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OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST (OK)



MONDAY - Today we'll travel nearly 200-miles due east across the southeastern sections of Oklahoma.

All this area is part of the Chickasaw Nation and Choctaw Nation reservations. The largest town by far that we traveled through today was Atoka (pop. 3188).

There were only a few short stretches where we traveled north on 4-lane highways. The rest of the day was spent on 2-lane rural roads like the one in the photo below.

US59 just before we entered the Ouachita National Forest.

All set up on our waterfront site at Cedar Lake Recreation Area.

We're not unhitching because we're only spending 1-night here.

The back of our site from the shoreline trail.

You know that Tricia is not going to leave here until she hikes at least a little bit of the trail.

Cedar Lake is 86-acres in size and the trail the circles the lake is nearly 3-miles long.


It didn't take Tricia long to get out on the trail, just like I suspected.

She hiked about a quarter of the way around the lake and then doubled back to the campsite. Along the way she captured many images, but I'll only share a few of them.


SCENES FROM THE CEDAR LAKE TRAIL


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The next photo is one that you hope you never have the opportunity to take. The insect in the photo is an Emerald Ash Borer. It is an invasive species from north-eastern Asia that feeds on ash tree species. Females lay eggs in bark crevices on ash trees, and larvae feed underneath the bark of ash trees to emerge as adults in one to two years.

Since 2002 it has killed tens of millions of ash trees and threatens to kill most of the 8.7 billion ash trees throughout North America.

Tricia spotted no less than five of these pests along her walk today.



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CHICKASAW NATIONAL REC AREA (OK)



SATURDAY - We had a pretty spectacular sunset for our last night at Lake Murray State Park.

The next morning we had a very special alarm clock wake us up! A pair of Canadian Geese came in for a landing right next to our campsite.

They were honking orders back and forth to each other during the entire approach of their landing and they were LOUD!


Three weeks ago it was ROVER's 6th Birthday and today it's THE POD's 6th Birthday. It was on this day in 2018 that ROVER and THE POD were first hitched together in the back storage lot of the RVOne Dealership in Orlando, FL.

Friday the 13th of April, 2018

Sure there have been good days and bad days, just like with any relationship, but at the end of each day we're still happy with the decision we made to purchase ROVER and THE POD.


THE POD spent his 3rd birthday right here at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in the Buckhorn Campground, and now three years later he's back at the exact same park, but this time in The Point Campgound located on the opposite shoreline of Lake of the Arbuckles.

Believe it or not it was by complete chance that we are here on his birthday. I didn't even realize the coincidence until I was beginning to write this blog and noticed the date.

Plenty of room on this campsite for a second truck and trailer combo.



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LAKE MURRAY STATE PARK (OK)



THURSDAY - With just a little over 100-miles to travel today we spent equal time in Texas and Oklahoma.

Before we left Texas we saw a "new to us" variety of wildflower on the roadside. This deep red flower hasn't quite fully bloomed, but when it does it's going to look alot like a red bluebonnet.

We've tenatively identified it as Crimson Clover.

A short time later we found ourselves on a bridge that crosses the Red River, which is what gives the Southern Oklahoma border with Texas that squiggly shape.

Nearly 400-miles of the border between Texas and Oklahoma is determined by the path the Red River takes. The Red River continues eastward which then makes up a small section of the border between Texas and Arkansas.


Once inside of Oklahoma we continued our north by northwest route along OK-78. The first town of any reasonable size we passed through was Durant, OK (pop. 18,589). Durant serves as the capital of the Choctaw Nation.

Something else Durant is known for is being the home of "The World's Largest Peanut". This has been proved to be not true time and time again. There are numerous peanut monuments in Georgia alone that make this peanut outside of city hall in Durant look minuscule.

Also in Durant were these three pieces of horse shaped metal yard art on display.


After another 30-miles of rolling hills driving we arrived at Lake Murray State Park in Ardmore. Lake Murray State Park is the largest state park in all of Oklahoma.



FRIDAY - Today we have an exciting day planned! NOT REALLY!

After neglecting our chores for the last three weeks we are way behind on things that need to get done.

After breakfast I dropped Tricia off at the laundromat. I'm wearing my last clean pair of socks and only have one more pair of clean underwear in the closet. I don't know what Tricia's situation is, but I imagine it's very similar to mine.


With Tricia all set up at the laundromat it was my turn to head out for the Ace Hardware Store for a few needed items.

Next was a stop at the Walmart where I filled two of our 3-gallon drinking water jugs. Then before leaving Walmart I filled ROVER's tank with almost 30-gallons of $2.99 gasoline.

Next up was a trip to the Staples Store where I was able to print out copies of our driver's licenses, our truck registration and a Power-of-Attorney form so that a friend can go into the Tag Agency and renew the tags on ROVER. We ran into the same problem last year with THE POD's tag renewal.

It seems every five years the State of Florida wants you to "appear in person" to renew your tags. They also want to issue you a brand new tag to display on your vehicle.

All this is one big PIA when you don't "live" in the state where your vehicles are registered.


With everything taken care of it was time for lunch and Tricia found a very interesting place to eat. The Cafe Alley in Ardmore is in the revitalized area of downtown. It's in a warehouse district along the railroad tracks and true to the name it's rear main entrance is in an alley.

Tricia ordered a dish called "The Mondi". It's described as Spanish Rice topped with queso, blackened chicken breast, melted jack cheese and guacamole. Garnished with diced tomatoes and green onions.

I ordered something similar, the "Blackened Chicken Alfredo". It's described as diced Cajun-seasoned grilled chicken tossed with linguine in a creamy, homemade Alfredo sauce. Again it's garnished with diced tomatoes and green onions.

Both dishes were delicious and our plates went back to the kitchen comletely empty. Total bill with tax and a generous tip, less than $44.

We were later told by our campground neighbor who lives in Ardmore, who is also in an Airstream, that we picked the best restaurant in town and the only place he and his wife go out to eat. Once again, Thank You Google Reviews.



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