Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Buffalo, longhorn cattle and prairie dogs!

Except for our ride through the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and some excitement watching jets land and take off at Altus Air Force Base, today's 304 mile ride from Childress, TX to Durant, OK was all about straight roads through prairie, ranches, and agricultural areas.

We headed north from Childress, quickly crossing into Oklahoma. We quickly saw several large jets in the sky, and soon discovered that they were taking off and landing right over our heads as we rode through the town of Altus, home to the 97th Air Mobility Wing.

Not far east of Altus we turned onto a narrow 2-lane paved road that led to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The 59,000 acre wildlife refuge was established in 1901 to protect numerous species, including buffalo, Texas longhorn cattle, and prairie dogs. This area was never farmed, and the native mixed grass prairie frames the mountains.

The final part of our trip today took us on U.S. 70 east, which crosses over Lake Texoma, a 93,000 acre lake formed in 1944 by a dam on the Red River that marks the border between Oklahoma and Texas.

Living in the desert in Arizona, we're always excited to see rivers and lakes, and it was fun to ride across the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge and watch the boats on the lake.

We're spending the night in Durant, seat of the Choctaw Nation and founded by Dixon Durant, a Choctaw who lived in this area when the railroad came through in the 1870's. The past two nights we've stayed in towns also created by the railroad, and each night we've been close enough to the train tracks to hear the trains roar through during the night. Tomorrow we continue east into our 4th new state:  Arkansas.  Here is today's route

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