A JAUNT ALONG THE OKLAHOMA PANHANDLE...

originally published Sunday, December 27, 2020

All Misc Articles

In this relatively calm time between Christmas and the New Year, it’s good to step back temporarily from our everyday concerns, both to “charge our batteries” and to regain a broader perspective, and positive distraction can be an integral part of that.

Over the past year, as I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, travel has become much more difficult and a major hassle with the result that “armchair” travelling has become a lot more attractive for many people. So now I am going to share some photos of one of my past adventures with you that a number of you may be interested to see – and you won’t have to wear a mask, antisocially distance or get injected with carcinogens to view them – a real advantage.

As a Brit living in Chile you might think that the places I would most want to visit in the US would be destinations like Florida, New York and San Francisco, some years back anyway, and that’s true, I did. But I also always wanted to visit the heartlands, to see the Big Country and meet and chat with the locals there. So in the Spring of 2016 I flew to Dallas and picked up a car and drove around north Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Colorado. I arrived in the Spring hoping to catch some tornadoes as one does but despite driving around part of Kansas during a Torcon 8, they seemed to evade me, which was perhaps just as well. I left the wife at home on this occasion as driving around the wilds of Kansas and Oklahoma during tornado season is not exactly her “cup of tea” and if I’d survived the tornadoes I might not have escaped her wrath.

Looking at maps of the US in the past I long ago came to the conclusion that the reason for the existence of the “Oklahoma Panhandle” was that the guys who drew up the State boundaries were so drunk that they didn’t know what the hell they were doing, and they only got away with it because hardly anybody lived there – or maybe they did know what they were doing and did it for a laugh – if so they were probably laughing so hard their sides ached – take a look at the map – Texas should go right up to Colorado and Kansas should it not?

Anyway, the existence of such a quirky place was an open invitation to someone like me to drive all the way along it and back again, and if anyone asks me why I would want to do such a thing, I simply reply, using the mountaineers’ old excuse “Because it’s there.” It wasn’t just a mindless drive, I was interested to see what was there, take photos and find out something of the history of the place and chat with the locals, and I was surprised how interesting it was.

And so, armed with my trusty 2012 Rand McNally Road Atlas, tracked down earlier in a Costco in Salinas, California, I set off along the Oklahoma Panhandle, entering it via the charmingly named “Slapout” at the Southeast – see map of the panhandle below. Apparently it got this name because someone entered a tiny store there in about 1880 and asked the proprietor if he had got something and he replied “Sorry, we’re slap out of that.”

Click on the map and the photos to popup enlarged version.



This is the serious bit – a history lesson…


Came across a beautiful set of wheels in Guymon, a real surprise…


Even found pizza for a lone traveller – didn’t have to buy the whole thing…


On the open road across the Panhandle heading west…


No congestion, no traffic, no pedestrians, no stop lights, no police….


In the middle of the Panhandle, great place names…


Cow / Bull and huge thunderstorm flashing lightning behind – no “beltway bandits” out here…


After a pleasant overnight stop in Boise City with the locals staring at me (no, not really), I visited the town museum where I was outnumbered by the staff, which wasn’t hard as I was the only visitor. The ladies at the museum were enthusiastic and friendly and had done a great job of bringing loads of stuff together and lovingly looking after it on quite a large site.

Not sure why, but there’s a big metal dinosaur outside the museum…


There’s all kinds of curiosities at this museum, including a number of old tractors in good condition…


New Perfection? – you gotta be kidding me?!...


Are any subscribers old enough to remember sitting in a classroom like this? – certainly better than the mind numbing boredom and brainwashing that kids suffer now…


Among the other things I learned at the museum were about the old “Cinnamon Route” and the “Santa Fe trail” used before the construction of the railroad…


After the museum set off for the northwest corner of the Panhandle, which has the beautiful Black Mesa State Park. On the way crossed the old Santa Fe trail where found this sign…


Fort Nichols was built in 1865 to guard the Santa Fe trail…


There were some showers and storms scattered across the prairie…


Eventually entered the State Park…


In the park the terrain becomes more hilly…


Big Country farmhouse in the park…



Interesting rock formations in the park…


I have labeled the rock on the left in the following photo JFK rock* - note that this is a Maund invention because I think it looks like him – I haven’t seen it called that anywhere else. It couldn’t be named George W Bush rock because the forehead doesn’t slope back enough.


Final outbound destination was the impressive Black Mesa mountain in the extreme NW corner of the Panhandle which is the highest point in Oklahoma…


Not far away is the border with New Mexico – Land of Enchantment – and stray gunfire – wait a minute – those gunshots came from the Oklahoma side…


By this time was starting to feel “bushed” so set off slowly back to Boise City…


Came across a pleasant lake on the way back…


Where birds were swimming contentedly and some fishermen around…


A strange saucer shaped cloud appeared above the road on the way back to Boise City, an omen perhaps?...


After an overnight stop in Boise City, set off in a northeasterly direction for Kansas. Last stop Hooker – you don’t even have to enquire at the desk in Oklahoma…


A prairie farmstead before leaving the Oklahoma Panhandle for Kansas…


I’m sure you will understand why country singer Merle Haggard selected the town of Muskogee for his song Okie from Muskogee as it has more of a ring to it than “Okie from Slapout” or even “Okie from Hooker”.

You will I’m sure be pleased to know that I did not return from my US trip empty handed – I brought the Oklahoma fridge magnet shown below which enables us to see how the Panhandle relates to the rest of Oklahoma, and also fridge magnets for other States, but because I couldn’t make up my mind which States to select, I bought the lot, all 50 of them.


I am somewhat concerned about putting this article out in the public domain in case it goes viral. We all know about how after travel writers bring some hidden gem to the public’s attention, hordes of tourists show up there the next season and ruin it. So I have nightmare visions of thousands of masked tourists flocking to the Panhandle and causing traffic gridlock in Boise City and stands popping up selling fast food to passing motorists in Slapout. Up to now you haven’t had to concern yourself with “social distancing” in the Panhandle because the next person is bloody miles away, although if you do actually see a police car it is a worry, because you know that after waiting perhaps hours for a victim to come along, he is going to pounce. All that could change if this article goes viral, but perhaps I shouldn’t worry, because now that the New World Order have destroyed society and rendered most people destitute, many people can barely afford gas to get to the next town let alone trundle along the Oklahoma Panhandle.

Next year promises to be challenging to put it mildly, so I hope this little escape has served to take your mind off things for a little while, before we get down to business.


Posted at 3.00 pm EST on 27th December 20.

The above represents the opinion and analysis of Mr Maund, based on data available to him, at the time of writing. Mr. Maund's opinions are his own, and are not a recommendation or an offer to buy or sell securities. Mr. Maund is an independent analyst who receives no compensation of any kind from any groups, individuals or corporations mentioned in his reports. As trading and investing in any financial markets may involve serious risk of loss, Mr. Maund recommends that you consult with a qualified investment advisor, one licensed by appropriate regulatory agencies in your legal jurisdiction and do your own due diligence and research when making any kind of a transaction with financial ramifications. Although a qualified and experienced stockmarket analyst, Clive Maund is not a Registered Securities Advisor. Therefore Mr. Maund's opinions on the market and stocks can only be construed as a solicitation to buy and sell securities when they are subject to the prior approval and endorsement of a Registered Securities Advisor operating in accordance with the appropriate regulations in your area of jurisdiction.