|Day 13 -- Wednesday, June 23
Waynoka, OK (Little Sahara State Park)
Miles Driven: 242
Today had more adventures than we expected.
We drove to the "Tallgrass Prairie Preserve" to find out what a prairie looks like. Run by the Nature Conservancy, this preserve is an effort to recreate on 38,000 acres the conditions that once existed across 14 states. There are no paved roads anywhere in the preserve; but, there were a few well-maintained dirt roads.
As we drove in, we spotted two bison (buffalo). We got out our biggest telephoto lens (500mm) and got some excellent pictures of them.
We continued to drive in toward the visitor center in the middle of the preserve, gazing out over the seemingly endless hills of grass.
At the visitors' center, we looked at the exhibits and talked to the volunteers. They said that there were over 2000 bison in the preserve and that we should be able to find more if we looked.
We headed back out and pulled over for lunch. In the distance, I saw a lot of brown dots. Through the telephoto lens, the dots looked a lot like buffalo. So, off we went. Sure enough, we were soon about 10 feet from an entire herd, including yearlings and babies. We stayed in the safety of our van as the entire herd passed.
Satisfied that we had now had a once in a lifetime experience, we headed out. The volunteers had recommended not using the western exit from the preserve, as it was easy to get lost. Confident that GyPSy could lead us out, we headed west.
Well, it turns out that GyPSy can't distinguish private dirt roads from county dirt roads. We soon found ourselves in the yard of a private ranch. While I backed up to turn around, Richard said to watch out for the post. Before I had a chance to ask, "What post?", the van came to sudden, unexpected stop.
The damage was relatively minor and the post was unscathed. The rancher came out and offered to help. We decided nothing needed to be done except we pulled the broken plastic cover off the bumper and stowed in the back of the van. (Richard says our shiny chrome bumper looks even better now without the black plastic cover.)
With the rancher's new directions, we once again headed west, this time on a *county* dirt road.
After another 10 miles of dirt roads, we finally reached a paved road and pulled over for a now overdue lunch.
VJ noticed that her kitchen counter was covered with dust. We then noticed that the cabinets were also covered in dust. Further inspection revealed that *everything* was covered in dust. Apparently, we had left the rear window open the entire trip and it had been sucking in the dust that we stirred up. While VJ cleaned the kitchen and made lunch, Richard & I removed *everything* from the van (that wasn't safely inside a closet or cabinet) and cleaned everything before putting it back. Good thing we carry a small whiskbroom.
So, the 13th day of our trip was a little more adventurous than we had planned. But, we do have some great bison photos!