoint was great, but it was after that my troubles began. I could have just backtracked the 8 miles but instead I foolishly let Google route me. It led me on a merry way onto one dirt road after another. Finally, it led me to one that was so bad and so uneven and went through a farmer’s field that I couldn’t take it and I had to backtrack. Then my phone fell under the driver’s seat and I had to look for it. Luckily I had a pen light. Then, just using GPS and the map, I found my way back to a paved road. Whew! When something goes wrong on a trip I call it a “travel story” and this definitely was one. Lesson learned: Always check the directions before starting. And for Pete’s sake do what makes sense.

On emerging from that nightmare, I drove to Boise City, OK (without Google navigation).

A “car wash” in these parts isn’t the same as one where I live. Here, it’s self-service. You put four quarters in, and use a powerful wand to first soap, then rinse, your car. Then you just drive it into the sun to dry it. You can buy a cloth for more quarters. I gamely did it.

Visited the Cimarron County courthouse.

Clouds, Boise City, OK
First State Bank, Boise City, OK
Cimarron County Courthouse (built 1928), Boise City, OK

Entered New Mexico, state #18 for the trip. (I went there due to the lack of hotels in the OK Panhandle.)

Motel painted turquoise. Because we are in New Mexico!

I crossed into Mountain Time and gained another hour. Drove to my hotel in Clayton.

The title of today’s post is a quote from “The Idea of Order at Key West” by Wallace Stevens.

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