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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Friday, March 18, 2016

News From the Rip van Winkle Twins!

Cannot believe it possible but we both slept almost 12 hours last night! Of course, Bill went to bed at his usual 8pm and I, at 10:30, but we slept like logs. He had to wake me up at 9:30 or I would have slept longer. He is still using his inhaler and is quite congested sounding but we seem to be past those horribly exhausting choking-coughing fits. I took no meds last night other than my last prednisone and took a Musinex D this morning just in case, since there is still some stuff there. We have been traveling surprisinly uniform mileage; 258 mi two days ago, 258 mi yesterday and 259.3 mi today. Could not have managed planning that if we tried. Just seemed to work out that way as we've picked our next destination, but it is good, because it is pretty much Bill's limit before he is dead tired again. Today was overcast and in the mid 30's all day. We traveled right along the Kansas border on roads in the West that were as straight and level as any in Kansas or Nebraska. Leaving Guymon on 54 headed toward Liberal, Ks we turned eastward on 64 in Hooker and just drove straight ahead toward Blackwell. Lots of small towns, cattle and historical signs along the way. At Hodges site just couldn't resist taking a shot of the dirt track running next to the sign. Guess you could still run some buffalo hides up to Dodge or some ammo back down to the Texas Panhandle on it--if it is what remains of the trail--lol Continuing eastward the land started to get more interesting with rolling hills and nice comforting convolutions --reassuring should there be a tornado on the horizon. All the advisories tell you to get low to the ground in a gulley etc and cover your head. Well, before Forgan, there is no low anything--the earth is as level as the road is straight--but here there are at least deep dips and hills --not that I ever want to see a tornado anywhere near me. A favorite town was Gate--maybe a block long with several artificial facades drawn on delapidated buildings. I imagined the town fathers saying we've got to find something for these kids to do--no TV reception, no cell service, no movies, no video games--my God they'll be fornicating in the back of the pick-up---let's get them painting those buildings with murals. Afterwards we can all gather in Laurie's Cafe--the best cafe in town--that's what it said--of course, I didn't see any other cafe in town. That's Gate--a small town with a great sense of humor. Making the buildings pretty in case folks from Vt happen to pass through! Our next historical markers should be viewed when traveling from East to West, since, rather than entering Old No Man's Land we were leaving. Continued through Buffalo which still is and Charleston, which is not. It is always interesting to cross paths with someone like Nathan Boone, whose path we crossed in Texas when he was on this same mission but since he was traveling North and we were traveling West, we never have seen exactly how he went --but every so often, there's a sign that he passed this way--lol Eventually, we arrived at Alva. This was our western most point on the trip when we lost the Cobalt in Tulsa. It was somewhere along the road from Blackwell to Alva that we received the call from the insurance company telling us the Cobalt was a total loss. Haven't been back to this part of Oklahoma since then. It is in this area that route 64's layout was handed over to a drunken sailor--I've never seen a route number do such strange things as this one. Fortunately, if one continued straight--just straight--11 continues straight, straight to Blackwell, so let 64 go staggering wherever it wants to go--we are headed for Blackwell. It is in this area that the Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Phillip Seymour Hoffman pix about tornado chases was made. Just outside Alva there is an interesting wildlife refuge along the Salt Branch of the Arkansas River--large salt flats all along the roadside. Bill was beginning to flag and Blackwell was still an hour away so I didn't ask to linger but I'd sure love to explore this area some time. Very unique looking. All day the sky looked like pearly gray and opal above either dry yellow stretches of prairie or emerald green pasture land. In its own eerie, atmospheric way, very beautiful. After Blackwell, a quick turn south on 77 leads to 14th st in Ponca City and our home away from home for the next two nights. There is a Prairie Woman Museum I'd like to explore--thank you, Ruth, for the name of the book--going to look for it here or one like it. I'll tell you, I'd go mad today in this isolated place--how ANY of those women retained their sanity is beyond me. It probably helped to have 12 kids--kept one busy and gave you someone to talk to. By the time you fell exhausted into bed, sleep must have come easily. We were going to head to a steakhouse several miles down the road but looking at Bill I suggested we go straight across the street to Cobb's--and I mean it is right across the street--if you rolled out the front door of the motel and across the road, you'd roll right into Cobb's front door--no deviation! This is the first time I have eaten out in a restaurant since Taos--before we went to Gloria and Bud's! A pork chop, tater tots, cole slaw, corn and coke. Stomach is not sure what to do with it! Came back to find we have no cell service and I'd told Charlie to call us tonight! Texted him but don't know if he got it. Barb--if you are reading this--let him know--I'll call him from town tomorrow. I know he's wanted to chat but we've been too sick to want to --was hoping to catch up with him tonight. So, now, with nothing but exciting bb on TV tonight I think I'll read the paper, do the puzzle and maybe read one of the NM mags I have with me. Tomorrow we get to sleep as late as we'd like--the museum opens at 10 and if the weather is nice there is a park downtown dedicated to Ponca Chief Standing Bear where we might be able to get some fresh air and exercise. Sounds like a good down day for easy exploration and nice rest. Until then, we wish you all good evening. The Valley Vagabonds KandB

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